The trial of Kyle Rittenhouse came to a close just days ago and has left America torn, questioning the ability of America’s court system.
Rittenhouse, an 18 year old, went to a protest to the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha Wisconsin armed with an AR15 in august of 2020. He left having shot three people, two of whom died. His acclaimed purpose for being at the protest was the protection of a car lot property.
After a long trial where Rittenhouse himself testified, he was found not guilty on all 5 counts he had been charged with. Rittenhouse is a free man.
From what I’ve seen, a lot of people are incredibly angry at the verdict in this trial. I’ve heard so many conversations calling Rittenhouse a white supremisist and seen so many posts declaring that America’s legal system is designed to uphold a system of white supremacy. I’ve seen the same stupid chart a billion times comparing a tragic and possibly negligent police shooting of a child to a trial that went through due process on every ignorant person’s Instagram story.
The media is at fault.
When the incident first occurred, I thought it was completely reprehensible that a teenager should run around shooting people who have the constitutional right to protest because he disagrees with their cause. This is the opinion I gathered from what I had seen on social media and the news.
However, the media covered the topic poorly, showing only the side of an angry mob of people out for Rittenhouse and unwilling to hear him out first. Some media outlets even blatantly reported facts that were not true.
I love law and I was able to watch a good chunk of the trial. I watched the questioning of the man who survived being shot by Rittenhouse and nearly 4 hours of Rittenhouse’s own testimony on the stand, among other testimony and statements from both the prosecution and defense.
Watching the trial painted an incredibly different picture for me.
Rittenhouse showed up to the protest after his friend had been asked to protect a car lot. At the protest, Rittenhouse provided some medical aid to others in Kenosha and when he later became separated from a friend, he ended up being chased by a man who had previously threatened him and had a long criminal record. He retreated and later shot the man when he came close enough to lay hands on his weapon.
Rittenhouse was attacked again by another man who hit him in the head with a skateboard. This man was later shot and killed. He fired and missed at an unidentified man who kicked him in the head while he was down and later shot one more man, Gaige Grosskreutz, who survived to testify that Rittenhouse had only shot him once Grosskreutz had advanced on Rittenhouse with a hand gun pointed at him.
The trial was fascinating, and the opinion I left it with was entirely different than before. As America and its media stand split between declaring Rittenhouse a hero or scoundrel, I believe that our system of law is the only thing that deserves reverence.
Rittenhouse, who clearly was advanced on and provoked before firing, had defended himself to some degree and the prosecution, who had the burden of proof, did not do nearly enough to prove otherwise.
I don’t know Rittenhouse’s intentions for going to Kenosha or whether he truly thought he was going to be of help or just wanted a “cool” experience, but I do know that he probably made a stupid choice by throwing himself into a chaotic demonstration and found a lot of trouble during it. There is no means of proof that shows he came to shoot unprovoked because he disagreed with the people.
Many people have claimed that the court system failed America yet again.
That’s not true.
The verdict may not have gone their way, whether their desire for a guilty verdict was formed ignorantly or not, but the trial actually proved that America’s court system can succeed in modern day.
Despite a case that was highly politicized and had been libeled and slandered left and right by a country who was out to get the defendant, the defendant was found not guilty.
This is huge. An unbiased jury in such a well known event and its ability to look at the evidence of the case, not the media, and determine the presence of reasonable doubt is incredible. The court system did exactly what it was designed to do, which is ensure that an individual who is innocent is not put behind bars.
Kyle Rittenhouse is no hero to me, however, the case is a statement victory for America as it demonstrates the strength of our legal system and due process even in cases battered, blown up, and badly handled by politicians and m