ELDER: JFK and RFK on reparations

Author of the article:Larry Elder

Publishing date:May 30, 2021  

This Aug. 28, 1963 National Archives handout photo shows former U.S. president John F. Kennedy, right, and his brothers, former Attorney General and Senator Robert F. Kennedy, left, and Senator Edward Moore Kennedy, outside of the Oval Office at the White House, in Washington, D.C.
This Aug. 28, 1963 National Archives handout photo shows former U.S. president John F. Kennedy, right, and his brothers, former Attorney General and Senator Robert F. Kennedy, left, and Senator Edward Moore Kennedy, outside of the Oval Office at the White House, in Washington, D.C. PHOTO BY HANDOUT /AFP/Getty Images

When did the civil rights movement go off the rails?

The answer is when proponents went from justly demanding equal rights to unjustly demanding equal results. As to exactly when this occurred, that’s more difficult to answer. But consider statements, made five years apart, from the Kennedy brothers, John F. and Robert F.

Neither brother was asked about nor used the word “reparations.” But during an August 1963 press conference, a reporter asked President John Kennedy about “special dispensation” for Blacks: “Mr. President, some Negro leaders are saying that, like the Jews persecuted by the Nazis, the Negro is entitled to some kind of special dispensation for the pain of second-class citizenship over these many decades and generations. What is your view of that in general, and what is your view in particular on the specific point that they are recommending of job quotas by race?”

JFK replied: “I don’t think that is the generally held view, at least as I understand it, of the Negro community, that there is some compensation due for the lost years, particularly in the field of education.

“What I think they would like is to see their children well educated so that they could hold jobs and have their children accepted and have themselves accepted as equal members of the community. So I don’t think we can undo the past. In fact, the past is going to be with us for a good many years in uneducated men and women who lost their chance for a decent education. We have to do the best we can now. That is what we are trying to do. I don’t think quotas are a good idea. I think it is a mistake to begin to assign quotas on the basis of religion or race or color, or nationality.

“I think we get into a good deal of trouble. Our whole view of ourselves is a sort of one society. That has not been true. At least that is where we are trying to go. I think that we ought not to begin the quota system. On the other hand, I do think that we ought to make an effort to give a fair chance to everyone who is qualified, not through a quota, but just look over our employment rolls, look over our areas where we are hiring people, and at least make sure we are giving everyone a fair chance, but not hard and fast quotas. We are too mixed, this society of ours, to begin to divide ourselves on the basis of race or color.”

That same year, National Urban League Executive Director Whitney Young proposed a 10-year “domestic Marshall Plan” for Blacks to make up for past discrimination. His board of directors opposed it. The president of the Pittsburgh Urban League chapter said the public would ask: “What in blazes are these guys up to? They tell us for years that we must buy (nondiscrimination) and then they say, ‘It isn’t what we want.’”

Five years later, Sen. Robert Kennedy announced his candidacy for president. He said: “I run to seek new policies — policies to end the bloodshed in Vietnam and in our cities, policies to close the gaps that now exist between Black and white.”

“Policies to close the gaps that now exist between Black and white”? In 1940, 87% of Blacks lived below the poverty level. By 1960, that number dropped to 47%, a 40-point dropped in 20 years, the greatest 20 years of economic growth for Blacks in American history. Brown v. Board of Education, which struck down “separate but equal,” was not decided until 1954. This sharp decline in Black poverty preceded the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

John Kennedy was right. We cannot undo the past. But by teaching Blacks to see themselves as victims deserving of “reparations” from today’s white “oppressors,” we can certainly make the present and future worse.

LarryElder is a bestselling author and nationally syndicated radio talk show host.

ELDER: JFK and RFK on reparations | Toronto Sun


LILLEY: Trudeau claims racism when grilled about Chinese military scientists

Author of the article:Brian Lilley Publishing date:May 27, 2021  

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attends a news conference, as efforts continue to help slow the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada May 18, 2021.
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attends a news conference, as efforts continue to help slow the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada May 18, 2021. PHOTO BY BLAIR GABLE /REUTERS

You know that you’re on to something when Justin Trudeau throws around accusations of racism.

That’s where Erin O’Toole and the Conservatives found themselves on Wednesday as they asked questions about security at Canada’s top microbiology lab and the partnership with scientists tied to the Chinese military.

Apparently, in the eyes of the prime minister, asking what he’s doing to ensure espionage isn’t happening at Canada’s most dangerous and most secure lab is an anti-Asian hate crime.

