THE CALAMITY OF KYLE RITTENHOUSE

American Justice on Display

It repulses me that a mother would permit, aid and abet her son to travel from his home state to another with a scheme of “protecting” storefronts with an AR-15 automatic rifle. I would never put my child in such danger but promoting the use of force and murder because of a disagreement with protesters, regardless of their cause, has to be the lowest point of parenthood.

Wendy Rittenhouse

I don’t know Mrs. Rittenhouse but I am wondering if she would like to go back in time to stop her son Kyle from going to Kenosha for a fun night of target practice on real live humans. Now we have a theory from his defense lawyers that 17-year-old Kyle was shooting in self-defense. I suppose it could be seen that way, but he did kill two protestors and wounded another.

The problem here is that Kyle carried a “legally obtained” and fully loaded automatic weapon to a site of known unrest. Why? We can debate whether the laws governing firearms in Illinois and Wisconsin protect citizens from misguided teenagers out for a night of protester poaching, but it’s tragic there are no federal guidelines on firearm registration for “hunting” or “sport” and which weapons may be used. Had Rittenhouse thrown hand grenades at the protesters we would have a different discussion, but the same tragic results.

We will know shortly what the jury decides in this case but judging by the conduct and comments of Judge Bruce Schroeder, the longest-serving circuit court judge in Wisconsin, it’s easy to see how he can place his hand on the scale of justice and force the jurors to consider his viewpoint just as much as the facts. Perhaps you find this disturbing, but it’s something judges have always done. Some even proclaim it’s their job to make sure the jury doesn’t get “fooled” by a wily prosecutor or slick defense attorney. That aside, it sure does seem like Schroeder would like to see young Kyle, the defender of all that is right, be acquitted.

This kind of stand-your-ground defense cannot explain to a loved one why their spouse, sibling or child is dead and will never come back. It’s based on a fear of the assailant. If one who kills was sufficiently afraid of another, then this self-defense excuse can be applied. But may I ask how scared can a person possibly be when holding an AR-15 in combat stance? Could it be that Kyle was targeted BECAUSE he was carrying a gun?

Why latex gloves?

Kyle’s lawyers can talk about self-defense until the cows come home, but it’s nearly impossible for the prosecution to prove the killings weren’t self-defense. If Rittenhouse beats the charge, what does that say about guns and extrajudicial killings in American streets? Have we returned to the lawless wild west days of gunslinger vigilantes deciding who lives and who dies?

If the state loses the case, I urge them to appeal. This kid needs to understand that what he did was wrong. We should not coddle Rittenhouse like a “snowflake.” He’s a soldier of the “cancel culture” who used an automatic weapon to stop protestors. He’s not a victim, he’s the culprit –– the very opposite of law and order and certainly not a good role model for any kid who might be tempted to play the role of a cop. Might I also add that Kyle is a terrible actor? Did you notice there were no tears when he was “crying?” That was a B-actor desperately trying look like he was oh so bothered by it all. I hope he gets at least a couple of years in jail.

Book for the Recovery – Build Back Better!

How to Hire Great People: Tips, Tricks and Templates for Success

Great companies hire great people. This short, easy-to-read book will help you recruit, review and refocus your new workers into the style and culture of your company. Motivating people to do great work will manage turnover and keeping good workers at your company will maintain your success. Employee inspiration makes a positive difference in our competitive world. HOW TO HIRE GREAT PEOPLE covers everything, including testing, training, tricks and tips. Follow this guide and you’ll assemble strong teams with smart workers, and you’ll learn some time-tested techniques about how to keep them. Kindle and Paperback Click Here

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Yeah, well, it’s offense to me!

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Another book you have to read:

We knew that the great divide in America would have a major effect on the presidential election in the year 2020, but something else was lurking that we didn’t anticipate. The world suffered a global pandemic of Covid-19, and everything changed. The lockdown motivated one author to write MASHED POTATOES: Covid, Cancer & Comfort Food. The cover ironically claims the book is a “humorous” recollection of 2020, but one might ask, “Where was the humor?” This is a work of survival to motivate those who desire to get beyond Covid-19, beat cancer and defend our precious Democracy.  The world got Covid, the writer got cancer and we all ate copious amounts of comfort food. It’s time to swallow the truth, survive the madness, take a large spoon and savor some delicious MASHED POTATOES. Get some here. 


THE REAL GUILTY PARTIES

George Floyd and the Blame Game

You could hear the collective sigh of relief yesterday as millions of Americans, white, Black, Native and all those “others” exhaled after the Derek Chauvin verdicts were read in court. George Floyd’s murder in front of Cup Foods in Minneapolis, the firing of cops, the arrests, the trial and the conviction of the kingpin have all marked a significant moment in history.

Let’s step back in time. The 1820 US Census showed there were 233,524 free Blacks in America along with 1,538,038 slaves. The total population of the United States that year was 9,638,453 people. If you use the wretched “one Black person is three fifths of a white person” equation, those 1.5 million slaves counted as 922,823 humans. What an immoral reckoning! Leaving out that ridiculous statistical fraud, our country was 18.3% Black in 1820.

The next US Census (2020) will show how much we’ve changed if they ever get in finished properly. But according to the 2010 Census, the African American population was about 13.5%, but that number is deceiving as to the impact of the black vote in certain states.  Even in 2010, the Black population in Louisiana was 33 percent, Georgia – 32 percent, Maryland – 31 percent, South Carolina – 29 percent and Alabama – 27 percent. The largest percentage was found in Washington, D.C., affectionally called “Chocolate City” back in the 1970s, with African Americans making up 52 percent of the population.

