The South Dakota attorney general who admits to striking and killing a man with his car has shown zero empathy toward the victim and the victim's family while exhibiting a politician's propensity for trying to save his own skin.
This is the same state that produced former Gov. Bill Janklow, so we should expect nothing less. Janklow, a tour de force in South Dakota politics for decades and once the state's attorney general, in 2003 blew through a stop sign going an estimated 70 miles per hour and killed a motorcyclist. Janklow said he was sorry, but sought to absolve himself of responsibility every step of the legal process before being convicted of manslaughter.
"I'm sorry, but ...," was Janklow's mantra.
Jason Ravnsborg, the current attorney general, is headed down the same path.
Is it too much to expect empathy over political survival?
Ravnsborg admits to hitting and killing Joseph Boever, 55, of Highmore, S.D., along U.S. Highway 14 at about 10:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 12. Ravnsborg was driving from a Republican event in Redfield back to his home in Pierre. Boever's family believes Boever was walking to his pickup, which was in a ditch outside Highmore.
Ravnsborg has steadfastly said he wasn't drinking and believes he hit a deer. He also said he immediately called 911.
What Ravsnborg hasn't said is whether he swerved onto the shoulder, presumably where Boever was walking, or whether he'd fallen asleep or was looking at his phone. A man doesn't dart in front of a car moving 65-75 miles per hour like a deer would.
Every step taken by Ravnsborg and the state Republican party, including Gov. Kristi Noem, has been to cover their rear ends. Noem held a press conference and Ravnsborg released a statement expressing sorrow to the victim's family late Sunday afternoon — at least two hours before Boever's family identified his body.
Noem's press briefing — she has the 2024 presidential race in her sights — and Ravnsborg's statement were pure politics, minus any humanity. Ravnsborg was literally saying he was sorry to an anonymous family.
An astounding two-page statement Monday by Ravnsborg in which he admitted to discovering Boever's body Sunday morning was even more self-serving. It also reeked of insider corruption with the revelation that the local sheriff loaned his personal car to the state's attorney general so Ravnsborg could get back to Pierre.
We assume this luxury is afforded to every Tom, Dick and Harry who has car trouble in Hyde County?
Ravnsborg's statement was meant, in his words, to "dispel some of the rumor and innuendo." It was all about the attorney general, selfish as could be.
If Ravnsborg is broken up over killing a person with his car, it's hard to tell. His statement Monday was only meant to paint him in the most positive light possible, even as Boever's family is grieving.
Ravnsborg, 44, is trying to save his job and political future. Nothing more.
He's making Janklow and Ted Kennedy look like Boy Scouts.
The victim's family, and the people of South Dakota, deserve better.