“In order to work at the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg, you need a security clearance. In order to work with human pathogens, like Ebola, in that lab, you need a higher level of security clearance,” O’Toole said. “Can the prime minister tell this House, how a person with deep connections to the Chinese military obtained a high-level Canadian security clearance?”

Trudeau didn’t even attempt to answer the question but spoke about how he couldn’t comment on two scientists who were recently fired from the lab over security concerns first raised by CSIS. I think that given what takes place at the lab, Canadians deserve to know more about these two scientists but also about others, like Chinese military scientists, being given access.

That is what O’Toole was asking about.

As the Globe and Mail reported last week, there have been many collaborations between the NML in Winnipeg and researchers from China, many with ties to the government or military. Feihu Yan, a researcher with the People’s Liberation Army’s Academy of Military Medical Sciences, was cleared to work at the Level 4 facility, the only one of its kind in Canada.

Most Canadian scientists couldn’t get into that lab, but a scientist with the Chinese military was given clearance. Now two of the people he worked with, Dr. Xiangguo Qiu and her biologist husband, Keding Cheng, have been fired with claims that CSIS was concerned they were handing over intellectual property to the Chinese government and the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

These are the types of things that should be questioned, repeatedly, until real answers are given. Yet, as O’Toole and his fellow Conservative MPs raised questions, Trudeau became frustrated and resorted to claims of racism.

O’Toole used all five of his questions at the beginning of question period to ask Trudeau about increasing security at the lab, ensuring that people with ties to China’s People’s Liberation Army were not given access and more. Each time, Trudeau gave the vaguest of answers and when other Conservative MPs joined the fray, he accused the party of racism.

“Will he bar scientists who are sent here from the Chinese government and the Chinese military from accessing sensitive Canadian research facilities?” Conservative MP Michael Barrett asked.

Trudeau responded that the government takes security seriously before launching his broadside.

“We will not give in to pandering to anti-Asian racism. We have seen enough of a rise in intolerance across the country these past months. We need to continue to stand strong in supporting diversity,” Trudeau said.

Here’s a message for Trudeau, diversity doesn’t include allowing China’s military into labs that we won’t allow most Canadian scientists and researchers into. Diversity doesn’t include letting China steal Canada’s secrets, or worse, material that could be used for biological weapons.

Trudeau made the same claim of racism against Conservative MPs Pierre Paul-Hus and Candice Bergen.

“I am not surprised the prime minister just hurls insults of racism, it’s his usual tactic,” Bergen said after Trudeau’s smear.

Sadly, she’s right.

We have a real issue of security to deal with here, two scientists with a long tenure at the NML, with access to the most sensitive of materials, have been fired over national security concerns. We have Chinese military scientists with access to this same material and Trudeau’s reply is to equate this to a hate crime, a beating in the street.

Trudeau is not a serious man and not fit to be the leader of a G7 nation. His answers to these most delicate questions only prove that.


Canadian Doctor Defies Gag Order – Tells Public How Moderna COVID Shots Killed and Disabled Patients

Published April 26, 2021


Soldier who called on troops to refuse vaccine distribution faces mutiny related charge

Officer Cadet Ladislas Kenderesi was charged with one count of ‘endeavoring to persuade another person to join in a mutiny’Author of the article:David Pugliese  •  Ottawa CitizenPublishing date:May 25, 2021  •  5 hours ago  •  3 minute read

A Canadian Forces member, introduced by organizers of an anti-lockdown rally as Leslie Kenderesi speaks at the gathering in Toronto.
A Canadian Forces member, introduced by organizers of an anti-lockdown rally as Leslie Kenderesi speaks at the gathering in Toronto. PHOTO BY SCREENSHOT FROM YOUTUBE VIDEO /jpg

A soldier who called on his fellow military personnel to refuse helping with the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines has been charged with an offence related to mutiny.

It’s believed to be the first time in decades that the Canadian military has laid such a charge.

Officer Cadet Ladislas Kenderesi was charged with one count of “endeavoring to persuade another person to join in a mutiny,” an offence under the National Defence Act. Kenderesi was also charged with one count of behaving in a scandalous manner unbecoming of an officer.

The charges were laid May 12 by the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service, defence officials told this newspaper.

Kenderesi had appeared at an anti-lockdown rally in December in Toronto dressed in his Canadian Forces uniform and speaking out about the COVID-19 vaccine, claiming it was a “killer.”

