If you haven’t been paying attention, the Kyle Rittenhouse trial appears to be going very badly for the prosecution. I’m not a lawyer and have little faith in our judicial system, so the outcome is anything but clear. But… as a casual observer it’s hard not to see what happened as anything other than a textbook case of self-defense. That is not my topic today. Instead, I’m interested in the point that several talking heads have made. What drove Kyle Rittenhouse to be there in the first place?
As someone with decades of life experience, and a whole lot to lose, would I have gone there? Hell no. I bet Mr. Rittenhouse wishes he’d made a better decision that day as well. But what drove him to insert himself in a scenario that had massive probabilities of going south in a hurry? His town was burning. Rocked by days of looting, rioting, vandalism, and sheer lawlessness. And the police did nothing. The mayor, governor, nobody charged with protecting the peace did anything to stop it. So a passionate young kid got fed up and decided he was going to go try to help out.
Young kids, especially males, can get very worked up over stuff. Remember WWI and WWII? I don’t – I’m old, but not that old. But I have read history. Tens of thousands of teenaged boys volunteered to go do their duty. 16 year olds lied about their age so they wouldn’t get left behind. We were going to go teach those dirty Germans a thing or two before they came to our shores. And off they went to war. Babes who had no idea what was actually facing them. No concept of the impacts those events would have on their lives. But they were fired up, passionate, and ready to go.
Such has been the nature of man from time beginning. So what’s my point? Probably the number one thing people crave is safety and security. That has also been true for all of human existence. And when our perceived safety disappears… people will do just about anything to bring it back. And for much of the US, that’s where if feels we’re headed.
Defund the police. Police reform. The media is complicit in whipping up an anti-police sentiment, further fueled by 24×7 chants of racism, racism, racism. The facts surrounding police shootings don’t matter. The only thing that matters is that the police are violent. Oh, and racist. If you’re not familiar with the term “The Ferguson Effect”, it’s a very real thing. After the Michael Brown shooting in 2014, officers were afraid to do much in the way of policing for fear of being charged. Since then it’s only gotten worse. Police departments and local politicians have refused to back their officers. The end result is that officers, especially in bigger cities, tend not to respond to calls other than to back up other officers. Why would they? Even the slightest whiff of being “too aggressive” and your career and life savings will be gone in an instant. It’s not worth it.
Police are quitting in droves. Those that remain won’t respond to anything other than critical events. And the predictable result? Crime is skyrocketing. In New York, thugs are now roaming the streets and randomly attacking strangers. There’s videos of it nearly every day now. Antifa operates with impunity and causes billions of dollars in damage. Brazen daytime robberies of restaurant patrons is now happening in affluent areas of Los Angeles. In San Francisco shoplifters happily walk out of stores with bags of stuff. Yesterday there was video of people who wheeled carts of grocery items out and calmly loaded it up in mini-vans. Why? Nobody’s going to stop them. Even if the police tried, the prosecutors probably wouldn’t charge them. This is not going to get better.
As an insulated, privileged society with narratives of non-stop racism driven by CNN, MSNBC, and Facebook, the progressive left wants you to believe that somehow crime and violence can somehow be solved with kind words, outreach programs, and roving teams of mental health experts. That is not how the world works, as much as the latte sipping crowd would like to believe. The reality of the street is not Hollywood.
Even in my hospital world that’s not reality. We have social workers and psychiatrists on the floor. When someone is having a mental health crisis we don’t call them. Why? Because folks in that scenario are violent and dangerous. We call security. And more often than not, it takes six security dudes and several nurses to wrestle the patient to the bed and get restraints placed. Even then the odds of someone getting hit, kicked, spit on, or bitten are high. I’m positive if family members saw that they’d be horrified. But you know what? I’m under no obligation to get hurt. I also don’t have four hours available to talk gently and pass them pudding in hopes they’ll see the error of their thinking. The real world doesn’t work that way.
