After a fight at Timberview High School, 18-year-old Timothy George Simpkins, who is black, shot another student four times, an English teacher once, just missing his aorta, and left one more student with a bullet graze. A pregnant teacher was also hurt in a fall.
The student shot in the arm, leg, chest, and stomach is currently in an induced coma, the English teacher who nearly died is recovering, and the expectant mother is reportedly alright. Don’t worry about Simpkins, though. He posted bail the day after the incident and strolled home in time for a surprise party that was broadcast over social media. His family even set up a GoFundMe account to raise $25,000 for his “trauma.” Simpkins’ mother claimed he had been the victim of bullying, implying his actions could somehow be considered self-defense, a narrative police have recently countered. “I am just saying that there is so much more to the story and all of the details should be known,” she wrote on the page before it was taken offline.
You can tell who is privileged in a society based on how they are treated—praised, blamed, excused, or condemned—not only by the institutions of law and order, but by the culture as well. In the United States, whites are supposedly perched atop the edifice of entitlement, sheltered by white privilege and white supremacy. But Simpkins’ case shows that’s not really true.
There is a stronger case that our institutions and culture support nonwhite privilege, or at least hold an antiwhite bias. For example, not only are white police officers less likely than black or Hispanic officers to shoot unarmed black suspects, but cops are three times less likely to shoot unarmed black suspects than unarmed white suspects.
The case of Kyle Rittenhouse is also illustrative when compared with Simpkins’. When Rittenhouse, who is white, shot three people in self-defense, killing two, during the 2020 riots in Kenosha, Wisconsin, the media and culture pushed lawmakers for maximum punishment. Rittenhouse, 17-years-old at the time, had arrived in Kenosha with a militia group that intended to protect property from rioters and looters—things law enforcement should have been doing.
Unlike Simpkins’ mother, Rittenhouse’s mother didn’t need to convince people that her son was a misunderstood but otherwise good boy; before the shooting, he volunteered to help clean up graffiti at a high school near the Kenosha County Courthouse. After the incident, he immediately turned himself over to the police—unlike Simpkins, who initially fled the scene.
Rather than a pregnant woman and a young English teacher, Rittenhouse’s assailants included an aggressive pedophile, Joseph Rosenbaum, and Anthony Huber, a vicious repeat domestic abuser. The third man, Gaige Grosskreutz, had approached Rittenhouse with a concealed handgun before trying to shoot him at point-blank range. Rittenhouse fired one round into his bicep, leaving him wounded but alive. Grosskreutz’s track record includes a conviction for being armed with a firearm while intoxicated. He’s also a member of The People’s Revolution, a Milwaukee-based militant group with ties to gangs and the local government.
A court set Rittenhouse’s bail at $2 million because it considered him a flight risk, compared with Simpkins’ $75,000. Again, one of these two surrendered himself to law enforcement. But no good deed goes unpunished for white boys, as a report on the 2020 Black Lives Matter riots funded by the State Department underlines. According to the report by the U.S. Crisis Monitor Project, 93 percent of BLM “protests” in the summer of last year were peaceful and the rare instances of violence were caused by right-wing agitators. It named Rittenhouse as an example.
A GoFundMe was created to support Rittenhouse’s legal needs, just as it was for Simpkins. However, not only was it swiftly taken offline, but prosecutors also demanded “that a judge force Kyle Rittenhouse’s defense team to turn over the names of everyone who donated to his legal funds or purchased the teen’s merchandise,” according to a court filing reviewed by Insider. They also demanded a list of names of donors so they can be barred from the jury pool. Jury selection for his trial is scheduled to begin Nov. 1 and will last about two weeks. Most recently, a Wisconsin judge refused to dismiss a weapons charge against Rittenhouse, while prosecutors and the media continue working hard to put him back in jail with a higher bond and ultimately secure a life sentence.
On the one hand, Simpkins will remain something of a celebrity for now, becoming a tragic product of “the system” if he is actually punished for his crime. On the other hand, our institutions have made Rittenhouse’s name synonymous with everything evil, even if he manages to walk free in the end; the sin of privilege already taints his exoneration, and it will, therefore, be an injustice.
All because Rittenhouse made the mistake of being born white.