Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Retributive Justice and History: A case study comparison of Charles Sumner’s attacker (Preston Brooks) and Kyle Rittenhouse.

January 9, 2022 by  
Filed under News, Opinion, Politics, Weekly Columns

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( As a Christian Black male and teacher of History/Economics this writer has decided to offer a historical spin on the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict and its effect on History moving forward.

To understand the basic metrics and parts of the discretionary dilemma and their anticipated outcomes, US political science has a lot to offer. Representative Preston Brooks of South Carolina’s caning of Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner in the 1850s demonstrated the escalating sectarian strife at the time and foreshadowed the bloodshed on the battlefield between the North and the South’s armies. Slavery-related tensions in the territories erupted in the 1840s and reached a boiling point by the decade’s end. A compromise was still conceivable because the second party system was founded on national parties with a vested interest in keeping the peace. In addition, the North and South were not quite as polarized as they would be in the future.

Despite his violent past, Preston Brooks was hailed as a hero in the Deep South, and he received several replacement canes from his admirers despite taking matters into his own hands. He was derided and made a parable of the stereotypically rigid and unyielding slave master in the North. This episode showed prewar enmity between the two factions. For the duration of his recuperation, Charles Sumner was absent from the Senate for three years.

A new age of political violence in American history began with Kyle Rittenhouse, who raised many unanswered concerns. Many cameras, held aloft like candles through the tear gas and firework smoke, sent snippets of film and livestreams to various sites, capturing the events as they unfolded. In a politically charged trial, a US teenager who killed two men during demonstrations and rioting in Wisconsin in 2020 was cleared of all counts specific to the volatile confrontation. According to the verdict, Rittenhouse was cleared of all charges arising from the August 2020 shootings in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Even though crowd members chanted for him to be detained because he had shot people, police allowed Rittenhouse to stroll by them with a rifle over his shoulder and his hands in the air, according to witness testimony and video evidence.

Once again, Rittenhouse was hailed as a hero by conservatives for his efforts to defend downtown Kenosha businesses with a military-style rifle after being arrested, much as Brooks had been. This vigilante impulse, as some may call it, is what misguided people call justice and law abiding citizens call terror, it has been a central feature of the American experience as far back as the days of Preston Brooks. So has the way people have made heroes of vigilantes, encouraging, supporting and defending them. Once again history repeats itself, however, in this case the proverbial jury is still out because my Christian values tell me that God has an accurate record and those that see the likes of Preston Brooks, Kyle Rittenhouse and George Zimmerman to name but a few;  as DeFacto hero’s will one day have, as will they, some “tall” explaining to do.

Staff Writer; Stanley G. Buford

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