We call ourselves a civilized nation.  Well, a civilized nation does not allow laws to be passed where a person can be run over because someone is inconvenienced by a protest.  Yet he we are, where Republicans have decided to use that last gasps of power to try to enshrine into law inequality.

On Monday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an “anti-riot” bill that allows harsher police crackdowns on demonstrators—an apparent response to the “defund the police” and Black Lives Matter movements. (“This bill actually prevents local governments from defunding law enforcement,” DeSantis said.) A public gathering of three or more people can be classified as a “riot” under the law, and anyone who “willingly” participates in such a gathering can be charged with a third-degree felony.

Plus, participants in rallies that turn violent can be also be charged with a third-degree felony even if they had no involvement with the violence. Most jarring of all, the law grants civil immunity to drivers who ram into protesting crowds and even injure or kill participants, if they claim the protests made them concerned for their own well-being in the moment.

Take a moment, and breathe it in.  Let the rage wash over you, let it permeate your nasal passages like the rotted cheese of legislation it is.  What the Florida law says is that a person involved in a protest that turns violent can be charged with a felony, even if not a participant in the violence.  Thus, if I am reading this correctly, in theory someone that runs down a person and kills them would walk free, while the brother of the person who was run down, if present, could be charged.

Look, this is our country too.  We have a right to a redress of our grievances.  We have a right to assembly, a right to free speech and a right to vote.  Those are not state rights.  Those are Federal.  So what is going on now is a not a civil war.  It is a legislative secession.

A.  Legislative.  Secession.  Law after law, being the subjugation of women, restrictions of the right to vote, endorsing the murder of protesters or..a legal precedent by way of juror decision of-

Being able to shoot a person in the back and have it be called self-defense.  

Yes this happened.  A fact that is not in dispute is that Kyle Rittenhouse discharged his AR-15 rifle into the body of Joseph Rosenbaum four times..

Dr Doug Kelley, a forensic pathologist with the Milwaukee county medical examiner’s office, said Rosenbaum was shot by someone within 4ft. Rosenbaum’s hand, he said, was “in close proximity or in contact with the end of that rifle”.

Kelley said Rosenbaum was shot four times: in the groin, hand and thigh as he faced Rittenhouse and then in the back. Prosecutor James Kraus called that the “kill shot”.

Moments later, Rittenhouse, then 17, killed Anthony Huber, 26, who was seen on bystander video hitting Rittenhouse with a skateboard. Rittenhouse also wounded Gaige Grosskreutz, a protester and volunteer medic who carried a gun of his own.

The kill shot was Rittenhouse standing over Mr. Rosenbaum and shooting him in the back.  Ok.  This is where we are at.  A jury in Wisconsin set a precedent that should chill us all.  They basically endorsed the legalized hunting of humans behaving in ways you do not like.  So this is what we are up against right?  Yes, but not just this.  The link above was from The Guardian, a source from the United Kingdom.

What I am posting below is from U.S. News and World Report.  Anybody who read the above link could decide the most important quote in there was “kill shot” am I right?  That is the whole charge in a candy wrapper.  Rittenhouse stood over an unarmed, prone, wounded Rosenbaum then shot him in the back.  Isn’t there a word for that?  A legal term?

But look at what U.S. News and World Report focuses on:

Kelley was one of the final witnesses for the state before prosecutors rested their murder case after 5 1/2 days of testimony that were aimed at portraying Rittenhouse as the aggressor but often bolstered the young man’s claim of self-defense. His lawyers have suggested the 17-year-old was afraid his gun would be taken away and used against him.

The defense then began presenting its side, calling as its first witnesses people who were on the streets with Rittenhouse that night and described him as pale, shaking, sweating and stammering after the shootings.

Please read the whole article.  It presents more of the defense witness testimony than what is in my opinion, the most important two words in the whole trial.  “Kill shot.”

So that is how it was packaged and sold to a somewhat gullible public, by a supposedly reputable news outlet.  Even so, this one ultimately is on the jury.  A jury that decided an unarmed man lying prone, and wounded, on the ground put the defendant in reasonable fear of imminent harm.  Ok.  I don’t know how that is allowed.  I did not know Wisconsin had a “finishing” clause to their law.  I did not know that once you felt threatened, that after you disabled the aggressor you could just keep firing.  I did not know that was considered reasonable.

Good to know in case I am ever hunted.

But I will say this about the reverberations of this verdict:  Beware 2022, Republicans.  This crosses a line.  You have made laws dehumanizing protesters, people of color, and women, and you expect that somehow, your anger is going to carry the day.

Well well.

You think you have seen angry?

You think we were angry in 2020?

You haven’t seen angry.

You can not possibly dream of the rage in my heart right now.

But our votes will make you understand.

We are coming to vote.  We are going to unite this country, defend our principles and cast you into the political wilderness where you can play toy soldier with your unhinged heroes.

And if you think for one moment I fear your weapons?  Let me just say, yes you might shoot me.  You might kill me.  The threat of a rifle against a human is real.  But the power of humanity over the cowardly tyrants holding one?  Indisputable.

You will learn as all have learned who came before you, and you will learn the hard way:

The power of a bullet is nothing compared to the power of a ballot.

UPDATE:  What do you think I am suggesting here?  I am hearing too much defeatism.  In St. Louis County, a prosecutor was replaced with a person of color, Wesley Bell, an activist.  Cori Bush defeated Lacy Clay, and she is an activist.  That is just St. Louis. 

What about Lucy McBath?  She rose from the depths of despair to win a U.S, House seat.  She just voted to pass Build Back Better.  She decided she could make change, even in the midst of her pain, and is doing so.

And all over the nation we are doing the hard work of de-toxifying police departments.

Look at we is being done in Tempe, AZ where Corey Woods is Mayor, and Arizona State has led the way to create a de-escalation program.

The Tempe Police Department will likely receive its accreditation renewal from the Arizona Law Enforcement Accreditation Program (ALEAP) in spring 2022, said Tempe City Councilmember Joel Navarro Nov. 3 at a discussion about the process and the department’s attempts at de-escalation.

Both the de-escalation training and efforts to earn back accreditation, a title given to public safety agencies after they thoroughly analyze adherence to standards in all aspects of policing, are intended to ensure Tempe PD is reliably and responsibly protecting the community.

We can’t quit now.  We have to replace rogue sheriffs that fish with the DA with a local kid trying to rejuvenate his neighborhood.  We have to end qualified immunity.  There is no magic wand here.  This is a decades long project.  But we have made progress.  And we have to pass laws that say do not the only armed personnel authorized to patrol in a protest are law enforcement.

This is a difficult slog.  We can’t expect judicial rescue, when we know full well what some of the judges on the bench are.  That would mean we are spectators.  We vote in the judges, we choose the politicians, we paint this county blue one precinct dot at a time.  We civilize this nation one district at a time.  

And it will be hard.  But ultimately this fight can only be won at the ballot box.  So if you say nothing will change, if you say it is too late, then what you are really doing is walking off the battlefield.

Stay in the fight!


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