I expected Kyle Rittenhouse to be found not guilty. In the days leading up to the verdict, I followed the details closely enough and already came to my own conclusion that he was going to be let off.
It was already set up that way. The judge pretty much didn't even hide the fact that he was all in for Rittenhouse, and he dropped the weapons charges which helped keep any major conviction at bay. And he openly scolded the prosecutor, which journalists and legal experts said was even unprofessional.
“Technically he did nothing wrong"
I love the way a lot of people always try to use laws and technicality to support or excuse these criminals - including some of my own co-workers. By law a 17 year-old can possess a machine gun rifle, but not a semi-automatic handgun. This in itself is standard American legal perversion and imbalance. Why in the world would a 17 year-old be able to possess a rifle but not a smaller handgun?
Also, anyone who could possibly believe Rittenhouse’s story that he went out there as some kind of medic to protect protestors or businesses, and that he “defended himself,” is no less of a fool. There was no need to defend himself with that rifle. Rittenhouse went out to the protests hoping he would have a reason to use the weapon, hoping someone would provoke him, or that major violence in some form would take shape enough for him to fire shots, and probably hoping some would see him as a hero. And he got his wish.
His defense attorneys argued that Rosenbaum, or one of the other two men Rittenhouse shot, threatened him or came at him, giving the teen a reason to use the weapon. Even if this really were the case, someone who was out there that night just to stand by as a medic or protect businesses wouldn’t have carried a rifle with him, he most likely would’ve had a pistol hidden on him until it was seriously time to use it. But instead Rittenhouse openly displayed a heavy weapon in the hopes that he would be provoked to use it.
Rittenhouse would’ve been convicted if it were the other way around
And deep down, whether the other side wants to admit it or not, we all know that. If he was a black teen who killed those three men with that rifle, all the weapons laws and technicalities would be completely ignored. The judge would’ve left the weapons charges on the table. And all the conservatives who support guns and love to say, “You don’t understand how the law works” would not be saying any of those things. Black males with guns terrify conservatives and the legal system.
Furthermore, if Rittenhouse was a black teen he would’ve been convicted far faster and even faster than an adult white male held on trial for the same crime. Even worse, if he was a black teen with conservative views and the three people he shot were also black, he would not be convicted at all.
The jury who gave the final verdict - who Rittenhouse was allowed to randomly select at the behest of the judge who said “I think people feel better when they have control.” - was made up of seven women and five men. When juries are given more women than men it’s to even out the chances of a person on trial getting harsher charges. Which probably worked in even this case, as the women jurors most likely felt like they wouldn’t want to convict a kid and see him go to prison for life, even though he didn’t think like a kid when he brought a rifle to the riots and used it. Again, if it were the other way around, the jury probably would not have looked at it this way.
The bias was already there. As we saw through the case, the judge was all in to defend Rittenhouse. As I said in the beginning of this Take, I expected him to be found not guilty. It was no surprise to me. America failed again. But I think what is more disturbing than the actual justice system is a society that says it's okay or was perfectly correct for a boy with a rifle to be let off the hook, when they would not at all be saying the same things if Rittenhouse was a teen of color.