White supremacist kills two in Kenosha. Becomes a hero of conservatives.

Tucker Carlson holding a microphone


It is hard to know what is the most shocking thing about the Kenosha shooting. It is even harder to know which Kenosha shooting to be more horrified by. But one thing is for sure; the usual suspects will trot out their veiled racism — or overt racism — followed by weak defenses of their own conduct.

Is it really surprising to hear Tucker Carlson defend the white seventeen-year-old who shot and killed protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin? Does Ann Coulter’s suggestion that the boy would be a good president seem somehow out of character for her? Of course not. These and other high profile bigots are given cover by the co-conspirators who prefer that the power structure stay exactly as it is.

As Maya Angelou said, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” The question isn’t whether or not Carlson and Coulter are racist. The question is whether racist behavior will be stopped.

Fox News isn’t going to stop racist behavior. The Trump administration isn’t going to stop it, and neither is the current iteration of the Republican Party. And it sure doesn’t look like the Kenosha Sheriff’s department is going to put a stop to it either.

This is not easy to watch

Warning: every moment of this video including the Kenosha shooting is disturbing. The obviously upsetting parts are where Kyle Rittenhouse kills protesters. But other segments offer hideous proof of the systemic racism that laid the foundation for this man to murder activists.

As Chris Tye of CBS2 says, “At the beginning of the evening, authorities thanked he [sic] and his so-called ‘citizens brigade’ that showed up here in Kenosha. And at the end of the night, he was able to walk right out of the Kenosha hot zone.”

Sheriff’s deputies give an ‘attaboy’ to the group of armed white militiamen. Rittenhouse was one of them, but law enforcement’s reaction to these vigilantes would turn the stomach even if that were the end of the story.

At the end of the video, a young white man who has just shot people walks with his hands up toward law enforcement and is allowed to carry on past them undisturbed. Apparently, “Hands up, don’t shoot,” only works for white guys.

Tacit permission

Two white hands give the thumbs up to each other

Niek Verlaan / Pixabay

The local sheriff’s department claims that giving water to the group of armed white people before the Kenosha shooting should not be considered giving them “tacit permission.” Because they give water to a lot of people. So was permission granted when law enforcement told the armed white people, “We appreciate you guys. We really do”?

Meanwhile, deputies told other people to leave the area.

This behavior is more than permission: it’s approval. An example of “tacit permission” is if you pass your mother on the way out of the kitchen while you eat a cookie you just boosted, and she does not say anything (and also does not yank the last of the cookie out of your hand). Approval is if she said, “I appreciate you eating that cookie. I really do.”

Kenosha shootings: that’s shootings, plural

A hand points a gun at the viewer from out of the shadows.

Max Kleinen / Unsplash

While the Kenosha protests should be considered part of the larger Black Lives Matter activism, they are in specific response to the shooting of Jacob Blake. He is still in the hospital and partially paralyzed by one of the seven bullets that white Kenosha police officer Rusten Sheskey fired into Blake’s back.

“What they have said is, ‘Don’t rush to judgement; we have to put it all in context’,” the Blake’s attorney Benjamin Crump told MSNBC’s Joy Reid. “They always use a video when it’s a person of color who’s accused of something nefarious. They say, ‘Well we have video.’ But now that we have video of the police shooting a man seven times in his back…they say, ‘Don’t rush to judgement.”

So far, Officer Sheskey has been put on administrative leave.

What happens when a white shooter is caught on video?

Kyle Rittenhouse walks through the streets of Kenosha proudly carrying an automatic rifle.

screenshot / CBS / Twitter Tariq Nasheed

Kyle Rittenhouse walked right past law enforcement as witnesses pointed him out as a shooter. At some point, he headed back towards home, thirty miles away (and across state lines) from the Kenosha shooting. And now, even though he has been arrested and charged with murder, conservative pundits have taken to defending and even lauding him.

But not very bravely. Good thing we can see a screenshot, because this tweet is gone from Ann Coulter’s Twitter, as well as her little fan fiction’s feed.

How did we get here?

Dariusz Sankowski / Pixabay

While Laura Ingraham is asking for photos of Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse scrubbing graffiti, other images are cropping up of him. Proudly holding his automatic rifle as a Public Safety Cadet, where he was offered, “the opportunity to explore careers in law enforcement.”

Long before he traveled the thirty miles to commit the Kenosha shooting, Buzzfeed reports that the seventeen-year-old’s social media was “filled with him posing with weapons, posting “Blue Lives Matter,” and supporting Trump for president.”

In fact, there are images of him in the front row of a Trump rally. According to senior Trump enabler Kellyanne Conway, the White House is “not responsible for the private conduct of people who go to rallies.” But he was given permission.

‘The words of a president matter’

Trump miming shooting an immigrant at the border

Screenshot / YouTube

Over and over, Trump incites violence against people he wants to keep down. He has suggested “shooting migrants in the leg” to keep them from crossing the border. He has suggested that police “not be too nice” when they make arrests, and to hit suspects heads on the police car as they are pushed inside.

Trump’s instructions for the Kenosha shooting was clear. In a Tweet that Twitter removed for promoting violence, the president called Black Lives Matter activists, “THUGS,” and followed it by threatening that, “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.”

No matter how much the Trump administration denies responsibility, the Republican National “Convention” is proof that the current US power balance is right where Republicans want it.

Guess who?

A screenshot of Tucker Carlson from his Fox News show

Screenshot / Youtube

Tucker Carlson couldn’t resist justifying shooting protestors. “So are we really surprised that looting and arson accelerated to murder?” He seemed pleased that Rittenhouse had killed activists to “maintain order when no one else would.”

The vast majority of Black Lives Matter activism is nonviolent, while white supremacists have been arrested causing the violence during protests. Fear-mongers like Carlson whose power has grown from promoting the insanity of the Trump administration want to paint protestors as looters and arsonists. Then he can point to the Kenosha shooting of those protestors as an antidote.

Also, Tucker, you meant “escalate.”

In a way, though, Carlson is right. Looting and arson by white supremacists did ultimately lead to murder…committed by white supremacists. All the same, haven’t we heard enough?

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