Op-Ed: If I were in the crowd I would have attacked Kyle Rittenhouse (satire)
Over the past months we have been watching carefully the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse play out. We all had our opinions on what the verdict would eventually. Many have called this case the OJ Simpson trials of our time. Everyone from Geraldo Rivera to Tucker Carlson have been speaking their opinion on the case, ranging from pushing Rittenhouse to hero status, to saying at best who was a confused and immature teenager. However the unanimous decision is now one from innocence. On Friday afternoon on November 19th, the verdict had reached the decision that all charges would be dropped against him, much to the surprise of most of the media. How can it be in America in the year 2021, someone can shoot bullet out of a rifle and take two lives and seriously injure another, regardless of the character of the people whom were shot, and no be charged with any crime. The conversation drifts to a rather sobering reality. Is this a good thing for America?
Many were glued to their television sets or computer screens like a scene out of the Purge or a public display of tear and feathering, and we all held to our views and opinions on how and why and what the outcome should be. In a surprising move the judge walks out and declares that “the jury has made a decision”. As the charges were announced one by one, the words not guilty played out like a bittersweet symphony. What was happening to the country where I grew up in? The nation that solves our problems without going to the gun, because we were a democracy unlike the dictatorships that came before. How does this appear to viewers watching from afar in other democracies that don’t see this kind of violence and turmoil on a daily basis. Perhaps that is one tradition that has held true in America and has grown increasingly worse. Our love for guns that sometimes cloud a healthy vision of understanding and teamwork. Instead we grip to the iron of defeat and blow the trigger. Regardless of any verdict, what will the outcome of Americans that have watched this trial prove an innocent verdict. Does this send the message that what Kyle Rittenhouse did was okay, and not only okay but should be encouraged. In circles of the right he has been propped up as a hero. What is the social consequence of accepting that we tolerate the events that unfolded.
Like many I walked away and cracked open a chocolate candy bar with the caramel filling, a bottle of wine, possibly a Xanax, and had to take in what I had just heard and viewed with my eyes unfolding before me. The consequence and the message had not yet made set into my mind and I couldn’t explain clearly what had just happened. The nation and perhaps world was in a state of shock even if they didn’t want to admit it. Everyone thought and knew he would be guilty for pulling the trigger because that is what he did, but no one ever believed he would walk away.
Over the past days I gave it careful thought and consideration. I didn’t want to rush to judgement, I didn’t want to assume. I even tuned into Fox News to hear their side of the story because maybe my intuition was wrong and I was willing to admit that. While I was munching on my chocolate candy bar I had flipped the television remote to Tucker Carlson. You could almost hear the sounds of champagne bottles and party streamers getting shot off in the background of the news room. There I could see Jesse Waters, Sean Hannity, Kayleigh McAneeney, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham and Judge Jean Shaheen, with faces glowing, and I continued to watch for some reason strange or another. They even went so far as to claim Kyle should now countersue the White House for Joe Biden’s slanderous remarks. I couldn’t turn away. It was as if I was watching a social experiment. The unfolding of human decency and compassion for other lives. The ultimate mood on that station was one of joy, of celebration, or admiration for a man who had committed the the top sin in the Holly book. On that day thou shall not became thou shall, and that would become the new motto of the far right. As disturbing as that was to watch, I couldn’t help but understand that something else was completely wrong. I had to examine the contents of the case itself, to determine why the outcome was so perverted from reality.
When we reflect back at this case in history, perhaps this will be looked upon as one of the worst prosecution blunders in history. In my opinion, the prosecution team made grave errors in more ways than one, and I have spoken to many of my law buddies who feel the same way.
“The prosecution did so bad it was almost if they were intentionally trying to throw the case. I’ve never seen anything like it.” — Anonymous (30 year MA attorney)
After debating with friends and family we all came to the same conclusion. Any good prosecution knows that if you want to represent a case, you should always play the devil’s advocate of the opposing side on trial. Instead of Kyle Rittenhouse on trial for self defense, the prosecutors could have called up the lone survivor of the shooting incident Gaige Grosskreutz (whcih they did not). In every case there is a star witness and I believe he was extremely underutilized. There were so many questions Grosskreutz could have been asked that would have defined and changed the narrative of the entire case. The one question I was surprised no one asked, why did Grosskreutz attack Kyle Rittenhouse? Clearly we can see that he did, and in that event which the case was built around it was determined that Rittenhouse was clearly acting in self defense. There was no way you could get around that argument, but what if Grosskreutz felt justified in attacking Rittenhouse? What if he felt justified in approaching Rittenhouse with a firearm? No one ever brought up the question whether it is ever okay to attack another person. Looking back in history which right wing circles such as Proud Boys frequently like to bring up, we can remember it was the Americans who fired the first shots at the British. Are premeditated actions sometimes necessary and can it ever be justified?
