I’m not going to write what you might think I am. Is Rittenhouse criminally guilty? I haven’t a clue. Not that I don’t know the basics of what happened. But I don’t know the Wisconsin laws regarding carrying arms and the engagement rules for self-defense at the level that you must know to make a judgement. While I did have the trial playing in the background, I did not pay enough attention to know all the evidence presented on each side. However, I do trust our legal system … most of the time.
We do have a good system of justice. You can trace the idea of a jury trial back to the Greeks and it has endured because it is so fair. While I trust the judges and jury, there are exceptions. I think most Americans think the O J Simpson trial was a miss application of justice. Certainly history has documented the unfair ways that some people of color have been treated, especially in southern courts and with all-white juries. There is a different set of rules for the rich (who can afford savoy lawyers) and the poor (relying on public defenders).
My point here is about Truth (I use a capital T). It is an ideal that I’ve held dear since 1990. Again, what I mean by Truth is according to the original Greek definition, “consistent with reality.” I am not talking about religious truth, which you could call dogma, or political truth.
Here is the rub. When this tragedy first happened in Kenosha and again now, I see this country quickly migrate to their corners of “certainty.” The right wing people see Kyle as a hero. The left wing, a murderer and possibly racist. The two sides reach this “truth” (small t) quickly and because they have been preprogram into that view. But perceived bias is the enemy of Truth. If you know how this trial should turn out now, I suggest that you may not be interested in Truth, but the propagation of your tribe’s opinion.
I will conclude this short posting by saying, you can debate if sending a 17 year old with an assault weapon into a protest-riot situation was a wise thing for a mother to do. There is no debate that Kyle wasn’t a monster, but real debate if he lacked judgement. I think there is very little debate if damaging businesses was a good way to voice a dissatisfaction (there are a very few who would say such behavior is justified, but I prefer the MLK approach). There is no debate that Kyle caused the deaths of two people and wounded one. In my view, there is no debate that all parties involved, including the accused and the victims, were created in God’s image and thus have great value.
I do trust the people on the ground, those in the jury box, to make legal sense of this tragic and complex situation. But for this country to heal, we must be invested in finding Truth (capital T) again, the real Truth and not just ideas that support our religious or pollical belief systems. Our entire government is dysfunctional now because of this lack of desire for real Truth but promoting tribal truth, where we reach conclusions based on emotion rather than the evidence and reason.
I hope we can do better than this. Tomorrow, or soon, we will know the verdict and hopefully trust that justice has been served.