Young Pawns

Kyle Rittenhouse, Dylann Roof, James Alex Fields Jr., you sorry shits, you don’t even know that you’ve been used and when your usefulness is over, the leopard will eat your faces and nobody will visit you or care about you or even remember you while you waste the rest of your lives in prison.

Between the three of you, you have killed 12 innocent people. You have played the role of pawn in a game and you don’t even know whose making the rules of this game that is orchestrated by the rich and powerful, the white elites, like Donald Trump and his cronies. You three are like so many pieces of disposable flotsam who have turned to violence while you scratch for crumbs, proving that the politicians were right to pit you against people of color.

Many have benefited from your actions, starting with Trump, who fortunately for the world, will be the president for just another 53 days. You helped every Republican Trumpian politician who campaigned on promoting racial, religious and ethnic violence and you believed they would be your savior and you helped pour advertising money into the pockets of rightwing media, like Fox and Breitbart.

The expression, “the leopard will eat your faces,” is making the Internet rounds and it means that those who you worshiped and followed will eventually be your ruin. It refers to those regretful voters who vote for cruel and unjust policies and politicians and are then shocked when they are swept away and their own lives become worse as a result.

You were sick of being looked at as a poor white trash motherfucker who nobody cared about and you were hoodwinked to believe that a rich, white real estate tycoon could have your best interests in mind. You were convinced that this poseur was going to stand up for you and be with you on the battleground of hatred and racism when all he wanted was to use you to help sow fear into those who he hoped would reward him with reelection.

You heard the call for violence and it will end your own lives. You were among the millions who cheered while governmental programs to help the poor were cut and they suddenly found their own health care was cut or they were dispossessed or shipped away as the leopard ate their faces.

It is not a new story as the powerful elite has been pitting the poor against the less poor in an effort to keep both from seeing the real oppressor.

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke about this well-planned strategy to his white jailers in Alabama on Feb. 4, 1968.

“And then we got down one day to the point — that was the second or third day — to talk about where they lived, and how much they were earning. And when those brothers told me what they were earning, I said, ‘Now, you know what? You ought to be marching with us. You’re just as poor as Negroes.’ And I said, ‘You are put in the position of supporting your oppressor, because, through prejudice and blindness, you fail to see that the same forces that oppress Negroes in American society oppress poor white people. And all you are living on is the satisfaction of your skin being white, and the drum major instinct of thinking that you are somebody big because you are white. And you’re so poor you can’t send your children to school. You ought to be out here marching with every one of us every time we have a march.’”

Roof, at 21, you are the oldest of the three, followed by Fields, who is a ripe 20 and Rittenhouse, the baby of the group at 17.

Rittenhouse, from the small town of Antioch, Ill., not far from Chicago, is charged with fatally shooting two men and injuring a third with his AR-15 automatic rifle during a protest in Kenosha, Wis., in late August. He was ordered on Monday to stand trial after a judge rejected a motion to dismiss the charges.

The protests exploded after Jacob Blake, an African-American man, was shot four times in the back by a Kenosha police officer on Aug. 23. Rittenhouse joined with other white supremacists who claimed they arrived to protect the white businesses from the protesters.

Rittenhouse, you have a smooth face, a baby-face, you have a slight moustache but otherwise you look like you ever barely need a shave. I assume you are like I was at 17, barely out of high school, lacking in much direction and having little to no self-knowledge as you and I searched for role models. The wolves were ready to pounce on you and you were desperate to show you are a man.

Rittenhouse, you have had many people cheering your on and raising your bail but none of them will rot in prison like you will. You even got the president of the United States to tweet that you may have acted in self-defense.

James Fields, you deliberately drove your car into a crowd of people who were peacefully protesting a far right rally in Charlottesville, Va., on Aug. 12, 2017. You killed one person and injured 19.

Dylann Roof, you traveled from your home in beautiful Shelby, N.C., on June 17, 2015, to attend a Bible study before you shot and killed nine African Americans at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C.

You three young men have flushed your lives down the toilet to the benefit of powerful rulers who you will never know. Bob Dylan wrote about the same things in his 1964 song, “Only a Pawn in their Game.”

“A bullet from the back of a bush

Took Medgar Evers’ blood

A finger fired the trigger to his name

A handle hid out in the dark

A hand set the spark

Two eyes took the aim

Behind a man’s brain

But he can’t be blamed

He’s only a pawn in their game

A South politician preaches to the poor white man

“You got more than the blacks, don’t complain

You’re better than them, you been born with white skin, “ they explain

And the Negro’s name

Is used, it is plain

For the politician’s gain

As he rises to fame

And the poor white remains

On the caboose of the train

But it ain’t him to blame

He’s only a pawn in their game

The deputy sheriffs, the soldiers, the governors get paid

And the marshals and cops get the same

But the poor white man’s used in the hands of them all like a tool

He’s taught in his school

From the start by the rule

That the laws are with him

To protect his white skin

To keep up his hate

So he never thinks straight

‘Bout the shape that he’s in

But it ain’t him to blame

He’s only a pawn in their game

From the poverty shacks, he looks from the cracks to the tracks

And the hoofbeats pound in his brain

And he’s taught how to walk in a pack

Shoot in the back

With his fist in a clinch

To hang and to lynch

To hide ‘neath the hood

To kill with no pain

Like a dog on a chain

He ain’t got no name

But it ain’t him to blame

He’s only a pawn in their game

Today, Medgar Evers was buried from the bullet he caught

They lowered him down as a king

But when the shadowy sun sets on the one

That fired the gun

He’ll see by his grave

On the stone that remains

Carved next to his name

His epitaph plain

Only a pawn in their game.”



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Phil Garber

Phil Garber

Journalist for 40 years and now a creative writer