He called on military personnel not to be involved in government plans to distribute the vaccine. “I’m asking military, right now serving, truck drivers, medical, engineers, whatever you are, do not take this unlawful order (for) the distribution of this vaccine,” Kenderesi said at the rally. A video of his speech was posted on YouTube.

Kenderesi, who had a civilian hunting knife strapped to his Canadian Forces uniform and was carrying a non-Canadian helmet, questioned the safety of the vaccine.

“I might get in a lot of s— for doing this, but I don’t care anymore,” he said.

The crowd cheered his speech.

Department of National Defence spokesman Dan Le Bouthillier said the charges will proceed through the military justice system. OCdt Kenderesi was removed from performance of military duties following the December, 2020, incident,” Le Bouthillier said.

Kenderesi is a member of the Reserve Cadet Instructor Cadre in Borden, ON, according to the Canadian Forces.

Kenderesi’s supporters filmed military officials reading the charges against him and posted that to a GoFundMe page for the officer cadet. The page noted Kenderesi “was charged on May 12, 2021, for speaking out against the experimental gene therapy on Dec. 5 at the human rights assembly at Dundas Square in Toronto.”

The page also stated that Kenderesi faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted, but defence sources say such punishment is highly unlikely.

Kenderesi is also featured in the GoFundMe page video before meeting with Canadian Forces officials. “I’m just saying a small prayer for myself, and a prayer for Canada and Canadians, that hopefully my efforts and what I have done is not in vain,” he stated in that video.

The GoFundMe initiative is to collect money for Kenderesi’s legal battle.

Le Bouthillier said if he desires, Kenderesi has access at no cost to a lawyer provided by the Department of National Defence. “While the charges have been laid, it is currently in the referral process and no court martial has been scheduled,” he added.

Ottawa lawyer Michel Drapeau said the laying of a charge related to mutiny is unheard of in the Canadian Forces in modern times. “You would likely have to go back to the late 1940s in the Royal Canadian Navy for anything that might be similar,” said Drapeau, a retired colonel who specializes in military law.

His book, Military Justice in Action, noted three incidents involving widespread protests against military leadership in the late 1940s. In those cases, Canadian sailors rebelled against incompetent leadership and poor conditions on ships, but the navy avoided using the official term of mutiny. But military personnel were charged and received jail sentences.

“An initial search through files in the past 20 years has not found any charges related to endeavoring to persuade another person to join in a mutiny,” Le Bouthillier added.

Organizers of the anti-lockdown rally claimed Kenderesi had served in a variety of units and was qualified as a tank driver, machine-gunner and was skilled in hand-to-hand combat.

He was introduced as “the original Canadian patriot” and an officer cadet with 25 years of experience.

The Cadet Instructors Cadre is part of the Cadet Organizations Administration and Training Service, a sub-component of the Reserve Force. The primary responsibility of CIC officers is the supervision, administration and training of cadets ranging in age from 12 to 18.

Organizers of the rally said Kenderesi was on medical leave from the Canadian Forces at the time he spoke.

Kenderesi remains in the military “pending the outcome of the charges,” the Canadian Forces noted.

Shortly after the rally in December, Canadian Forces officials retrieved Kenderesi’s uniform and military issued equipment.

Soldier who called on troops to refuse vaccine distribution faces mutiny related charge | National Post

Province reports 1st death related to VITT blood-clotting syndrome

Arwen~ Reported today, one month after he died from VITT from taking the “vaccine”. A little late in reporting as that would put a damper on the push for everyone getting the jab. Truth be told, we have no idea how many have died from the jab and are just labeled COVID deaths. An epidemiologist from Yale stated that according to his counterparts reporting, 60% of those currently in ICU had taken the jab. The push is now on for youth, who do not even need parental permission in Ontario. Many should be charged with crimes against humanity in what they have been complicit in concerning C-19.


