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Ahmaud Arbery trial: bad optics, bad facts

Ahmaud Arbery trial: bad optics, bad facts

We always have to be careful in drawing opinions on media reports of high-visibility criminal trials – or even what all those pundits and legal analysts say about them.  Their opinions are too often predetermined by their political biases.  Regardless, public attention requires comment.

There is a lot of political and racial hyperventilating about the Ahmaud Arbery case in Georgia, where three white men chased down and killed a young black man.  I say “killed” because that is indisputable.  It will be up to the jury to determine if it was murder.

The first question is why does this case garner so much media and political attention – as does the Rittenhouse case in Wisconsin?  As you read this, people are being killed – murdered – by the hundreds all across the country.  White people killing black people.  Black people killing white people.  Police killing suspects.  Criminals killing police. And to the greatest extent, black people killing black people.

I suggest that cases like this — that appear in the media day-after-day — have one common trait.  They are exceptionally good battlegrounds upon which Democrat left-wing political and philosophic groups can advance their narratives and agendas of pandemic racism and permanent victimhood.  I say “left-wing” because they currently have the advantage of the featly of the only institution that determines what gets massive attention and what gets ignored — and how the information is spun.  That, of course, is the powerful east coast elitist media.  They drive the news – and even attack news outlets that do not share their perspective.

At the core is that fraudulent race card that Democrats use to maintain their black voter base.  Many black activists build their careers and fortunes on promoting victimization based on exaggerated levels of racism – where it exists and who is responsible.  This is what has enabled Al Sharpton to ride these cases into a multimillion-dollar personal fortune – and combined salaries in excess of $1 million per year.

Military leaders often say that you never get the get the battle you want to fight — but must fight the battle you get.  That is how I look at the situation today.  The issues today with the Arbery trial may be representative of the greater society … or maybe not.  But it IS the issue with which we must deal currently.

First the optics.  They definitely favor the left.  That has nothing to do with the facts of the case, but the composition and conduct of the trial itself.  Arbery faces 12 jurors – 11 white and 1 black.  Without knowing the cultural and racial sentiment of the community, it is not possible to even infer if this means inherent racial prejudices – jurors who will vote race over facts.  

The makeup of the jury is troublesome for two reasons.  The community in which the trial is taking place is 55 percent black.  Odds would favor a much greater representation of blacks – especially when one considers our legal right to be judged by a panel of “peers.”

The fairness of the jury was brought into greater question by the judge, who agreed that the selection process followed all the legal requirements.  BUT … he expressed some discontent in what he viewed as improper elimination of jurors who were black.  He clearly implied that the defense was abusing their right to reject jurists.

Unlike trials that routinely occurred in the old Democrat-controlled Georgia, the judge does not appear to be prejudiced – and the prosecution is mounting strong arguments for conviction.  That is a difference worth noting.

The latest controversy over the tactic of the defense came when one of the defense counsels rose to object to the presence in the audience of black pastors – arguing their only purpose is to influence the jury.  Al Sharpton was seated with the family at the time, but the defense counsel also referred to Jesse Jackson.  He declared that he did not want to keep seeing “black pastors” sitting with the Arbery family.

That was one of those moments when any rational person starts scratching their head and wondering “what is this guy thinking?”  Put aside for the moment the reason he would think that a black pastor would have an undue influence to persuade a virtually all-white jury to convict three white guys.  If the jury was composed of racists – which I do not believe to be the case — Sharpton’s presence would only deepen their bias.

To say the statement was tone-deaf is beyond an understatement.  It is difficult to imagine any reason for making those statements other than the attorney is a racist or believes – wrongly, I would argue – that all those white jurors are racists.  Maybe he was just hoping to influence one juror.

In terms of optics, it was a gift to those who can only see America through a distorted racist lens. We can know that by how fast the crowd of race-baiters made those comments the top story of the day.

The optics were bad, to say the least.  You are watching a trial in a deep southern state in which a portly attorney defending three white guys for killing an innocent black guy – and having the attorney object to the presence in the audience of a negro minister.  It looked like a scene from one of those civil rights-themed movies of the 1960s.  That is called optics.

Then there are the facts of the case.  I do not take my information from the mainstream media but do a bit more research into what is really happening in the courtroom in terms of the prosecution and defense arguments.

