On November 19, 2021, Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted of five charges. Not guilty. His self-defense argument persuaded the jury. Unfortunately, outside the Kenosha courthouse doors, it was a different story.
So what did we really learn from the Rittenhouse trial? I watched hours of this trial, including the tearful Rittenhouse testimony and the exhaustive closing arguments by both sides. Here are my takeaways:
1. THIS TRIAL HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH RACE. Other than the fact it occurred at a Black Lives Matter protest, not one person involved in the Rittenhouse matter was a different race. It was a “white on white” incident. Rittenhouse was white. The persons he shot were white. The lawyers were white. The judge was white. With exception to one person, the jury was white. And yet, many politicians (including President Joe Biden), celebrities and media pundits, still felt the need to inject RACE (read: anti-black) into this incident. It simply wasn’t true…and wrong.
2. CERTAIN MEDIA PREJUDICIALLY PROMOTED A FALSE NARRATIVE. From the beginning, certain media outlets (including national cable television channels and major newspapers) chose to vilify Kyle Rittenhouse. He was a white supremacist. He was the aggressor. He was actively looking to shoot people. He illegally bought a gun. He illegally crossed state lines with a gun. None of these allegations were true. In fact, they were completely false. These same media outlets also had Rittenhouse tried, convicted and hung…before he ever had his true day in court. It was a media lynching that our justice system stepped in to stop. In the end, it seemed that certain media were more interested in propagating a prejudicial narrative than reporting “truth” or protecting “justice.”
3. A LOT OF PEOPLE COMMENTING ON THIS TRIAL NEVER HEARD THE TESTIMONY NOR SAW THE EVIDENCE. In the aftermath of the verdict, many people rushed to their own judgement with opinions that didn’t match courtroom testimony and evidence. Many views were re-hashed media talking points or social media pablum. There were still commentators, even after the verdict, who claimed Rittenhouse was a white supremacist and shot people at will. Even President Joe Biden stood by his former statement that Rittenhouse was somehow connected to white nationalism. It’s just not true. To the president’s credit, he at least admitted that he had not watched the trial. Nevertheless, in the end, Biden still stood by the falsehood. The truth? There is absolutely no evidence that Rittenhouse had any ties, anywhere, to white nationalism (it wasn’t even brought up in the trial). As for the allegation that he was an “active shooter.” Rittenhouse had a 30 round clip for his AR-15. He used 8 bullets…four of them on one person (Joseph Rosenbaum). This was a major component for Kyle’s self defense argument. If he was a nefarious “bad” kid looking for trouble, he had ample opportunity to shoot a lot of people that night. He didn’t. He didn’t shoot aggressors who stopped chasing him. He only fired on those attempting to harm him. The video footage made this abundantly clear.
4. THE AMERICAN RIGHT TO SELF DEFENSE AND THE SECOND AMENDMENT IS WHAT’S UNDER ATTACK. The biggest argument against Kyle Rittenhouse was the fact a 17 year-old kid had a military style rifle in his possession and was willing and able to use it. One analyst said this verdict meant you can now rob a bank and shoot yourself out the door in self defense. Seriously? Is comparing Rittenhouse to an armed robbery a fair comparison? The facts in this case hardly make Rittenhouse the perpetrator of a crime (robbing a bank). There was no evidence nor testimony to suggest Rittenhouse was an aggressor at all. Some of the prosecution’s witnesses proved helpful to the defense on this point. In the end, both the video footage and the testimony confirmed that Rittenhouse was hunted down by a lone aggressive man named Joseph Rosenbaum (with a criminal record and mental health issues). It got to the point that Kyle finally shot Rosenbaum, who lunged at him, in self defense. When Kyle realized the situation, he quickly left the area (according to his testimony to turn himself into police) but was eventually chased by other men–also with criminal backgrounds. Rittenhouse quickly ascertained had no interest in apprehending him. One man clubbed him in the head with his skateboard. Another violently kicked him. Another approached Kyle with a handgun. There were no commands to stand down and wait for the police. This wasn’t a peaceful “citizen’s arrest.” No, as the video showed, these individuals wanted their own “vigilante justice” (something Kyle is accused of). They seemingly wanted to seriously injure, if not kill, Rittenhouse. Fortunately, he had the firepower to fight back…and that’s what bugs some people the most. The fact Rittenhouse proved able to stand against the mob is a problem for many people on the left today. Some Second Amendment experts believe this trial will likely create new anti-second amendment gun legislation in blue states. Stay tuned.
