News, Culture & Society

PIERS MORGAN: Kyle Rittenhouse is a fool but efforts to make the case about race were just as dumb

Kyle Rittenhouse is not a hero.

He’s an idiot.

A deluded, naïve, dumb 17-year-old teenage kid with aspirations to be a wannabee Rambo.

The fact he was able to arm himself with a semi-automatic AR-15 rifle is yet another example of the insanity of America’s gun laws, or lack of them.

But there is no doubting that he was legally able to do so.

Just as he was legally permitted to defend himself with the gun when he came under attack from Black Lives Matter protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

That’s why he walked free from court last Friday, and why the verdicts were the correct ones if you bother to study Wisconsin’s unambiguous self-defense laws.

You might not agree with those laws, just as I don’t agree with Rittenhouse being able to carry such a weapon of war (Wisconsin state allows minors to possess shotguns and rifles so long as they’re not short-barreled) when he’s too young to buy a beer in the same state – but you can’t deny they are the laws.

Kyle Rittenhouse is not a hero. He’s an idiot. A deluded, naïve, dumb 17-year-old teenage kid with aspirations to be a wannabee Rambo.

President Joe Biden, then a presidential candidate, instantly branded Rittenhouse a 'white supremacist' in the aftermath of the August 2020 shootings, and even used his photo in a tweet to do so.

NFL star Colin Kaepernick, who began the take-a-knee movement in protest at racial injustice, tweeted: 'We just witnessed a system built on white supremacy validate the terrorist acts of a white supremacist.'

President Joe Biden (left), then a presidential candidate, instantly branded Rittenhouse a ‘white supremacist’ in the aftermath of the August 2020 shootings. NFL star Colin Kaepernick (right), tweeted: ‘We just witnessed a system built on white supremacy validate the terrorist acts of a white supremacist’ after the trial

So, the jury found in his favor on all counts, and they are to be applauded for doing their jobs properly and remaining detached from the howling hyper-partisan shrieking from both sides of the court of public opinion.

As USA Today said: ‘The American jury is designed to stand between the mob and a defendant; between the government and the accused. The thin line of a dozen citizens can prove the most unassailable wall for justice in our system.’

However, Rittenhouse’s deadly antics were not the only incredibly dangerous and dumb actions perpetrated in this depressing saga.

President Joe Biden, then a presidential candidate, instantly branded Rittenhouse a ‘white supremacist’ in the aftermath of the August 2020 shootings, and even used his photo in a tweet to do so. He also demanded to know why then President Trump did not ‘disavow white supremacists’ like Rittenhouse.

MSNBC anchor Joy Reid, the biggest race-baiting host on US cable news, posted a TikTok video attacking Rittenhouse’s ‘male, white tears’, that’s been viewed over a million times. Any white host who’d done that about a black man on trial would have been instantly cancelled.

Another MSNBC host, Tiffany Cross, called for the removal of the judge because he was supposedly too biased to conservatives, despite his appointment being made by Democrats.

The narrative from much of the liberal-dominated mainstream media was ridiculously one-sided from the start, encouraged no doubt by Biden’s recklessly prejudiced intervention.

Both CNN and MSNBC asserted that Rittenhouse was driven across state lines by his mother to help police combat the violent protests in an area many miles from his own home, with which he had no connection.

That, we discovered, was all entirely false.

In fact, he stayed overnight with his friend in Kenosha the night before the riots after working at a sports center, and it is where his father, grandmother, aunt, uncle and cousins all live.

In one of the more egregiously inaccurate statements the day after the shooting,

Democratic congresswoman Ayanna Pressley tweeted: ‘A 17 year old white supremacist domestic terrorist drove across state lines, armed with an AR 15. He shot and killed 2 people who had assembled to affirm the value, dignity, and worth of Black lives. Fix your damn headlines.’

Pressley’s colleague, Democratic congresswoman Cori Bush, tweeted: ‘When we marched in Ferguson, white supremacists would hide behind a hill near where Michael Brown Jr. was murdered and shoot at us. They never faced consequences. If Kyle Rittenhouse gets acquitted, it tells them that even 7 years later they still can get away with it.’

Even Ferguson’s Police Chief Frank McCall Jr later said he had no idea what she was talking about.

After the verdict, Bush tweeted: ‘The judge. The Jury. The defendant. It’s white supremacy in action. The system isn’t built to be held accountable. It’s why Black and brown folks are brutalized and put in cages while white supremacist murderers walk free. I’m hurt. I’m angry. I’m heartbroken.’