It made me recall the old adage that “desperate times require desperate measures.”  If the defense seems to be grasping at imaginary racist straws, it may be because … well, to put it simply, they do not have a defense case.

Nothing about the hard facts appear to give ANY justification for the three plaintiffs to chase down Arbery and – as one assailant is quoted as saying – “trap him like a rat.”  They certainly had no justification for accosting him, assaulting him, and killing him.  The very attempt to interfere with Arbery’s jogging was the beginning of a series of criminal activities.

As in the death of George Floyd, the facts are too obvious and documented to be denied.  I suspect this will be a conviction.  But it only takes one juror to deadlock a jury.  That would mean a second trial and most likely a more representative jury.

I just do not believe that there are 11 white racists on that jury – even in rural Georgia.  That is because I do not believe that racism is in the gene of white folks – or that racism is pandemic in America – as the left contends. We saw the left’s promoting of omnipresent inherent racism get disproved in the Floyd case.  It should again.  It is not about bad optics, but hard facts.

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.


  1. FraNk stetson

    Watch “Civil War,”?the Brad Pitt documentary on MSNBC. Divorce yourself from the source, just listen to the people and tell me it’s not in the DNA. .Then listen to the narration, take with grain of salt due to source, but see if you believe some of the reasons that it has been passed from generation to generation.

    Optics? Larry, some of this is reality. Not optics, that’s just plastering over open wounds.

    • larry Horist

      I recorded it and watched it. Why divorce myself from the source. It was a typical product of the source. Anyone corrupt propaganda operation can use carefully selected anecdotal examples to support a preconceived opinion. I have long maintained that America is NOT a racist nation — even though you can find examples if you look hard enough. I do concede that that last vestiges of institutional racism is found in out longstanding Democrat-run cities. You give me one person with a racist attitude and I counter with entire political machines that oppress millions of blacks and Hispanic in segregated communities with inferior education, substandard house, crumbling infrastructure, high unemployment and ridiculously high crime. Do you really believe that this one-party regimes are not racist? Do you think the conditions in our inner cities are just the fault of the folks trapped there? CNN and MSNBC run documentaries that are not even thinly disguised informercials for the Democrats and the left. Are you a racist? Do you see every white person as a racist? What is the point you wanted to make re “Civil War.”

    • Dan Tyree

      Arbery was shot without just cause, or so it seems. But now we have hood rats threatening violence in the Rittenhouse case. Can anyone spell obstruction of justice? Since when do hood rats get to dictate the outcome of a trial? People need to take a stand and put a stop to this bullshit.

  2. Hairstyles

    The root of your writing whilst appearing reasonable at first, did not really sit properly with me personally after some time. Someplace within the sentences you actually managed to make me a believer unfortunately only for a short while. I nevertheless have a problem with your leaps in logic and one would do well to fill in all those breaks. When you actually can accomplish that, I would certainly be impressed.

    • Dan Tyree

      I guess that you are hard to impress. I said nothing wrong, assuming that your post was directed to me

      • Joseph S. Bruder

        It’s a bot, Dan… They used a whole lot of words to say nothing, and look like they’re replying to something in particular. Kind of like the Republican Party. They replied to another article here and some word in the article triggered them to talk about their favorite recipe. And then they asked if they could submit articles. Just another Russian bot, trying to get established as a legitimate source.

  3. Frank stetson

    Wtf are you talking about, hood rats? What a freakin racist thing to say.

    Kenosha is 85+% white with a median income higher than your neighborhoodI am guessing. Higher average education too based on your spew.

    Are you talking imported rats? A BLM invasion. Black encounters of the third kind. And yet you ask others to take a stand for you; why is that — afraid again?

  4. Frank Sterson

    Yet, the anecdotes were eye opening. The people exist, the ideas are out there; I said consider the source since it is anecdotal. Now we just need the stats.

    They also simplified the slavery issue leaving out the western states and that effect on the South as the power brokers realized they were being cut off from expanding this evil economy.

    But still, these people are out there in meaningful numbers and, right now, they have been empowered and waiting for the second coming. That was my point. The folks in the doc are most certainly at the racist dna level.