5. THE CRIMINAL IS NOW THE TRUSTED, RIGHTEOUS (VICTIM) HERO WHILE THE GOOD AMERICAN IS THE LYING, EVIL (AGGRESSIVE) OFFENDER. This was the most unreasonable part of the Rittenhouse trial for me. Why was Kyle even there that night? Was he looking for trouble? It’s why we wait to hear the evidence before making judgments. Rittenhouse lived just across the river, in a different state, but Kenosha was his home too. He had family there. He loved the city. It’s why he went that day to help. There’s a photo of Rittenhouse scrubbing off profane graffiti on the day of the incident. Later he was asked protect some property after nightfall (why he carried a gun). He also hoped to help anyone hurt in these violent riots. Kyle had some medic training and wanted to be a nurse. Strangely, on the night of the incident, Rittenhouse gave up his protective gun armor to a friend. Given the potential for being shot in these violent BLM riots (these were not the peaceful protests that, again, many in the media portrayed), Kyle was extremely brave. Or maybe he was a naive kid with extremely poor judgment. Either way, there’s no evidence to suggest Rittenhouse was a bad person. Unlike his attackers, he had no criminal record. In contrast, those who attacked him that night were the ones with criminal rap sheets. And they were also involved in VIOLENT, illegal activity (from vandalism to arson). The first man Kyle killed–a man named Joseph Rosenbaum–had checked out of a mental hospital earlier that day. He also had a criminal record, including sexual abuse of five young boys. The prosecution (State of Wisconsin), as well as several in the media, would call these thugs “heroes.” Beware when good becomes evil and evil, good.
6. THE AMERICAN JUSTICE SYSTEM IS NOT BROKE. Former NFL quarterback and social activist Colin Kaepernick tweeted just after the verdict: “We just witnessed a system built on white supremacy validate the terroristic acts of a white supremacist. This only further validates the need to abolish our current system. White supremacy cannot be reformed.” Notwithstanding Kaepernick’s ignorance of American history and how our judicial system was founded, nor his insistence upon propagating a lie of Rittenhouse being a white supremacist, his tweet is problematic. Think about it. Kaepernick had no issues with “the system” in June 2021 when a white police officer (Derek Chauvin) was convicted and sentenced to 22 years of prison for the murder of George Floyd. He has no problem when “the system” works in favor of other black defendants or accusers. He only has a problem when it works against his racial prejudice, his political narrative and his worldview. In fact, the “system” worked in the Rittenhouse case just as it should. The burden of proof, beyond reasonable doubt, simply wasn’t there. The District Attorney failed to make the case. The evidence wasn’t there for conviction. In fact it never was there. In retrospect, the D.A. should never have tried this case. It’s why Rittenhouse lawyers cued the “mistrial with prejudice” argument and have the judge toss the case. Does that mean every verdict and every trial is JUST. Absolutely not. We have many people, of all races, rotting in prison today who didn’t do the crime. They were UNJUSTLY convicted. We also have criminals who did the deed and got off (thanks to loopholes in the law or the ability to buy a rich legal team). But that doesn’t mean the system is broken as much as its abused. All I know is it’s still the fairest justice system in the world, perhaps in all of history. I didn’t agree with the O.J. Simpson verdict (when a rich black man was acquitted of his white wife’s murder). In that case, I felt the testimony and evidence seemed to prove otherwise. However, I didn’t feel a need to burn down a building, loot a business or hurt those with whom I disagreed. Nor did I think we needed to torch the American judicial system. Frankly, I’d be curious to know what “system” Mr. Kaepernick would offer in its place?
IN MANY WAYS, THE RITTENHOUSE TRIAL EXPOSED ALL OF AMERICA’S PREJUDICES AND REVEALED OUR DEEP DIVIDE.
It showed the bias of the media and of Black America (yes, blacks can be racists too). It revealed the prejudice of those who want to abolish police departments, tear down our justice system and eliminate Second Amendment protections. It revealed the bias against good Americans–particularly those who are white, Christian and right wing. One black commentator audaciously stated if Rittenhouse was a “black Muslim” he would’ve been shot on sight by the police that night, somehow ignoring how many of the black thugs, regardless of religion, in the Kenosha riots weren’t shot by police…even as they committed crimes against property and humanity.
The tragedy is many Americans, including our younger generations, who actually think it’s still 1962 and we ALL live in Birmingham, Alabama. We don’t. And most of America never did. And with exception to those over 60 years of age who lived in the deep South between 1870 and 1964, most of us had no idea what a segregated life was like. We don’t have separate “white only” bathrooms, restaurants, hotels or parks. We don’t have segregated schools, buses or sporting leagues. We don’t even see lynching. The last lynching of a black in the United States was 40 years ago in 1981...and this lynching was news because it was rare. According to the Tuskegee Institute, the practice of lynching died out in 1964. And, for the record, there were THREE lynchings in 1964. Two of the three were white. Furthermore, since 1882 there were 4,742 lynchings. What’s not said? A third of those lynchings were white people, many of them southern white Republicans who wanted Jim Crow segregation abolished and worked tirelessly to improve the lives of Black Americans. It’s funny how narratives get twisted.
NEVERTHELESS, THE RITTENHOUSE TRIAL REVEALED WHO WE REALLY ARE. THIS IS AMERICA IN 2021. We a nation DIVIDED…by race…by religion…by gender…by sexual preference…by the ability to protect ourselves…by state lines…by economics…by popularity…by power.
We are the people under a flag of our own colors….
Red. White. Black and Blue.