She’s also completely wrong.

After the verdict, Rep. Cori Bush tweeted: 'The judge. The Jury. The defendant. It's white supremacy in action.'

Prior to the trial, Rep. Ayanna Pressley tweeted: 'A 17 year old white supremacist domestic terrorist drove across state lines, armed with an AR 15'.

After the verdict, Rep. Cori Bush (left) tweeted: ‘The judge. The Jury. The defendant. It’s white supremacy in action.’ Prior to the trial, Rep. Ayanna Pressley (right) tweeted: ‘A 17 year old white supremacist domestic terrorist drove across state lines, armed with an AR 15’.

This case had nothing to do with white supremacy, as she may well discover the hard way if Rittenhouse now decides to sue all those who called him a racist murderer.

Rittenhouse’s acquittal should have been a moment of reflective pause for those who wrongly slurred him.

Instead, they all raced to further fan the racial flames.

President Biden, on his return from a colonoscopy, initially supported the decision, saying: ‘Look, I stand by what the jury has concluded.’

But then later in the day, he changed his mind, saying the verdict ‘will leave many Americans feeling angry and concerned, myself included.’

In other words, he didn’t agree with it at all.

Nor did he offer any apology to Rittenhouse for calling him a white supremacist. New York’s virtue-signaling Mayor Bill de Blasio called the Rittenhouse decision ‘disgusting and it sends a horrible message to this country.’

But what is that horrible message, exactly?

That the law of the land should be strictly observed?

NFL star Colin Kaepernick, who began the take-a-knee movement in protest at racial injustice, tweeted: ‘We just witnessed a system built on white supremacy validate the terrorist acts of a white supremacist.’

What errant, incendiary claptrap.

As I said at the start of this column, Kyle Rittenhouse is no hero, and shouldn’t be treated as such.

If he hadn’t been on the streets that night with his AR-15, then the people he killed would still be alive.

But like any other American, Rittenhouse was entitled to a fair trial and in the end, he got one despite appalling attempts to try to stop that happening and to make it all about race.

Tonight, in an interview with Tucker Carlson on Fox News, Rittenhouse insists he is not a racist, and that in fact, he supports Black Lives Matter.

I don’t know for sure whether those assertions are true or not, but no evidence has emerged to dispute them or to prove that Kyle Rittenhouse is anything even approaching a white supremacist.

That was a lie deliberately fueled by the man who is now President of the United States, by a shockingly biased media intent on painting a false racist narrative, and by a bunch of ill-informed celebrities who once again proved they have no idea what they’re talking about before they press send on their social media posts.

‘Absolutely no words, tweeted actor Josh Gad in response to the verdict, which should have been the extent of his commentary, but sadly he added: ‘It has now been put out there that vigilantes can just go and kill people protesting issues like racial equality whenever they want and get away with it. Think about that for a second.’

The teen's interview with Tucker Carlson was believed to have been filmed on Sunday on Florida's Gulf Coast

The teen's interview with Tucker Carlson was believed to have been filmed on Sunday on Florida's Gulf Coast

In an interview with Tucker Carlson (right) on Fox News, Rittenhouse (left) insists he is not a racist, and that in fact, he supports Black Lives Matter. 

If only he had studied the actual facts of the case for more than a second, then he’d have known this a grotesque mischaracterization of what happened.

As was a tweet from New York Times journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones who tried to tie the verdict to the history of slavery.

‘In this country,’ Hannah-Jones wrote, ‘you can even kill white people and get away with it if those white people are fighting for Black lives. This is the legacy of 1619.’

Obviously, as we know from the evidence, these shootings had nothing to with slavery.

Or indeed race at all.

Rittenhouse shot at three other white people because they were all threatening or attacking him.

Their skin color had nothing to do with it.

So entrenched was this false racism narrative that the Independent, once one of the UK’s supposedly most prestigious newspapers, even published a headline about Rittenhouse that read: ‘Teenager who shot three black men with rifle found not guilty on all charges.’

Now that would have justified the ‘murdering white supremacist’ storyline – if it wasn’t completely untrue.

What a shame the Independent didn’t show the same diligent attention to detail that the Rittenhouse jury showed.

The Kenosha shootings shone an ugly spotlight on many of America’s biggest problems from toxic tribal political tensions to crazy gun laws.

But they weren’t about race.

And shame on all those who sought to make the American public think otherwise.

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