By: Mark Glennon*
What’s remarkable is how much is packed into a film just 30-minutes long. It’s The Broken Boys of Kenosha: Jacob Blake, Kyle Rittenhouse, and the Lies We Still Live By.
Its relevance to Illinois goes beyond what’s covered in the film, and the consequences of the story it tells are still playing out.
It starts with a long overdue shredding of the astonishing lies told — still widely believed — about the shooting of a black man, Jacob Blake, by a white Racine, Wisconsin police officer in the summer of 2020. Blake, unarmed, was shot multiple times in the back as he was trying to get into his car after a domestic disturbance — or so America was told repeatedly by the media and many politicians.
But the truth is entirely different. The officer was cleared by both Wisconsin authorities and the the U.S. Justice Department during the Biden Administration, for the reasons the film lays out.
The false version of Blake’s shooting sparked the riots in Kenosha three days later in which Rittenhouse shot three rioters. A surprise in the film may be the common denominator it identifies among Blake, Rittenhouse, one who was shot by Rittenhouse and countless other young men. I prefer to leave to the movie the story of what they have in common.
Not expressly covered in the film, but easily inferred, are the repercussions for Illinois. The lies about the Blake shooting and Rittenhouse contributed to lawlessness in Chicago, just as they did in Kenosha.
More importantly, they helped wrongly inflame the hostility toward police and leniency toward criminals that now prevails. Among the results is Illinois’ new, misguided SAFE-T Act. Even after recent amendments, that law includes at least two new, toxic-to-police provisions. It mandates that police decertification complaints to the state be made anonymously and strips the requirement of a sworn affidavit for local police misconduct complaints.
I kept thinking, as I watched the film, of another recent short one that’s equally superb. It’s What Killed Michael Brown by Chicago native Shelby Steele and his son, Eli. Brown was the black man shot by a white policeman in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014. That shooting sparked national protests against police, the “hands up, don’t shoot” slogan and much of the Black Lives Matter movement.
But that shooting, too, was completely falsified and misreported. A grand jury and the Obama Justice Department cleared the police of any wrongdoing. “The language—he was ‘executed,’ he was ‘assassinated,’ ‘hands up, don’t shoot’—it was a stunning example of poetic truth, of the lies that a society can entertain in pursuit of power,” Shelby Steele said. “There are blacks today, right now in Ferguson, as I point out in the film, who still truly believe that Michael Brown was killed out of racial animus,” he said. “In a microcosm, that’s where race relations are today. The truth has no chance. It’s smothered by the politics of victimization.”
The true importance the Brown shooting, as the Steele film shows, is its value as a metaphor for what really killed Brown and so many others, which is the culture in which they are brought up.https://wirepoints.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/broken-boys3-1-30... 300w, https://wirepoints.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/broken-boys3-1-10... 1024w, https://wirepoints.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/broken-boys3-1-76... 768w, https://wirepoints.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/broken-boys3-1-15... 1536w, https://wirepoints.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/broken-boys3-1-69... 696w, https://wirepoints.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/broken-boys3-1-13... 1392w, https://wirepoints.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/broken-boys3-1-10... 1068w, https://wirepoints.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/broken-boys3-1-73... 730w, https://wirepoints.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/broken-boys3-1-14... 1460w" sizes="(max-width: 320px) 100vw, 320px" />
The same goes for the Broken Boys of Kenosha.
Its story is a metaphor for the real answers, in Illinois and everywhere.
Watch it free here on Youtube.
*Mark Glennon is founder of Wirepoints.