DECEMBER 24, 2021

Looking back at the slew of 2021 shooting cases involving law enforcement or their more ardent conservative supporters, a pattern is beginning to emerge for me. Those who don’t follow the cases very closely, or have an agenda around such cases, may purport that “justice has been served,” that “the system works” and the United States remains that “shining city on a hill.” While all that may appear to be true, what would be more just is having no such violence visited upon Ahmaud Arbery, Daunte Wright, Brianna Taylor and countless others in the first place.

Further, there is the sense that the guilty verdicts rendered are placative or performative, so as to mollify any protests on par with the global George Floyd solidarity protests of 2020. If dissent can be quelled with what amounts to pittances: a guilty verdict here, a settlement there, when expectations are crushed down so low to the ground that anything vaguely resembling forward social progress is a relief to a distressed spirit, then these judicial decisions, while insufficient to produce justice as described earlier, are a pleasant shock and surprise to an oppressed people.

While there are many nuances in how this global system of injustice expresses itself around the world, leading to many factions, much infighting and confusion, a very fine, adumbrated line emerges, defining two sides: those who wish to maintain the social order, if not reinvigorate it, and those who wish to replace it. The defendants in the aforementioned cases present themselves as the former, leaving the plaintiffs presented as the latter, were that they were alive to declare their position for themselves.

The pattern I detect is thus: if the plaintiff is non-white, then it is more likely that a consequence is exacted against the defendant via a guilty verdict, an appropriate sentence and a settlement. If the plaintiff is white, but presents as an ally dedicated to replacing the global system of injustice with one that is more just, then it is less likely that a consequence will be exacted against the defendant. Could it be that this is a form of punishment for “betraying” a system that ostensibly benefits them the most: “biting the hand that feeds?” Could it be a signal in response to the “virtues” most amenable to the prevailing social order, such that aspirants may follow a path along the lines of “defendant Rittenhouse,” then “media darling Rittenhouse,” then “congressional staffer Rittenhouse,” then “Congressman Rittenhouse” and more?


  • 2021 seems to be the year of crooked cops or hard-right-wingers. It may feel like "justice has been served," "the system works," or the US is still a "shining city on a hill." Yet what would be more just is for Ahmaud Arbery, Daunte Wright, Brianna Taylor, and others to not get shot at all.

  • Then the guilty verdicts we do get are like a song-and-dance so we don't have another worldwide protest. You're so beat down, anything that looks like progress is relief. These verdicts that don't produce justice become a pleasant surprise to non-white people.

  • A world of injustice breeds factions, war, and confusion. A fine line appears, separating those who wish to preserve the social structure and those who wish to replace it. Plaintiffs in the above cases present themselves as the latter. Defendants in those cases present themselves as the former.

  • If the plaintiff isn't white, then a guilty verdict, a sentence, and a settlement hit the defendant. A plaintiff who's a white ally of ending injustice is less likely to see the defendant punished. Can it be that this is a punishment for "betraying" a system that appears to benefit them: "biting the hand that feeds?" Are the white plaintiffs then "white sacrifices?" Is it a reaction to the "virtues" that make up the social structure? Will this make people follow a certain path? "Defendant Rittenhouse," do you remember that guy? He is now "media darling Rittenhouse." What is next for him? "Congressional staffer Rittenhouse?" "Congressman Rittenhouse," or even worse?