Let’s go ahead and address the Rittenhouse trial.
I don’t think most people have enough information to reach the conclusions they have reached. For one, most don’t have the correct context. When George Floyd was killed in Minnesota, the movement called Black Lives Matter was born. The initial idea was good – there seemed to be a disproportionate number of black people being killed by white police officers, and that needed to stop. However, the protests got out of hand and some protesters started destroying businesses. It was one such protest in Kenosha, WI that the Rittenhouse saga began.
More context – Kenosha is practically on top of the border between Wisconsin and Illinois. It’s similar to New York City, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, my city of Charlotte, Chattanooga, TN, and other places. To say someone in NYC “crossed state lines” to do something in New Jersey is routine. Many thousands of people travel between Charlotte and South Carolina every day.
Rittenhouse was fed up with the protests and destruction taking place in Kenosha and decided to intervene. He took his assault rifle and went, presumably, to stop people from burning stuff down. Should he have gone to Kenosha in the first place? No. Do we know, with 100% accuracy, how the shootings happened? Also no. Unfortunately, many people made assumptions and assigned characteristics to people based on physical appearance.
Among the assumptions is that anyone that objects to BLM in any way, shape, or form is racist (more of that extreme thinking). Rittenhouse was objecting to a BLM rally, so that is irreputable proof that he hates all black people. And if he hates all black people, he’s probably a member of the skinheads or the KKK or some other white supremacist group. Once you establish in your mind that he’s part of a hate group, Rittenhouse obviously, in your mind, went to the rally because he wanted to kill people who thought cops were racist, and you’d expect that from a guy you are convinced is a white supremacist.
Those who went all in with the “he’s a white supremacist” narrative also emphasized him “going across state lines.” They emphasize this as an additional egregious act. It sounds like he was in Miami and went all the way to Georgia, or he started in El Paso and went all the way to Arkansas. But when you look at the map, you see that it takes almost no effort to get from Illinois to Kenosha, WI. So the “crossed state lines” emphasis is completely irrelevant.
Rittenhouse eventually makes his way to the protest and gets in a confrontation with some of the protesters. He ends up shooting 3 of them, killing 2. Let’s go ahead and identify the line of thinking here. People who hold a liberal ideology are almost universally convinced Rittenhouse is a white supremacist and absolutely no action he took can be justified in any way. Rittenhouse says the protesters came after him. Liberals insist he shot them in cold blood for no reason.
Here’s one piece of evidence against him. My wife watched his testimony. She tells me that when he broke down crying on the stand, it was staged, that he did not actually shed any real tears. I believe her because I saw that same fake crying when the verdict was read. So, if nothing else, he’s guilty of being melodramatic.
I think the verdict was reached, at least in part, due to a huge mistake by the prosecutor. He spent the trial painting the picture of a heartless, racist vigilante who killed people for the fun of it. The biggest error he made was calling the victims “heroes,” people who just want all people treated equally by law enforcement. The problem is the victims were not heroes. They were long-time criminals, one having sex crimes on his rap sheet.
Despite what some news outlets tell you, there were many protests that were violent and destructive. Even if you do think all cops are racist, burning down somebody’s business, ruining their lives, is not going to reverse that. If my nephew believes a white cop has committed a racist act toward him, going into east Charlotte and setting fire to the Thirsty Beaver tavern isn’t going to change anything.
So no, people who protest hate crimes by destroying the property of people who did not commit the hate crime are not heroes. And if you are a career criminal who joins in such protests, you are even less of a hero. I believe the prosecutor lost the jury when he did that. I think the people on the jury realized he was pushing a narrative instead of presenting evidence that cold-blooded murder had taken place.
Since the verdict, more evidence has emerged that Rittenhouse is nobody’s white supremacist. He says he was part of the “Yang gang,” a nickname for the people who supported Andrew Yang’s 2020 presidential candidacy. If you truly believe white people are superior life forms to everyone else, you’re not going to support an Asian trying to become President. He agrees there is a racial component to how law enforcement treats people and that there must be systemic changes. Nothing about him validates any accusations of him being racist.
Even though he was acquitted, his life has been permanently altered. If he dies in 2103, when he’s 100 years old, it will be reported on the national news. Some report is bound to say, “Kyle Rittenhouse, who murdered 2 people but was allowed to walk away free more than 80 years ago, died today.”
I’m fortunate in that I’m married to that rare liberal that isn’t an extremist. She agrees he wasn’t guilty of first-degree murder, but he should have been convicted of manslaughter. I am not convinced of any outcome. I’m not out here screaming that he’s completely innocent or that he should be on death row. The manslaughter argument seems reasonable. I think the people screaming at the top of their lungs that this verdict is a sign of the apocalypse are being way too dramatic.
What is my ultimate conclusion of the matter? We are no closer to people being judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character than we were on August 28, 1963. And that is heartbreaking.
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