After Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted Friday afternoon of murder charges in Kenosha, the front page of Sunday’s New York Times displayed reporter Glenn Thrush’s questionable “news analysis”: “Rittenhouse Case Highlights Nation’s Deep Divide on Gun Rights.”
Thrush, who is pro-gun control and a fan of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, zoomed in on a minor facet of the trial, when the judge tossed out a charge against Rittenhouse, summarized by Thrush as “illegal possession of the military-style semiautomatic rifle he used to kill two people”:
To Thrush, “it was a telling reminder that the Rittenhouse case, in addition to examining the polarizing issues of race and the right to self-defense in the country, highlighted the growing proliferation of guns on America’s streets and the failure of efforts to enact even modest new gun restrictions.”
For the advocates, there have been some gains, including a pending ban on the online sale of kit guns and $5 billion in new violence prevention funding that was included in the social spending passed by the House hours before the verdict was announced. But congressional Republicans have blocked efforts to expand federal background checks on gun purchasers and restrict the sale of semiautomatic guns, or even to confirm a permanent director for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
….A ban on assault weapons, like the one that Mr. Rittenhouse carried, lapsed in 2004, and Republicans have blocked its renewal.
He misleadingly labeled the Brady Campaign gun control group as a “gun safety organization,” then quoted the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence fretting “Only in America can a 17-year-old grab an assault weapon, travel across state lines, provoke a fight, kill two people and injure another and pay no consequences.”
Self-defense? Due process? What are those things?
But the story really got twisted when Thrush quoted incendiary civil rights propagandist Al Sharpton. Sharpton’s long list of offenses against decency include calling Jews “diamond merchants” during the racial disturbance in Crown Heights in 1991.
In Harlem in 1995, Sharpton cursed the white Jewish owner of Freddy’s Fashion Mart in Harlem as a “white interloper” in a protest that escalated when a protester entered the store, shot four employees and set the building on fire, killing seven employees.
Clearly, Sharpton has no credibility discussing anything related to justice. Yet Thrush quoted him.
Some Black Americans viewed the verdict as more evidence of racial disparity in judicial outcomes, a perspective that extended to the discussion around the right to bear arms.
The Rev. Al Sharpton contrasted the acquittal of Mr. Rittenhouse with the federal government’s aggressive, at times violent, campaign against the Black Panthers and other Black groups that cited self-defense and the Second Amendment as justifications for arming themselves.
“There’s a huge double standard,” he said in an interview, arguing that a Black man who did what Mr. Rittenhouse did “would have been convicted in two hours.”
Thrush became the latest liberal no longer sure about the right to self-defense, fretting that self-defense as a “legal notion” is “complicated by the ongoing proliferation of guns,” “the failure of prosecutors to secure a conviction,” and “confusing and inconsistently enforced state firearms regulations.”