That is when I came to my own personal conclusion that if i had been in Kenosha on that day, I would have attacked Kyle Rittenhouse myself. I would have thrown the skateboard, approached him with a firearm, blades of the knife, anything that I could have obtained to toss him onto the ground and remove the weapon from his body. Consider this thought for a moment. If someone had been there to tackle Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, Columbine shooting would have never occurred. If someone was there to tackle Adam Lanza to the ground, there would still be twenty school children and six teachers alive today. I have always told myself, in this day and age given the opportunity, when I see someone approaching with an assault style weapon strapped around their shoulder in a public area, I would gladly take the opportunity to attack another person to stop him, even if he had not fired a single bullet.
When Grosskreutz was brought up to the stand, he was not asked a single question about why he chose himself to approach Rittenhouse. The prosecution allowed the defense to frame himself as the aggressor. As soon as he was forced to answer that he did in fact approach with a firearm pointed in Kyle’s direction, I knew the prosecution deep down had just lost the case. The problem really arose when the prosecution instead of reframing the narrative chose to be on the defensive and deny that it ever happened. They tried to build a case around trying to prove that this was not self defense, and that was a losing argument from the very beginning. We know this to be true, because the jury in making their final decision asked to see the drone footage for as many times as they wanted. The drone footage itself which was purchased and supplied by Tucker Carlson. The outcome of the jury was based around the narrative over whether Kyle was acting out in self defense or premeditated murder, when the actual narrative the prosecution should have brought up never occurred and these questions were never asked.
If you are one of the folks who took the side of Kyle in this trial, do you believe it is okay for seventeen year olds to go marching into town with AR15s strapped to their back, when the actual law says otherwise? Perhaps the incident involving of Alec Baldwin on the set of Rust around this same time period has taught us a very valuable lesson, that you do not brandish or hold a live weapon unless you intend to use it. The sixty-four thousand dollar question is, why did Kyle bring this rifle to Kenosha protests in the first place? Why was this question never brought up in the entire almost 20 days of the trial. Is this point something the prosecutors had entirely forgotten? At no point in watching daily did I ever see this discussion be given the serious consideration it should have been given, on a case as important as this.
If you begin to doubt this argument, just ask any grocery store clerk or bank teller. Many would falsely believe that it is okay in the event of defending property rights to brandish a weapon, and frequently blame a lack of police presence for the rioting and looting that does occur. A larger police presence with more firearms would not help the situation, it would in fact make it worse. Trained police officers understand this and why they take what is called a stand-back approach to whenever racial unjust or protesting occurs. I will use a bank as an example, or even a grocery store or any public place for that matter. A teller is instructed to treat a robbery as a normal transaction and handle it as professionally as possible. A teller that does anything but complete the “transaction” as requested by the robber is going to be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination, for endangering everyone in the bank. This is true in most banks even if all you get is a note and see no evidence of a gun. If someone approaches me on the street and demands to see my wallet, give them money, or robs a flat screen television from my home, I’m not going to chase after him like a scene out of Hollywood wild west classic with my firearm. If my wallet is stolen I call my bank and cancel my credit cards. If my property is stolen I report a theft to my insurance company. The alternative is to get into a gun match, and there is a half chance that the bad guy pulls the trigger first. Why was this level of thinking never brought up at the trial, and why was Kyle not forced to explain himself?
Kyle chose to attend Kenosha protests and rioting on that day. He chose to bring that assault style weapon (yes I will call it that) on that day, to that protest, with the intent that he may need to use it. Why else would he bring it? Now that all charges have been dropped and the case is over, Kyle Rittenhouse will have access to legal firearms and assault weapons for the rest of his life, and that is that a smart move? We are creating a culture right now which believes that we need to walk around carrying guns out of the chance we need to shoot at someone. We really have reached a level of lost trust. Americans are buying up more guns than ever before in history, and gun violence is now the worst in all of the developed world. I’ve been robbed before. I’ve been approached by people with firearms. Every situation I backed off and put my hands up. Unless you run into a serial killer, no looter wants to kill another person. If you take out your firearm, you now give the assaulter the reason they want to attack you with a potential gun in their pocket. Possibly shoot at you out of fear and injure yourself and other people, and if you miss or anything goes wrong you are in every sense of the word, screwed. Learning real defense with your hands and legs is a lot more effective.
