Michael Eriksson's Blog

A Swede in Germany

Waukesha car crash? murder? terrorist attack? / Follow-up: Rittenhouse verdict

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The reactions to the Waukesha parade incident* go far to prove my points in my recent text on the Rittenhouse acquittal:

*Due to varying claims in sources, I am deliberately vague.

Darrell Brooks, a Black criminal and Trump hater, drives a car into a White crowd killing five (?) and sending dozens to hospital. Headlines encountered today including talk of a mere “car crash” and that the driver would have been fleeing from a knife fight—by implication, innocent victim of circumstance. (How did he get into that knife fight? Would he not have been safe in his car? Should he not have driven more carefully, even if someone with a knife (!) was chasing him? Was someone actually stupid enough to chase a car with a knife?)

Now, maybe these claims are true—I know far too little about the details. However, look at the state of reporting around Rittenhouse at a similar time or how the same incident with “reverse colors” would have been handled: “White supremacist terrorist mows down Black celebrators!!!”

Certainly, calls for life in prison would already be raised by Black activists, no matter the presence or lack of evidence or the presence or lack of exculpating* explanations.

*With regards to e.g. criminal or racist intent. Criminal or civil liability of e.g. gross negligence, reckless endangerment, involuntary manslaughter, or similar, might still apply.

Or consider the case of James Alex Fields Jr., who was involved in a similar incident in Charlottesville. I do not know in detail what happened there either, and I do not claim that he was innocent of intent, but I do know that he received a radically different treatment in the press, long before either conviction or the appearance of a clear image of events. A White man with the wrong political opinions—must be domestic terrorism!

This is equally reflected in his punishment (life + 419 years after “only” one death), which far exceeds the typical level* for even coldblooded murder, even in the U.S. (which tends to have harsher punishments than e.g. Sweden and Germany). Enormous amounts of violence, with definite intent, by Antifa thugs have gone entirely unpunished (including in Charlottesville).

*He did avoid the death sentence. However, (a) this might have been merely the result of a guilty plea, whereby he avoided the risk of death by the guarantee of a long prison term, (b) statistics on the death penalty give a mere 39, nationwide, for 2017, the year of the event and similar numbers for 2018 and 2019, when trials and sentencing took place. (To be compared with far higher numbers of murders.)

As to the conviction, with the reservation that I have not done detailed legwork: He claimed fear, not anger or hate; and I have read a few supportive accounts (a long time ago; I do not vouch for their correctness), including talk of a gunman chasing him. (And note that gunmen are far more dangerous to someone in a car than knife wielders are.) There are signs that he was mentally ill, not evil, even were the act deliberate. (Note e.g. that wannabe presidential killer John Hinckley was given a few decades of psychiatric care and is now back on the streets.) It will, I suspect, be very, very hard to acquit Brooks by arguments that would not also have given Fields a considerable chance of acquittal (assuming equally fair juries).*

*Which is not in anyway a prediction that Brooks will be harshly punished. Considering the overall trends in society and the justice system, I suspect a very different result in terms of sentencing. (How different, I leave unstated.)

Written by michaeleriksson

November 22, 2021 at 9:09 pm

2 Responses

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  1. […] To continue the recent discussions of race and treatment in the courtroom, etc. (cf. [1], [2]): […]

  2. […] evidence (including e.g. the disparate reporting on crimes that I have discussed recently ([1], [2]) and the handling of COVID reporting), I have to cave—it is simply not plausible that such […]

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