    America is not a racist country but we have too much racism in our country whether overt like Dan or systemic like you mentioned although I don’t think you can lay that at the feet of just the Democrats. And yes, both you and I are racists until we better control systemic racism.

    • Dan Tyree

      The truth is tough to swallow. If 85-% of the people in Kenosha are white, why did the city get destroyed.?

      • Joseph S. Bruder

        Because white supremacists like Rittenhouse show up to cause trouble. Note that his 3 victims were also white.

  5. frank stetson

    Kenosha actually 80% white now, my data was old. And yet, you’re still spewing racist crap. Apparently, that never gets old. Yes, it’s a black community that was destroyed, about 40 buildings, more damaged, about $50M in damage over three days. Kenosha is indeed, even with around 10% blacks, very segregated, one of the most segregated communities in America.

    Blacks in Kenosha make about 40% less than their white counterparts, but America is not a racist state, systemic racism is a liberal myth, only in the inner cities when democrats govern does racism exist. Kenosha County leans right, elected Donald J. Trump, and I believe the Kenosha City Council is mostly white conservatives.

    Black unemployment in Kenosha is about 3 times as high as white unemployment. But America is not a racist…..

    In 2018, just before being elected, Kenosha’s police chief said: “”We need to build warehouses to put these people into it and lock them away for the rest of their lives,” Beth said. “Let’s stop them from truly, at least some of these males, from going out and getting 10 other women pregnant and having small children.” Ah, the ole “these people” term that non-racists use. And this is the sheriff, you can just imagine Deputy Fife. But America is not a racist country, and systemic racism is a myth….

    The SPLC tracks 13 hate groups operating out of Wisconsin, but America is not a racist country.

    Kenosha’s demographics for blacks are some of the worst in the nation, however, the trend is clear. Blacks are still segregated in America. They have higher unemployment, smaller wages for the same jobs, and suffer all the ills that a terrible economy puts on people. And then they are continually brutalized by the police with attitudes as noted in the anecdote from the Sherriff above. That’s the Sherriff, duly elected by the people, not just some beat cop.

    They put four bullets in Jacob Blake’s back, three in his side. He suffered from bringing a knife to a gun fight, but did he deserve that? Apparently as the cops were absolved. None were even charged. State felt it could not disprove self defense. Given all this, there were three days of protests.

    The first day was peaceful, that night at 10:15, stater of emergency declared and within an hour, tear gas and rubber bullets deployed. At midnight, three garbage trucks blockading the road were torched, along with a trolly car. By 2:30 am, a car lot set on fire and storefronts started to be damaged. Perhaps an officer struck by a brick.

    On day 2, it was mostly peaceful again. The Gov calls in the National Guard, puts a curfew in place, and begins to close down transportation access to Kenosha. Wisconsin citizen militias begin to move in to protect property as numerous buildings began to burn. The Sherriff has said the militia’s made everything even more complicated and difficult to control.

    On the third day, 2,000 more national guard requested as the Sherriff stated that the damage was not caused by protestors, but by other outsiders coming to provoke violence. That night about 30 fires and businesses damaged or destroyed. On that third night, there are many accounts, including from the police and the militia that the police actually stoked the violence: ““The cops told us they were going to send them (protesters) at us and then run.”

    In total, about 40 buildings destroyed, many others damaged, about $50M in damages in three days as viewed against the billions of dollars in damages from a few hours of white revolt at the Nation’s Capitol.

    Physical violence occurred on the third night when a 17 year old armed with an assault rifle loaded with full metal jackets, killed two other white men, and blew the arm off another as he was “protecting” a business that he knew nothing about.

    Your current racist rant was: “The truth is tough to swallow. If 85-% of the people in Kenosha are white, why did the city get destroyed.?” What do you mean? Are you saying if the city was white, why would it get destroyed? What does that mean, only black cities get destroyed by those protesting police brutality?

    Previously you uttered an even more racist passage saying: “But now we have hood rats threatening violence in the Rittenhouse case. Can anyone spell obstruction of justice? Since when do hood rats get to dictate the outcome of a trial? People need to take a stand and put a stop to this bullshit.” Whatever do you mean, “hood rats?” Is that your term for inner city blacks? Does that not sound completely racist to you? Or, let me guess, you call everyone rats? And anyone from a city is from the “hood?” Or is this just how you view blacks? And you want more people to go full-Rittenhouse of them? What do you mean “take a stand?” Are you advocating being armed or just armchair puffery and exaggeration?