The moral of the story should be that you don’t carry a weapon like that unless you expect that you are going to meet violence. A gun is only good for one thing and that is killing. The police are trained not to shoot at looters. Why? It’s not because they condone the rioting. Material objects can be replaced. A life cannot be replaced. It’s not worth shooting at another human being or encouraging violence with violence because someone is robbing a television or a new pair of shoes. The crime does not fit the punishment. People do crazy things in poverty and unrest, and we are not a dictatorship. There are those claiming we should shoot at rioters who break the law like something out of the days of Mussolini, which ironically they claim guns are preventing a government like that from forming.
Martin Luther King said this quote in 1967 about riots. I’m going to keep the quote as it was written because it is history that should not be changed.
“Urban riots must now be recognized as durable social phenomena. They may be deplored, but they are there and should be understood. Urban riots are a special form of violence. They are not insurrections. The rioters are not seeking to seize territory or to attain control of institutions. They are mainly intended to shock the white community. They are a distorted form of social protest. The looting which is their principal feature serves many functions. It enables the most enraged and deprived Negro to take hold of consumer goods with the ease the white man does by using his purse.” — Dr. King (Sept 1967 ACA Convention)
I think a very immature seventeen year old believed he could march into a riot playing “Call Of Duty”, as if he was going to save the day and wanted to be cast as a romantic hero, and I’m sure his parents are now regretting they were not more forceful about not letting him go. Now two people are dead who would not have been. It doesn’t matter what they did to him in response, and it doesn’t matter if they were a pedophile or rapist or looter because as that is missing the point. If someone approaches you holding an AR15 in a public area, are you going to give that person a high five. Are you being honest with yourself? Does anyone believe this country would be a better place if we went around shooting at each other and taking justice into our own hands in the act of self defense? Should we really be cheering or celebrating the verdict of this case? Would you have wanted your own child to attend the Kenosha protests on that night brandishing a firearm? It was as if the prosecution and defense has lost all sense of morality, human decency, compassion, ethics, community responsibility, on the day they presented their case. Let us now say a prayer that more young men watching this trial’s verdict do not feel empowered to go out and do something similar, only next time a lot more could be harmed.
I believe the outcome of this case will have a serious precedent on emboldening guns rights activists to openly carry their weapons under the guise self defense, and the honorable judge in this case even admitted that a serious change of precedence was being met by allowing the drone footage to be viewed as many times as they had pleased. The rest of the world watching the outcome are confused and really surprised, not just at the verdict but also witnessing one side of our nation’s political party openly celebrating Kyle Rittenhouse as a new figure for their movement. Make no mistake. The young boy will be pressed and probed by right-wing media outlets. He will be asked to give endless interviews, be given endless offers for speaking events, and continues to rank in large amount of donations even after being kicked off GoFundMe. His family had raised $2 million enough for bail, and had raised $500,000 just in the past two months, reported by Forbes. This was after his attorneys placed a naive 17-year old to a bar to be used in a photo-op with Proud Boys, according to Geraldo Rivera on his Twitter page “thereby accelerating the white supremacist narrative.” You know these are strange days when even Fox News contributor Geraldo Rivera is not on board.
“We wanted to go on and start the grieving process. We can’t even grieve. That kid turned and mowed that guy down with his rifle. He mowed him down. People saw that. They witnessed that and they tried to stop him. It’s ridiculous how the defense lawyers painted my son. What they do and the levels that they stoop to. They should be ashamed of themselves.” — John Huber (father of victim Anthony Huber)
I believe that was the most shocking thing to come out of this trial. It’s not so much the ultimate decision that was made, but the public’s response to it, and the lack of response from a prosecution team that never asked the kind of questions they should have been asking. The way that this event was politicized as one group turned against the other should scare everyone. This should have been an easy case to understand and easy argument to make, but everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong, and I am not the only one with that opinion. We witnessed a prosecution team which tried to use his TikTok name to make a case against him. As we take a closer look at gun culture in the United States following a tragic decade of among the largest mass shootings in history, what will this decade bring? Are we ever going to pass common sense gun control? Are both sides ever going to come to an agreement that actions like this are not acceptable in a civilized society? I have never owned a firearm in my life living in the city, because I have no reason to own one, and Kyle Rittenhouse had no reason to bring an assault weapon down to the Kenosha protests on that day. This should not have been a self defense case, and this should have been about questioning the mind of what compelled a young boy like Rittenhouse to do what he did. Yes the jury has spoken and outcome will be respected, but in the words of Anthony Huber’s father, there is no closure here, there is no closure.