Posted May 25, 2021 3:17 pm EDT

Last Updated May 25, 2021 at 3:34 pm EDTFILE – In this Monday, March 22, 2021 file photo medical staff prepares an AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine during preparations at the vaccine center in Ebersberg near Munich, Germany. The European Commission says it has launched legal action against vaccine maker AstraZeneca for failing to respect the terms of its contract with the EU. A Commission spokesman said Monday, April 26, 2021 that the reason for the legal action was that “some terms of the contract have not been respected” and that “the company has not been in a position to come up with a reliable strategy to ensure a timely delivery of doses.” The AstraZeneca vaccine has been central to Europe’s immunization campaign, but the slow pace of deliveries has frustrated the Europeans. AstraZeneca has previously said that its contract with the EU contained vaccine delivery targets, not firm commitments.(AP Photo/Matthias Schrader, File)

Ontario has confirmed the first death related to Vaccine-Induced Thrombotic Thrombocytopenia (VITT), an extremely rare blood clotting syndrome and side effect connected to the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Associate Medical Officer of Health Dr. Barbara Yaffe says the man, in his 40s, died after receiving a first dose of the vaccine in late April.

There have been 16 reported cases of a blood clot in Ontario out of approximately 850,000 doses administered province-wide.

The risk of VITT in Canada has been estimated to be approximately 1 per 55,000 first doses, but several possible cases are still under investigation.

Ontario is no longer offering AstraZeneca as a first dose but will administer it as a second shot as the risk of developing the side effect is much lower, around 1 in 600,000.

Early data from the United Kingdom affirms that, suggesting that the risk of VITT after second doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine is likely lower than after the first doses.

The blood clotting syndrome linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine is extremely rare but can be fatal.

In mid-May, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams said the decision to no longer offer AstraZeneca as a first shot was made as the province receives larger shipments of other vaccines, such as Pfizer and Moderna.

Williams said last week that those who got their first dose of AstraZeneca between March 10 and March 19 during a pilot project at some pharmacies and doctors’ offices will be prioritized for the second dose.

Justin Bates, CEO of the Ontario Pharmacists Association, said on Tuesday that “a few” Toronto pharmacies will receive vaccine supply today with the vast majority receiving their doses on Wednesday.

Bates says pharmacists will reach out to eligible patients who can then start booking appointments as early as Wednesday and Thursday.

Martel on Prince Harry

“Recently Prince Harry described the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States as “bonkers”; setting aside a moment his arrogance in casting judgement on the constitution of a country where is a guest but not, as yet, a citizen, his statement simply confirms that he sees freedom of speech and the freedom of the press as a threat to his power and his privilege and his wish to lead a life in the public eye without being subject to any form of scrutiny. 

Someone ought to sit him down on his pampered and entitled arse and inform him that with power and privilege comes both responsibility and scrutiny, though given his myopic stupidity it may have to be explained to him in words of one syllable.”

Envy and ignorance – why the Left hate Israel

ByAndrew Devine

-May 24, 2021

WHENEVER I discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with western Leftists who believe Israel is an illegitimate state, I’m shocked at their ignorance of basic historical facts. Most Leftists believe that before the 1947 UN Partition Plan for British Mandatory Palestine there was a country called Palestine inhabited by mostly Arab Muslim Palestinians, and that it was stolen by Jews emigrating from Europe.   

I always ask Leftists why the Arabs of Palestine should be granted two states comprising the entirety of historic Palestine but the Jews of Palestine shouldn’t have a sliver of the land for themselves? Almost always, the Israel-haters will look confused. It’s new information for them to be told that Jordan was the first Arab state carved out of British Mandatory Palestine in 1921.  

The 1947 UN Partition Plan involved creating a second state out of British Mandatory Palestine that again comprised mostly Arab Muslims and a minority of Arab Christians. There was also going to be a small Jewish state where there has been a Jewish presence long before Arabs left Arabia and spread Islam via the sword across the Middle East, north Africa and beyond. Israel rightly accepted this plan. The Arabs of Palestine and the wider Arab world rejected it, which led to the 1948-49 Arab-Israeli war. 

Even if your average Leftist concedes that there was a Jewish presence in Palestine before the arrival of Arabs, he or she will assert that the current Arab population have been there longer than the majority of Jews who arrived from Europe or elsewhere over the last century.  While the Jewish presence did grow significantly through  inward migration to Palestine during the 19th and 20th century, it is also a fact that many of today’s Palestinians are themselves of immigrant stock, having arrived from other parts of the Arab world during the same period.  

Palestinian leaders themselves have admitted that Palestinian nationalism is a recent invention and motivated by Arab imperialism that cannot countenance a tiny Jewish state in its midst. In 1977 senior PLO official Zahir Muhsein stated:

‘The Palestinian people do not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct “Palestinian people” to oppose Zionism.’

More recently in 2012, the senior Hamas figure Fathi Hammad told Egypt’s Al Hekma TV: ‘Every Palestinian, in Gaza and throughout Palestine, can prove his Arab roots whether from Saudi Arabia, from Yemen or anywhere.’