    Because there were only 175 arrests in Kenosha, even with those hundreds of police, thousands of national guard, thousands of armed militia. Only 175 arrests. And over 100 of them did not come from the Kenosha hood. Of the outsiders, 70 of the 100 were for curfew violations. Sort of like the parade violation at the Capitol Insurrection. Of the outsiders arrested, 11 were hood rats from Oregon and Washington who were providing food to the protestors. 60 were from Wisconsin, most from Milwaukee. About 10 from 6-mile away Illinois. About ten were from more distant states.

    There is most certainly a segregated black community in Kenosha where unemployment is higher and wages are lower than in white Wisconsin. Cops most certainly put seven bullets into a black with a knife paralyzing him. There was protests, there was violence, it appears that there was also mistakes made in the amount of police force and how that force was used during the protests, if alone for the low number of arrests. Citizen militia’s armed with long guns made matters worse, according to the Sherriff, and in what Universe do adults allow a 17-year old armed with an assault rifle loaded with full metal jackets roam the same streets after the police curfew? The only victims in “da hood” that night was white on white as far as anyone can tell.

    And Dan is still a racist, in his own words. Probably the only hood he has seen is the one he keeps in his closet for those special rally nights. For the rest of us, Kenosha should be a wake up bell. American is NOT a racist nation, as Larry likes to say. But America has too much racism and it has been empowered during the reign of Trump and Trumpism today further hides racism under the concepts of free speech, state’s rights, and the second amendment. We fought a Civil War to combat racism, we fought a World War to combat racism, it appears we are still fighting it today.

    I did like the Rittenhouse break-down. Brought back those Kavanaugh tears of shame. Problem is, they both were crying about their own predicaments, no remorse otherwise. That would be weak.

    • Dan Tyree

      Kenosha is also ran by liberal commiecrats. It’s people’s duty to protect the community especially since the police aren’t allowed to do their jobs. It’s the background of the 2nd amendment

    • Larry kuhn

      You’re obsessed with racism. You need help. And if the colored people in Kenosha has it so tough maybe they should make better choices in life Like get educated and stay out of trouble

    • Harold blankenship

      Boo hoo

  6. frank stetson

    “Kenosha is also ran by liberal commiecrats. It’s people’s duty to protect the community especially since the police aren’t allowed to do their jobs. It’s the background of the 2nd amendment”

    So, when you make this crap up, and you realize you are just winging it, you got no facts, just your own warped delusions, but you still decide, “oh wtf, I’m just going to type up some bullshit and see what happens,” what actually goes through that pea brain of yours just before you hit “send?”

    Kenosha County Wisconsin is Trump country, you ignorant slut. Trump won the last two elections there, idiot. “Kenosha County, WI is Leaning conservative. In Kenosha County, WI 47.5% of the people voted Democrat in the last presidential election, 50.7% voted for the Republican Party, and the remaining 1.8% voted Independent.” And you say Kenosha is also ran by liberal…… Not in this Universe.

    Kenosha’s Congressional Senators split the ticket, one from each party, so —- Dan’s not right in the head there either. Their House Representative is a Republican.

    Kenosha’s current and longest serving mayor is a Democrat. The City Council however is made up of 17 alderpersons, seemingly leaning to the right.

    I just don’t see a single fact that Kenosha is run by liberals, except for Dan totally making it up, as usual.

    • Dan Tyree

      From the state level the city was influenced. Ignorant slut? Nice. But Rittenhouse did what he had to do to survive three deadly attacks. People already in the act of burning down the town will kill anyone who they see as not with them. You ignorant slut. He shouldn’t have been there, I’ll agree. But he had a right to live. And the scum bag shot while waving a knife around got what he deserved And you call me out for name calling.

  7. frank stetson

    “From the state level the city was influenced.” How? By the National Guard being called in on the second day? How was the city influenced by the state level? Just more ignorance by our resident racist.

    • Dan Tyree

      Awww. You’re pissed off. Good