Kyle Rittenhouse stood in front of an incredibly white jury on Wednesday taking heavy breaths and “crying” after admitting that he drove to Kenosha, Wisconsin with a gun, shot and killed two people, and injured one.
Rittenhouse was 17 at the time. A minor. Therefore, not legally allowed to have a gun in the first place. He crossed state lines, supposedly with the intent to protect a business whose owners testified that they did not ask anyone to come protect their property.
One of the most frustrating aspects of this, which came out before the trial even started, is that the judge ruled that the three victims were not to be referred to as “victims” during the trial. However, terms such as “looters” and “rioters” were acceptable so long as it could be proven that they engaged in such activities.
Language matters, especially in cases such as this.
Did protests escalate? Yes. Does that mean that protestors who were there should be condemned for it, even after getting killed? Unarmed? Even when they were victims of violence?
Black men have been arrested, murdered even, for so much less than what Rittenhouse did. That’s the very reason protestors were out in the first place.
Think of Tamir Rice, who was shot and killed when he was only 12 years old, because an officer saw him playing with a toy gun. Think of Trayvon Martin, who was 17 and did nothing beyond wearing a hoodie and walking home at night. They were never given the chance to have a trial.
And what does it say about our country, about our justice system, that Jacob Blake, an unarmed Black man, ends up paralyzed after getting shot in the back and side seven times by a police officer, but Kyle Rittenhouse gets to calmly walk, rifle strapped to his chest, by a group of officers as people yell that he just shot someone?
Rittenhouse has pleaded not guilty to six charges, including intentional homicide, reckless homicide, and attempted intentional homicide. He admitted to using deadly force, but claims that he “didn’t do anything wrong” because it was self-defense.
Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum, the two people who were killed by Rittenhouse, were unarmed. Huber had a skateboard and Rosenbaum threw something that looked like a plastic bag at Rittenhouse before he was shot.
Rosenbaum was chasing after him, that’s shown in one of the videos. Does that justify getting shot four times and killed? According to Rittenhouse himself, Rosenbaum never even touched him.
After he shot Rosenbaum, people started chasing after him, some of them trying to grab for his gun. He had just shot someone in front of them. One of them was Anthony Huber, who was holding a skateboard and swung it at Rittenhouse.
Huber and Rosenbaum were the only people who died that night, despite how intense the protests were and how many people showed up with weapons.
Gaige Grosskreutz was the only armed person Rittenhouse shot – and the only one who survived. According to Grosskreutz, he never fired his gun that night. He was at the protests as a paramedic, and under the impression that Rittenhouse was an active shooter who he needed to stop.
This is why I can’t look at Rittenhouse’s tears and feel anything other than disdain. We’ve seen the effect white tears can have.
The general consensus among everyone who has been keeping up with this trial is that Rittenhouse is likely to go free.
Until Monday’s ruling by the presiding judge, he could’ve been charged with as little as possession of a gun as a minor.
Now, as of Tuesday, Nov. 16, who knows.
– Lily Doton