If Arab migrants and the descendants of these Arab migrants within the region of Palestine are entitled to a Palestinian state, Jewish migrants and their descendants have an equal right to self-determination in a homeland of their own. Unless, of course, our Leftist fanatical Israel-haters are arguing that one set of migrants should be treated very differently because of their religion and ethnicity. In most cases I don’t think your average Leftist is making this argument. They are just ignorant of the complex history of the region, but at the same time worryingly incapable of accepting such facts when presented to them.  

The most glaring double standard the Left applies to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is related to matters of defence. Hamas quite regularly fire rockets at Israeli civilians, but the Iron Dome anti-missile system is able effectively to deal with most rockets if the numbers are low. In these instances, Israel doesn’t retaliate and they rarely make the news. However, the recent large-scale rocket attacks initiated by Hamas against Israeli civilians did lead to deaths and casualties and so Israel responded. It is well established that Hamas launch their attacks from within densely populated civilian areas to maximise casualties resulting from retaliation for propaganda purposes. Under international law it is a war crime to use your civilian population in this way. Before they launch a retaliatory attack on a given building, the IDF (Israel Defence Forces) send text messages, make phone calls and drop leaflets warning civilians to flee. Their intention is not to harm civilians and they do all they can to avoid it. Hamas on the other hand intentionally target Israeli civilians. As tragic and upsetting as it is to see innocent Palestinians killed in a retaliatory airstrike, the Left ignore the fact that the IDF try to prevent it. They reserve their outrage for Israel and their compassion for the Palestinians. You will never see a western Leftist on a march protesting about the intentional killing of Israeli civilians. When you ask them how many Israeli citizens should Israel allow to die by ignoring sustained, large-scale rocket attacks, they either won’t answer you or will show their true colours by arguing that the Palestinians have been pushed into a corner and it’s inevitable they will fight back. The reason Hamas are not criticised to the same extent, or indeed not criticised at all, is because there is an underlying assumption by many people on the Left that as Israel is an ‘illegitimate state’ it deserves to be attacked and as such has no right to defend itself. Hamas, who have substantial support in Gaza and the West Bank, openly state that they want to eradicate all Jews in Israel. The Left like to proclaim their opposition to fascism and racism and calling anyone who disagrees with them Nazis yet they completely ignore the fact that Islamo-Fascism and a genocidal hatred of Jews is rife among many Palestinians. Were Israel to ignore this fact it would be suicide. Why would a people who were almost eradicated from the face of the earth less than a century ago not want to do all they can to protect themselves from a second Shoah?  

When Leftists attend anti-Israeli demonstrations in the West and chant ‘From the river to the sea Palestine will be free’, they are regurgitating a genocidal Islamist slogan that refers to Israel being free of its Jews. This is not the slogan of a two-state solution supported by moderate Palestinians and Israelis.

Apart from the historical ignorance, there are other factors that motivate such visceral hatred towards Israel from the Left. Israel is a successful capitalist country and its largely Jewish population, one of the world’s most ancient and historically oppressed minority groups, reject Neo-Marxist identity politics and instead focus on hard work and being global leaders in many industries. Neo-Marxists and woke centrists don’t like minorities that refuse to participate in the intersectional oppression Olympics.  

Israel is also a staunch ally of the United States, a state despised as a bastion of white supremacy and Islamophobia by the Left. 

Finally, when they are attacked by Islamist terrorists the Israelis fight back. The Left and the biased western media can’t stand this. Unlike weak, supine western countries who prostrate themselves before radical Islam, Israel refuses to do so. Don’t the Israelis know that the politically correct response to terror attacks against your own civilians involves blaming yourself and people holding hands at candle-lit vigils while clutching teddy bears and belting out some anodyne song about love conquering hate? Sure, one day in some idealised future love may well conquer hate, but in the here and now it’s ineffective at neutralising a crazed Islamist on a stabbing spree or deflecting a rocket launched at a synagogue.

Envy and ignorance – why the Left hate Israel | The Conservative Woman

The day American justice died



Bret Weinstein is an evolutionary biologist, podcaster and Visiting Fellow in the James Madison Program at Princeton. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

May 24, 2021

While the repercussions of George Floyd’s death have echoed across the world, its most profound significance has been felt inside America — albeit for an entirely un-American reason.

