All writing is a form of prayer - John Keats

Friday, November 19, 2021

Are you ready to accept any blame in the Rittenhouse verdict?

People aren’t going to like my opinion. But here it is: It’s the Prosecutor’s fault! 

People are shouting from all sides, following announcement of the verdict that teenager Kyle Rittenhouse has been found not guilty of all charges in a shameful Kenosha, Wisconsin, incident. This kid came into town with an assault rifle last August. He didn’t live there, but apparently felt he was needed because a demonstration was scheduled...somebody had to help keep order. He wound up shooting three protestors, killing two of them. Self-defense, he claimed. 

So now you have 2nd Amendment supporters, self-defense advocates and gun rights people defending the decision of the jury. Loving the decision. Meanwhile, many of us are shaking our heads in alarm and disgust. 

But let me return to my first line. 

As a young radio broadcaster, partly because of my own enthusiasm and gusto, I got thrust into the role of management at an exceptionally early age. I became the youngest News Director in a medium market at the age of 19 back in 1955. I was appointed General Manager of a small-market radio station over 15 employees at the age of 26, and I became the President and CEO of a small market radio station at the age of 27. 

Struggling to learn all that I needed to fulfil these roles, I grabbed management courses whenever and wherever I could. And one of the most important lessons still sticks with me. Our instructor said: “When you fire an employee, it’s not the fault of that’s YOUR fault!” 

Now back to convictions and acquittals, because that same lesson applies. 

The Black community isn’t quick to acknowledge this, but in 1995, when OJ Simpson was acquitted in a murder trial, many African Americans cheered. They knew darn well that he was probably guilty, but he beat the system. 

Granted, he won, fair and square. But legal experts will agree: It was the Prosecutor’s fault! 

And that’s where we are right now. Many of us agree that we cannot have vigilantes taking the law into their own hands. Deep down, even those shouting their approval of today’s verdict know darn well that we can’t maintain justice and order that way. 

But, today’s verdict is the Prosecutor’s fault! If the kid was guilty, it was the job of the Prosecutor to prove it. Innocent until proven guilty, we like to claim. 

And, ladies and gentlemen, the Prosecutor is elected by the people. So is the judge. 

Guess where the buck stops?

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