Friday, March 18, 2022

Pleased With Himself

Merriam-Webster explains

Hyperventilating can be a response to fear and anxiety. A test pilot who panics and hyperventilates faces a dangerous situation. When the level of carbon dioxide in your blood goes down and the oxygen level goes up, blood vessels constrict because of the chemical changes and the body can't get enough oxygen (even though it's there in the blood), and the pilot can become lightheaded and may even faint.

I wish I had read this news piece four months ago when Ewan Palmer of Newsweek wrote

The 18-year-old gave evidence for the first time on Wednesday in the divisive case, with the proceedings needing to take a break as Rittenhouse began hyperventilating while giving his testimony.

The defendant started crying while describing to the jury the circumstances that led up to him killing Joseph Rosenbaum in August 2020. Later that night, Rittenhouse also shot and killed Antony Huber and injured Gaige Grosskreutz during the Black Lives Matter protests in the Wisconsin city.

I would have pointed out the obvious, that the casual reference to Rittenhouse "hyperventilating," a case of diagnosis by media corporation, was bad journalism. "Appeared to cry" would have been responsible journalism. As a blogger of pinion, I would have suggested (without pretending to be an expert in psychology) that the likelihood that that Mr. Rittenhouse was sincerely sobbing was minimal.

While my first point was never debatable, the second, admittedly, was. But it is no longer, given the video of Rittenhouse which he approvingly posted (with a reference to his squabble with LeBron James):

It's not as if it will harm the killer's reputation at all because many people believed Rittenhouse's tears were real, and still do. Many of us already were dubious or even doubtful. Evil has been a human trait since the time of Cain, and continues to this day.

At least what once was fairly clear is now confirmed. The video posted by Rittenhouse is not from an individual feeling a sense of guilt, regret, or even sadness. It is from someone pleased at what he has done and who wants everyone to know he is.

It says something ugly about our jury system that Kim Potter, who did not intend to kill, is in prison while Kyle Rittenhouse, who did intend to kill, is free, a hero to one of our major political parties, and shouting "I was guilty, you fools." But that is an issue for a different day.


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