It will have been a year tomorrow, May 25, since Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin placed his knee on the neck of 46-year-old Floyd — and, in doing so, changed the course of history. Our natural human tendency on such an anniversary is to reflect with generosity on the life lost and to resist, for the moment at least, the equally human instinct to obsess on the forces that deprived that person of life.

But in this case we cannot afford that luxury, nor would it be possible if we tried. George Floyd was just a man. The facts of his life are indeed tragic, but they are also mundane. Yet he has been so valourised in death, and the events of his demise so mythologised, that meaningful attempts to reflect on his life by people who only became aware of his existence after he was gone are futile. He is, like the falling man of 9/11, confined to the reality and context of his exit.

Much of the same can also be said of Derek Chauvin. He was just a cop, ordinary by every measure, involved in an arrest that went wrong — also not uncommon. In fact, the event would not have come to the world’s attention were it not for the colour of Floyd’s skin, and the racially charged historical moment in which the event took place.

In this era of racial hyper-awareness, bystanders who saw a white police officer kneeling on the neck of a black man made every effort to document the injustice they believed they were witnessing, as well they should have. We now use cameras worn by officers to disincentivise both police misconduct and false claims of it. More camera footage can only increase our understanding of an interaction; so these citizens, even if they could not save George Floyd, were potentially in a position to help others down the line.

But in this case, the extra cameras didn’t add information. Rather, in an odd way, they seem to have had the opposite effect. The citizen-cameras began filming late in the sequence of events, effectively editing out context that only later emerged in the officers’ body-cam footage — long after the bystanders’ videos had been broadcast to the world, and to an American public primed to see anti-black police violence. The full context of what happened that day — every exculpatory fact — faced an uphill battle to overcome the public’s overwhelming sense that they had been witnesses to a racially motivated murder.

Keep in mind that this was utterly unanticipated by the structure of the American legal system. Our founders, brilliant and perceptive as they were, could not have imagined a scenario in which hundreds of millions of Americans genuinely believed that they had seen a notorious crime that, for most of them, took place hundreds of miles away. Nor could they have anticipated the effect of a nation coming to such a conclusion on Twitter and Facebook, with Google’s search algorithm acting as Deus Ex Machina.

Yes, they could and did fear deranged mobs — but surely imagined nothing on the scale of the protests and riots that unfolded in the wake of George Floyd’s death, with a global pandemic serving as the backdrop. Every American with access to a television or the internet had an opinion on Floyd’s death, as well as plenty of reason to fear what would erupt if Chauvin was, to any significant degree, exonerated. The trial, therefore, should have been moved, but there is no place in the United States — almost no place left on Earth — where the trial could have been held that would have freed it from the mass rush to judgement that had already taken place.

In some sense, of course, the public were witnesses to something, and it could have been a racially charged murder. Yet we must never proceed from such assumptions. For no matter how obvious a person’s guilt may seem, we must demand that the state be ready to go through the formal exercise of publicly proving guilt, to reasonable people with no stake in the matter, so that no substantial doubts remain. It seems to me that, in this case, we failed in our obligation; we collectively leapt to a conclusion based on an incomplete review of evidence. From then on, we allowed ourselves to presume we knew the truth.

This may all seem like a minor quibble. If, after all the evidence has been aired, I can still say that Chauvin might be guilty of the crimes for which he has been convicted, then why dwell on such technicalities as the presumption of innocence and the burden and standard of proof?

The answer is straightforward: because that presumption, burden and standard are woven into the fabric of America, and because they have been among our most important exports. If we surrender the principle that these structures guard, if we tear down the tremendous obstacles our founders built to protect citizens from the state, where does it leave the rest of us?

Derek Chauvin is not a textbook case of an innocent man falsely accused of a crime he did not commit. It was him; his actions are not in dispute. But though his role in the events is well-known, his impact on the functioning of George Floyd’s heart is much less clear, and his deepest motivations remain a mystery. It seems to me, therefore, a textbook case of reasonable doubt. Not only are there reasons to question Chauvin’s guilt, but it is hard to imagine how an impartial jury, following standard instructions, could have escaped that conclusion.

Derek Chauvin may have caused George Floyd’s death, but the established medical facts alone would seem to preclude certainty. According to the coroner’s report, Floyd suffered from “cardiopulmonary arrest”; he had “severe arteriosclerotic heart disease” and “hypertensive heart disease”, and had recently recovered from Covid-19, a destructive cardiovascular condition (even in asymptomatic patients).

