Chauvin and Rittenhouse

Derek Chauvin was guilty as hell* and Kyle Rittenhouse acted in self-defense. If you can’t fit those two facts into your worldview despite ample video evidence, then your worldview is pathetically weak.

The reality is that Chauvin stayed on Floyd’s back and neck far longer than was necessary to subdue him. The crowd was getting angry and wanted him to stop torturing Floyd. Out of spite and as a petty power play, he remained in place. These mere civilians aren’t going to tell ME what to do. Rittenhouse, on the other hand, was chased, attacked, had multiple people try to take his gun, and had another guy point a gun at him. He only shot the people who threatened his life. One of these defendants was wrong and the other was right – and it’s all clear as day.

And that brings me to another point. The media blows even more than usual. They didn’t particularly get Chauvin’s case wrong, but that’s because it happened to agree with the narrative they wanted. With Rittenhouse, millions of people are only now finding out the most basic details of his case. This stuff was available before he even surrendered. And even still, while the clown prosecutor has been putting on the defense’s case for the past week+, we’ve only been seeing headlines that cherry-pick testimony that makes Rittenhouse look bad. No, scratch that. It’s not cherry-picking. It’s quote-mining. The media has been handling this case the way a young Earth creationist handles Charles Darwin. The narrative they want isn’t there, so they’re lying and intentionally removing context. Hell, CBS went even further, tweeting (and deleting) that Rittenhouse admitted to murder. He actually just talked about shooting and killing 2 of his attackers. Which wasn’t news.

And yet as bad as the media has been, I think social media has been even worse. I care about these cases insofar as they’re big news, but I wouldn’t normally commit a huge amount of my time to them. For Chauvin, I did more than usual. I found myself especially annoyed with people talking about Floyd’s past in order to justify what happened to him. That’s some super shit argumentation. It doesn’t matter if he robbed someone or pointed a gun at a pregnant woman. That doesn’t make Chauvin his god. And with Rittenhouse I’ve given his case a lot of time because, once again, there are so many super shit arguments surrounding it. In particular, people keep bringing up how he “crossed state lines”. Oh no! How’d he ever get by the guard towers?! Get out of here with that trash. Or the illegal gun possession. In and of itself, that’s worth discussing regarding his misdemeanor charge. But misdemeanors are inherently insignificant, so who cares. What matters is that, that possible crime (depending on how Wisconsin law is interpreted) does not forfeit his right to self-defense.

A robust worldview ought to be based on the facts. The facts here make it clear that Derek Chauvin committed manslaughter and Kyle Rittenhouse shot 3 people who would have murdered him if he didn’t. If you must interpret these or any other national events in a way that agrees with your broader worldview, then you aren’t someone who cares about facts. That ought to embarrass you.

*Minnesota’s laws have misleading – indeed, wrong – names. Chauvin didn’t commit murder, but local law defines some of its various murder statutes as excluding intent. The problem with that, of course, is that murder is not possible without intent. Even if a government declares otherwise (as many do). It’s philosophically nonsensical. That said, per the actual descriptions of the charges, Chauvin’s convictions were 100% correct.

3 Responses

  1. You are right about the Floyd/Chauvin case and may yet be proven right about Rittenhouse. But there is another aspect of the Floyd case that has me feeling uncomfortable. Why has he become such an icon, but not other, better candidates? His killing was disgusting, shocking and inexcusable, but the man himself was no angel. Floyd was a felon with a substantial criminal record who had served jail time for robbery. This in no way justifies what happened to him, as you absolutely rightly point out, but it makes him an easy target for detractors. Sadly there are better examples to use that don’t come with so much baggage. Like Elijah MacLain, described by all who knew him as a sweet and gentle-natured lad, with no criminal record, who even apologised to the police for vomiting as they were killing him. We are asked to believe that this inoffensive, introverted, scrawny, 10-stone, bespectacled young man with anaemia and asthma needed three big, strong policemen to wrestle him to the ground, and then an overdose of ketamine to keep him there, after he was stopped because an unknown person thought he looked “sketchy”. Why does the killing of a common criminal attract so much attention, but not the equally brutal killing of the mild-mannered and law-abiding Elijah?

  2. I’ve had that exact same thought many times, Stephen. It makes perfect sense to be horrified over what happened to Floyd. Even mourning his unjust death makes sense. But what doesn’t make sense is building 700 pound statues of the guy or naming streets after him. He isn’t the icon any movement should want.

  3. The most interesting thing I found in the Rittenhouse case was how poorly the law regarding possession of a firearm was. The judge made a rare and beautiful to watch decision. Essentially, “I don’t know what the fuck this means, if I can’t figure it out… dismissed.”

    The only issue I take with your characterization is whether or not they “would” have killed Rittenhouse is irrelevant. The only question is: would a reasonable person feel that they were at risk of serious injury or death. Imperfect self-defense is still self-defense. One can be mistaken in the defensive killing of another and still not be guilty of murder. One is never required to have perfect knowledge of the future before acting.

    For that reason, even if no other, they could not have found him guilty with any credibility. Watching the video should have given ANY reasonable person reasonable doubt as to whether he was the aggressor in any of the three instances. If anything, he didn’t shoot them enough. The general rule is to “shoot to stop the threat,” this is why police will fire what seems like an unreasonable number of rounds. You can’t shoot once and then wait to see how that worked out, then pull the trigger again. For my part it indicates he was reluctant to shoot anyone, even as they attacked him.

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