The belief that freed southern slaves took off to live in northern states of the US is a myth. On top of that, if the Republican party doesn’t figure out how to serve the Black community in the south, the right-wing stronghold will dissolve. That being said, what are we doing about another vital statistic?

According to Statista.com, 212 people have been shot and killed by police so far in 2021. Included in that grim count are 50 white people, 30 Black, 20 Hispanic and, weirdly, 112 with no reference to their race. Yes, this is not evidence of police targeting African Americans, but that is not the point, it’s the 212 deadly force incidents that matter most. Why are cops killing our citizens so often? We have no counts of how many cops tased people or hit them over the head with a stick, but the glaring fact that came out of the Derek Chauvin trial is an abysmal lack of policing standards in America. The lawyers for the accused cop said that he was following his training, while members of his own police force said he wasn’t using the proper techniques. Maybe it’s time we codify these practices and present a standard for EVERY police department in America. Is that too much to ask? We should start by making the suffocation of a suspect by a cop a felony crime.

People shot by police by year and race

Too many people argue for the cops, the guys with the guns and the power to end another human being’s life in a split second. Yes, they surely deserve our support and we do pay them with our tax dollars, but they shouldn’t have licenses to kill. We need them and they shouldn’t be defunded, but that money ought to go to better training along with a set of guidelines for the entire country. A white man with a Confederate flag appears to many cops to be much less confrontational than a Black man holding a cell phone. Bias is everywhere, and we must also address how a Black cop faces a white guy wearing a Nazi T-shirt. Prejudice must be trained out of every law enforcement officer.

Sure, accidents will happen, like using a gun that you thought was a taser, but what led to that kind of force being used in the first place? The answer is FEAR. I may be on the wrong side of history with this question, but here goes — why are white cops so afraid of Black men? They will shoot them faster than they would an insane white guy. Walk through some facts with me here.

Kyle Rittenhouse

On August 25, 2020 in Kenosha, Wisconsin, a man named Kyle Rittenhouse, then a 17-year-old from Antioch, Illinois, traveled across state lines to shot and kill. He allegedly killed two people and wounded another during multiple confrontations at two locations. He was armed with an AR-15 style rifle and, according to witnesses, one of those he shot had a handgun. Police saw him walking up a street, armed and marching straight toward them. They offered him water and they talked. This man had just killed two people and the cops allowed him to keep his gun and simply walk away. If he was someone they saw as a threat, or was Black, they would have detained him, or worse, killed him. Although he was armed and in tactical gear he was white, and they didn’t see him as a threat even though he could have shot them.

That is a great example of either systemic racism or cops being so biased that they saw a vigilantly as a friend and not a foe. Their job is to protect all citizens from harm. People, we are at a turning point. We do not have a grand victory over evil with one conviction of one bad cop. We have a lousy system of enforcement training and we need to fix that.

Rosa Brooks, author of the book Tangled Up in Blue: Policing the American City, said on TV the other day that typical police training for firearms is about two weeks in a classroom followed by a couple of days on the shooting range. I believe the machismo of most male law enforcement leaders can be summed up this way, “Of course they know how to shoot, they want to be cops.” That is nonsensical and wrong. The use of a gun by a cop should always be the last resort to resolve conflict, but as we saw in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, guns are pulled out and raised at a suspect’s head immediately, especially when that suspect is Black.

According to the Army Times website, “Body camera footage shows 2nd Lt. Caron Nazario, who is Black and Latino, dressed in uniform with his hands held in the air outside the driver’s side window as he told the armed officers, “I’m honestly afraid to get out.” The officer said, “Yeah, you should be!” We’ve all seen the video of Nazario being drenched with pepper spray as he sat in his car. By the way, he’s suing the police for $1 million claiming his rights were violated. Too bad there isn’t a video. Oh wait, there is.

The blame game will continue. It’s how police, their unions, their management and governments avoid large payouts to victims of police malfeasance. If putting your knee on a man’s neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds is standard procedure, then we have given police judgement by fiat of the badge and the power of extrajudicial executions. That’s not a place where I want to live.

Here, perhaps, is some good news. After the guilty verdict in George Floyd’s death, the Associated Press reported that Attorney General Merrick Garland is expected to announce the Justice Department is opening a sweeping investigation into policing practices in Minneapolis. Hopefully, this will be is a first step in making stronger laws for the police to follow and for us to rely on. If we don’t act on this, we are the guilty party. Shame on us if we think one trial fixed everything.

Book for the Recovery – Build Back Better!

How to Hire Great People: Tips, Tricks and Templates for Success

Great companies hire great people. This short, easy-to-read book will help you recruit, review and refocus your new workers into the style and culture of your company. Motivating people to do great work will manage turnover and keeping good workers at your company will maintain your success. Employee inspiration makes a positive difference in our competitive world. HOW TO HIRE GREAT PEOPLE covers everything, including testing, training, tricks and tips. Follow this guide and you’ll assemble strong teams with smart workers, and you’ll learn some time-tested techniques about how to keep them.

Kindle and Paperback Click Here

The book that tells it like it is…

Gold, God, Guns & Goofballs: If you only read one chapter of this book, try “Take a Knee for America” and think about our never-ending conflicts between minorities and the police. I’m not asking you to take a stand but having a deep and honest conversation about why some people think the way they do would be productive. This is a book for the moment which seeks to start a conversation about peace. And if you are worried about social media, you really should check out the chapter called “Social Media Menace.”

Get the Kindle Version HERE. Or order your paperback edition HERE.