He had fentanyl and methamphetamine in his system, a potentially lethal combination. He was obviously agitated; he physically struggled with police with enough determination to prevent them from putting him in the back of a vehicle. During a prior and very similar arrest he was hospitalised, leading to concerns about the possibility that his agitation would cause him to have a spontaneous heart attack. He complained of an inability to breathe before he was ever put on the ground.

So why did the jury convict on all counts? And how did they arrive at their decision so quickly? The probable answer is disturbing, and has deep implications for justice in America.

Chauvin, it seems, was pre-judged — exactly the thing our system of jurisprudence was designed to prevent. And I don’t mean this in abstract terms: the jury’s unusual rush to judgement was also manifest in almost every conversation I had about Floyd’s death with people who would normally have retained the formality of saying Chauvin was “accused of”, “suspected of” or “charged with” murder. In this case, however, people simply insisted that Chauvin was guilty of murder.

Perhaps even more unsettling was how this sense of prejudgment was mirrored in the many claims of victory by protestors, rioters and their prominent supporters who, following the verdict, were quick to take credit for forcing the outcome. In other words, they sought to influence the jury’s verdict, and were sure that they had.

Until recently in America, it was understood that, even when the facts made a person’s guilt seem inescapable, the accused was formally innocent right up until the moment that they were convicted by an impartial jury of their peers. And conviction in America was no small formality. Our founders bent over backwards to give the accused the absolute benefit of even a single, reasonable doubt.

That counterintuitive structure of our legal system, burdening the state and arming the defence, exists for a crucial reason: to protect citizens from the vast power of the state and its frightening capacity to usurp liberty. But America allowed itself to skip the formalities when it came to Derek Chauvin; we all knew, thanks to a shocking video, what had happened before any of the considerable exculpatory context was known.

Stacking the deck in favour of the accused is not a perfect solution. It doesn’t always work, and when it does the results can be decidedly unjust. But that strong preference for freeing the guilty over incarcerating the innocent is arguably the most civilised thing about us. The fact that it actually structures the proceedings in all our criminal courts, and that it has for two and a half centuries, is proof of our conviction in the lofty promises of our founding documents. It is the principle on which we must agree, and to which we must aspire. Indeed, to surrender it would lead us quickly backward, to a much more primitive and brutal society.

And here with this trial we seem to have taken the first step. We, collectively, have relaxed the most fundamental rule. Today, if the mob is convinced and motivated enough, their cause becomes the righteous one. Whether jurors accede to this out of fear for their own safety, or out of fear of the damage that may be done to innocent people if their verdict reignites violence, or because they are convinced by the mob that there is some higher principle whose value exceeds their duty to the accused, it must not stand. The will of the mob has no place in court. Likewise, no conviction that emerges from a mob-influenced court can be legitimate.

For as hard and uncomfortable as it may be to accept, the best chance that men like George Floyd have is a justice system so impartial and robust that it can protect people like Derek Chauvin. That is what is now in jeopardy.

Liberty is precious. It is not a privilege granted by the state; it is a right of every citizen, and the power to deprive a person of it carries with it an immense moral burden to ensure that their guilt is “beyond a reasonable doubt”. That is our Founding Fathers’ brilliant insight; that is the wisdom we now find endangered.

And so the conviction of Derek Chauvin sets a disturbing precedent. Today, when people are angry enough to demand something — when they are willing to march and burn and disrupt and intimidate — their understanding of events becomes gospel, and a trial is just one more tool at their disposal. The right to a fair trial is suddenly turned into a mere privilege — something that is only guaranteed so long as the mob isn’t against you.

America’s founders were a living paradox: though upstanding statesmen of wealth and privilege, they were obsessed with the rights that protect the powerless. And it is the powerless — the downtrodden, oppressed and marginalised — who will suffer most if we renounce these protections. If we allow exceptions to our once-universal commitment to the rights of the accused, if we agree that prejudice has a legitimate role inside our courts, the greatest burden is sure to fall on populations that face the most prejudice outside our courts. In America, at least, it is safe to assume that the lives that will be worst-harmed will be black lives.

A year on from Floyd’s death, it is not the frightening tyranny of the state to which we have surrendered, nor is it the mob’s terrifying thirst for vengeance. Rather, it is a combination of the two: the desperation that justice would be delivered to a man whom they believed so depraved that he was willing to rob another of his life while the world watched on.

The day American justice died – UnHerd

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