As attention-grabbing — and sometimes heartrending — as the Kyle Rittenhouse case has become, there’s another trial going on just over a thousand miles away. It’s not getting the attention that it deserves, even though there are some similarities between the two cases.
Right now in Glynn County, along the Georgia coast, a white father and son are undergoing trial for allegedly taking the law into their own hands and shooting a black man. On Feb. 25, 2020, 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery was out for a run through a residential neighborhood when Gregory McMichael and his son Travis stopped him and allegedly attempted a citizen’s arrest, which ended in Arbery getting shot and killed.
The case didn’t receive any attention for several weeks because local authorities passed on the investigation, since Travis McMichael worked for the Glynn County District Attorney’s office as an investigator. The bungling of the case prompted an investigation from Georgia’s Attorney General Chris Carr.
When a disturbing video of the shooting surfaced, the case made international news. Then-candidate Joe Biden even weighed in on the matter:
The Ahmaud Arbery shooting commanded media attention until the death of George Floyd dominated the headlines and all hell broke loose. The Kyle Rittenhouse incident took place in the wake of racially-motivated riots after a separate police shooting.
Gregory and Travis McMichael, along with an accomplice who leaked the video, are on trial for one of the first (if not the first) incidents in a year where racial issues took center stage. So why isn’t the media paying much attention to the case, beyond regional coverage?
I think politics is at play in the Rittenhouse case. Say what you want about whether Rittenhouse should’ve been where he was, but he jumped into a fracas that already had a political angle. The riots took place in the wake of a police shooting, and President Donald Trump rushed to defend Rittenhouse, who had appeared at a Trump rally.
These factors combined to create a perfect storm that allowed the left to paint Rittenhouse as a “white supremacist.”
Over at the Spectator, Stephen L. Miller writes:
We are being fed the fantasy that Rittenhouse was a dangerous, mass-shooting, pro-Trump militia member, out for blood on the night of the Kenosha riots in Wisconsin. We are also being told that he is a white supremacist. This claim has been pushed by MSNBC, and even by members of Congress, such as Ayanna Pressley who tweeted, ‘A 17 year old white supremacist domestic terrorist drove across state lines, armed with an AR 15. He shot and killed 2 people who had assembled to affirm the value, dignity, and worth of Black lives.’ Pressley neglected to mention the race of the activists shot by Rittenhouse: they’re all white.
There’s no political component to the trial of Ahmaud Arbery’s alleged assailants. The case in Glynn County is merely about race and vigilante justice, especially in light of the racist statements one of the McMichaels made in the wake of the shooting, but there are no cheap political points for Democrats to gain from exploiting it.
Miller again points out:
So why is the national press attempting to draw race into a trial where race played no part in the fates of Rittenhouse or his victims, yet all but ignoring the implications out of Georgia that very well might see justice for a young African American shot dead in the street? Why is racism a factor when the victim and killer are white, yet not when the victim is black?
It’s easy to understand the answer if you understand that the American media pretends to take racial issues seriously, but really regard everything through the lens of politics. Is the framing of the Rittenhouse trial part of an attempt to provoke commentators on the right to defend Rittenhouse and in doing so reveal the ‘structural racism’ of the country?
In the end, to a large part of the American media, justice for Arbery does not matter, because his death is not a blunt instrument with which they can bludgeon their political adversaries.
The trial in Georgia won’t get the attention that Kyle Rittenhouse’s trial has because the left can’t use it for their political gain. But it’s worth watching because hopefully the Arbery family will get justice for Ahmaud’s death. Also, we can hope that states will reconsider citizen’s arrest laws in the wake of what happened that horrific day in Glynn County.
But in the meantime, this trial won’t get the attention it deserves.