Magnify that 100x on the street with actual criminals. And a single officer responding to that same potentially violent person. I know it’s shocking, but asking “pretty please with sugar on top” doesn’t work. But, we don’t want to see that. So our society has swung 180 degrees and we don’t want our police to actually, you know, do policing. It’s mean spirited. So the police have stopped. The results have been predictable to anyone who doesn’t have a liberal arts degree and a three thousand dollar espresso machine in their kitchen.
So what was my point? Somewhere down the road, people are going to get fed up. And that my friends, is when bad things happen. Vigilante groups form. Actual extremist groups form, not the pretend QAnon, Jan 6th insurrection groups… but people willing to commit real violence in the name of protecting the homeland. This is the inflection point where the population elects a real fascist in the name of safety and security. We don’t want to go down that road people.
I seriously fear for our country. We’re speeding down a road that ends in a bad place. The woke, 24×7 racist, progressive push the media hammers into our brains day in and day out is going to result in people taking matters into their own hands. We want safety and security. Without it we have Kyle Rittenhouse. A young kid heading into the fray because he felt like nobody else was. He was armed. He was attacked by a viscous mob out for blood and no police to be found. The outcome was predictable.
I’m not sure what the answer is. Maybe there isn’t one. We need a strong, charismatic, and benevolent leader who can use the bully pulpit to turn down the temperature. Get this ship turned around. I don’t see that happening. I suspect the political divides are too great at this point. Unfortunately, leaders who wield that level of power and charisma tend not to be benevolent if history holds to be true.
Oh great, now I’ve gone and depressed myself. Time to turn off social media and head outdoors for some recreation to clear my head. Amazing how well that works.
3 thoughts on “A Proxy For The Future”
Interesting piece. I do think that an important issue is white supremacist groups in the US and their influence and part in a tilt towards violence. Rittenhouse was captured on film drinking with men singing the songs of white supremacist groups, as well as giving gestures that are associated with them. This doesn’t on it’s own prove Rittenhouse’s motives or allegiance but it is, I feel, relevant.
I share your worry about where society is going. To a lesser extent, there is a division in the UK between the right wing and the rest, with the former feeling that their culture and traditions are under threat. The reality is that it wasn’t immigrants who caused the collapse of industrial production and movement of production to other countries. It’s not immigrants or left wingers who broke the economy in 2008 and then rewarded the perpertators with bail-outs and positions in government..
As always, thanks for the read!
White supremacy is the boogeyman the US media loves. According to our president, there are racist white supremacists hiding under every rock just waiting to pounce. Meanwhile, Antifa cultivates, initiates, and celebrates violence and has participated in billions of dollars in damage (along with BLM). Crickets from the government and media. I’m not aware of any Proud Boys riots. I know nothing about them other that what I read on Wikipedia. They seem more defenders of western culture than race specific. I could care less who the group is and if Rittenhouse is or is not associated with them. My bigger point was that instability will push people to band together. And yes, sometimes that will spawn groups we don’t like. Take away economic and physical security, make people feel marginalized, and people will start looking for scapegoats. Human nature. When you have that scenario and a media and political party doing everything they can to stoke division… it’s a recipe for bad things.
I agree with you about the relationship between economic and physical insecurity, marginalisation and scapegoating. I think we are seeing it everywhere and it’s really dangerous. Trump was, I think, a symptom of this – as is, for example, Bolsonaro in Brazil.
I suppose it is also what incites some individuals to fundamentalist Islamist terrorism too. There are, perhaps, the hardcore ideologues and then, those who are afraid and angry and look for a cause to express that in.
I’m not so sure that Antifa have caused the damage you suggest. Whilst, I do recall the hit and run murder of Heather Heyer, in 2017, Charlottesville, by a man who had expressed Neo-Nazi and white supremacy beliefs. There was, of course, the January 6th attack on the Capitol, which had representatives from such groups. And, there was the Gretchen Whitmer kidnapping plot which the FBI say that they interrupted.
From my less than expert point of view, such groups pose much more of a threat to the society. However, I’d need to read up much more on their relative influence in the US.