I don’t care about the Kyle Rittenhouse trial, and neither should you.
Before you gang up and pillory me, hear me out.
Yes, it’s on every cable news channel. You can get video clips of the judge yelling at the lawyers and the defendant crying on TV and all sorts of marvelous entertainment. Which is great if you want to be entertained, but it’s got nothing to do with news.
In the next few days, one of four things will happen, and afterward there will be a riot. During that riot people and property will get hurt, and I also don’t care about that — not much. If you’re outside during a riot and you’re not a cop, you knew the risks. And if you are a cop… you know the risks and you’re there anyway.
Here are the four possible results:
1. Kyle is clearly innocent, and is found Not Guilty on all counts.
2. Kyle is clearly innocent, and is convicted for something.
3. Kyle is clearly guilty, and is convicted for something, but not everything.
4. Kyle is clearly guilty, and is found Not Guilty on all counts.
Half of these results are a miscarriage of justice, and in the abstract, the fact that justice might easily miscarry really ought to upset people. Except we all know by now that our criminal justice system has very little to do with actual justice and a lot to do with releasing the rich and convicting the stupid. So why pick this case to be bothered about? If you didn’t care that the system was horribly broken last week, why care today? Because CNN says you should?
There are a couple of criminal lawyers among my readers (and probably an equal number of lawyers who haven’t been caught yet — just my little joke there), and they might actually understand enough about what’s going on in this particular trial. You, however, do not. I don’t care which commentators you’ve listened to, or what the YouTube video was about, or whether the judge’s yelling and playing to the cameras pissed you off. None of that is equivalent to law school, much less the experience of arguing criminal cases for years of your life. Your opinion of this trial may well be important to you, but not to the world as a whole — nor should it be. We don’t vote on criminal trials unless we’re jurors, and you’re not.
People will riot next week. Some will be bused in, though not so many as would be if this were an election year. It’s also very cold out; that will help keep the streets clear — but there will be violence, and it will get out of control, and innocent people will get hurt. Some of these innocent people will be there out of morbid curiosity, to see a riot first-hand. Others will drive for hours because it’s an excuse to be violent. A few — and this is worse — will drive for hours because it’s an excuse to be violent For The Cause.
Just remember: The guilty are found innocent and the innocent found guilty every day of the week. This is nothing special just because it’s televised. If you want to do something about it, legal aid clinics are always understaffed and underfunded.
And for heaven’s sake, stop being so damned self-righteous about it.
(If you’ve never been in a riot, you have no idea. And if you have been in a riot, you’ve got no high horse to get up on.)
If what you just read pisses you off, that’s because it’s something nobody else is telling you.
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