Everyone knows the story of Jesus and Barabbas from the New Testament.  Jesus was innocent and Barabbas was guilty, but the angry mob yelled “Cruicify him!  Crucify him!” when Pilate asked what he should do with Jesus. Pilate knew Jesus was innocent but he also knew Rome expected him to maintain order, so he overruled his integrity and allowed the mob to have its way.  And, now, Pilate is one of history’s most pitiable and disreputable figures, and deservedly so.

The execution of the innocent Jesus of Nazareth by an angry mob of fanatics has proven to be one of the bedrock events of Judeo-Christian/Western Civilization, an event our forefathers have worked for centuries to prevent from repeating itself. It has been a long and bitter struggle with many setbacks, and it reared its ugly head once again in Kenosha, Wisconsin in the case of Kyle Rittenhouse in which a self-appointed mob of left-wing extremists in the media and government disgustingly undertook to try and convict him by concocting lies about him without making the slightest effort to determine the truth of what they were saying.

In her Nov. 20, 2021, column in the New York Post (https://nypost.com/2021/11/17/10-debunked-heinous-lies-about-kyle-rittenhouse-devine) Miranda Devine refuted the 10 most outrageous lies about Rittenhouse various media figures concocted:

1. He shot three and killed two black BLM protesters.

2. He crossed state lines with malevolent intent.  

3. He took an AR-15 rifle across state lines.

4. This gun was illegal.  

5. Rittenhouse’s mother drove him across state lines to the riot.  

6. He was an “active shooter” who took his gun to a riot looking for trouble.

7 Rittenhouse is a “white supremacist.”

8. He “flashed white power signs” with Proud Boys.

9. He wore surgical gloves “to cover his fingerprints.”

10. Judge Bruce Schroeder is a “Trumpy” racist biased toward the defense. 

Space limitations prohibit the inclusion of Devine’s detailed refutations here, but they can be accessed online by going to the above-mentioned website.  Be assured, the media’s outrageous falsehoods looked like shavings emptied from a pencil sharpener when she finished.

Four closely-related issues are in play here: (1) the right to self-defense; (2) the right to a public trial before a free and impartial jury of one’s peers v. mob vigilantism; (3) how these terms are defined and implemented; and (4) prosecutorial misconduct and incompetence.

The right of self-defense is one of the most basic human instincts and became a  principle of Western law centuries ago.  William Blackstone, in his “Commentaries on the Laws of England,” Book IV, chapter 14, section 217, says “... self-defense ...  is that whereby a man may protect himself from an assault ... , in the course of a sudden brawl or quarrel, by killing him who assaults him.”  Rittenhouse certainly was assaulted.

He never should have been charged with anything, but instead, in response to media and political pressure, he was charged with first degree “intentional”, i.e., premeditated murder, a charge which is ludicrous on its face, plus four other lesser but still serious charges. The prosecution bore the burden of proof and the highest level of proof, beyond a reasonable doubt (virtual certainty), was required. It is hard to imagine prosecutorial incompetence so obvious and total that prosecution witnesses actually provided testimony for the defense, i.e., that Rittenhouse did, indeed, act in self-defense, but that is what happened.

A verdict of not guilty was obvious, but there was always the possibility that the judge and jury, with the media and people outside noisily demanding conviction, would capitulate to the mob and follow Pontius Pilate, but they did not! They withstood the pressure and maintained the rule of law! They should receive some kind of prize.

It is worth noting that, even though another state was involved, the same legal principles resulted in a similar “not guilty” verdict for O.J. Simpson some years ago. Simpson was improperly charged with first-degree murder, as was Rittenhouse, but he was not guilty of first-degree murder and the jury so ruled correctly. It is my opinion that he did kill his ex-wife and her boyfriend, but that it was in a fit of rage. If he had been charged with second-degree murder or manslaughter, he might have been found guilty.

The American people have no respect for leftist media elites and regard them with disdain and disgust, deservedly so. The answer is to quit listening to them and quit buying the products their advertisers want to sell.

Winfield H. Rose taught political science at Murray State University for 39 years and is now retired. He is active in the Calloway County GOP, but speaks here as an individual and not as a representative of either of these organizations. He can be reached at winfieldrose@gmail.com.

Editor’s Note: Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the editorial opinion of the Murray Ledger & Times.