Fox News’ Tucker Carlson defended the actions of the white teenager charged with killing two protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin, stating Wednesday that the armed vigilante acted to “maintain order when no one else would.”
“Those in charge, from the governor on down, refused to enforce the law,” Carlson told viewers of “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” amid reports that the suspect had a history of idolizing police and supported Donald Trump. “They’ve stood back and watched Kenosha burn. Are we really surprised that looting and arson accelerated to murder?”
He added, “How shocked are we that 17-year-olds with rifles decided they had to maintain order when no one else would?”
For months, conservatives of all stripes—from the president to senators in the opinion pages of the New York Times—have called for “law and order” forces to shut down the racial justice protests that have continued in the wake of George Floyd’s killing in May. Those calls continued this week as protests broke out in response to yet another police shooting of a Black man, this time Jacob Blake, whom police shot multiple times in front of his young sons on Sunday as Blake attempted to enter a car.
As my colleague Nathalie Baptiste writes, “law and order” isn’t meant for everyone:
As this era of pervasive corruption, state-sanctioned violence, and a pandemic that’s killed nearly 180,000 people makes abundantly clear, the harshest punishments for violating “law and order” are only doled out to certain people in certain places. When Trump and other right-wingers say they want “law and order,” they’re really sending a signal—less a dogwhistle than a bullhorn—to the other people guided by white supremacy: Break any law you want to maintain the current order.
So in some ways, Carlson is correct: Many of us aren’t shocked. Those who have watched a president relentlessly promote violence against protesters while sending federal agents to crack down on peaceful demonstrations predicted that such incitement could motivate armed vigilante groups to take action. For Carlson and his ilk, 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, who allegedly used a semi-automatic weapon to shoot three protesters, two fatally, delivered the “law and order” they’ve been clamoring for.
Tucker Carlson: "How shocked are we that 17 year olds with rifles decided they had to maintain order when no one else would?" pic.twitter.com/6jf59YW60U
— Brendan Karet 🚮 (@bad_takes) August 27, 2020