Rittenhouse is not a hero … neither was George Floyd
Based on the facts, I predicted that Rittenhouse would be acquitted because he should have been acquitted – and he was. A great example of American rule-of-law justice. Only ignorance of the law and the facts in the case – or unbridled strident partisanship – would argue against this verdict.
Now, we have folks elevating Rittenhouse to hero status. No. That is just wrong. He was a kid who got himself into a situation that required him to defend himself. That’s it. He did what he thought was necessary to defend himself – and I think he was justified. But a hero?
Certainly, he has become famous – and that automatically takes him out of public anonymity. What he has to say may be of news interest. It can get Rittenhouse interviews and speaking engagements. But that is fame – not heroism.
He did not even change the legal system. The right of self-defense as defined under the law was in place before the Rittenhouse case – and continues forward un amended.
Rittenhouse seems like he was a nice normal kid – maybe with a bit more zeal to be a law-and-order activist than the average kid. I say that despite the slander that he is a white supremacist and was hell-bent on killing folks. Even President Biden contributed to that slander.
But still, Rittenhouse is not a hero. If someone were to jump you on a dark street and you shot the assailant, you are not a hero. Just a person who responded to a threat. You are lucky to have had the means to protect yourself.
Amazingly, some have actually called the thugs who attacked Rittenhouse heroes. No. They are not. I characterize them as thugs based on their criminal histories – all convicted felons. The charges include battery, assault, domestic violence and even the rape of young children under 12. They were active rioters. But they did not get shot because of their past criminal record. The criminal was properly omitted from the case.
This case brings out the entire issue of who America views as heroes. Another example of unearned hero status is George Floyd. In examining the case for past commentaries, I concluded that Floyd was murdered by Officer Derek Chauvin. And again, justice prevailed based on the FACTS and EVIDENCE. It did not matter that Floyd had a serious criminal record. But that was not part of the case – as it should not be.
Floyd was a victim … period. Those who elevate him to hero status demean any standard of true heroism. There was nothing about his life that could engender pride much less hero status.
While the left elevates victims to hero status as political capital, they attack the traditional heroes of America – the Founders, President Lincoln and even those who defend America with their lives in foreign wars or on the streets of our cities. That is because we have lost all meaning to the designation of “hero.” We prop them up or tear them down based on narrow a partisan or philosophic alignment.
A street criminal who gets murdered by a police officer becomes a hero and men who crafted the greatest democratic republic in the history of the world are degraded as villains.
By any rational measure, heroes should be judged by the good that that have done for society – of individual people. A fireman who carries a baby out of a burning building at risk to his life is a hero. Getting shot is not, in and of itself, a canonization ritual for heroic designation.
My test of heroism is whether the person made positive contributions to the greater society at risk to their own well-being. Our Founders qualify for having risked their fortunes and lives to create an exceptional America and igniting a worldwide shift to democracy. Lincoln has been my own lifelong personal hero for how he used the words of Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence to give meaning to the phrase that “all men are created equal.”
Martin Luther King is another of my personal heroes for having led a peaceful national crusade to end the deadly oppression of black citizens imposed by the Democratic Party in the south and in major northern cities – political partisans who had thwarted the Constitution, the Emancipation Proclamation, the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution and a myriad of laws and court cases for 100 years after the Civil War.
The lack or downgrading of commonly accepted national heroes is just another symptom of the shattering — the tribalization — of the nation. It aligns with the disrespect of the flag and the National Anthem. These are all signs that the common culture … e pluribus unum, out of many, one … is no longer operative in today’s culture. Without that, we are not a nation – and there are no national heroes.
It is no longer a matter of resolving problems and differences within the overarching common culture, but more of a matter of different fundamental values between rival cultures – the hero of one tribe being the villain of another. The lack of common heroes is emblematic of that unfortunate reality.
Rittenhouse is called a hero by those on the right – a vigilante killer by those on the left. He is neither.
So, there ‘tis.