The Rittenhouse verdict was correct

Laren Reesman, Staff Writer

Kyle Rittenhouse was found not guilty on Nov. 19 of all charges after more than three days of jury deliberation. Despite societal pressures and a media hailstorm, the jury remained focused on the facts of the case and carried out the correct verdict. Rittenhouse was charged with seven counts of criminal activity, including an intentional homicide, but he acted out of self-defense. Video footage clearly shows the people he shot attacked him first and endangered his life. Rittenhouse was one of several to arm themselves to defend property in Kenosha, Wisconsin from rioters. He was there to medically assist anyone injured and protect at-risk properties like a car dealership that was apparently a major target for looters.

Witness and prosecution testimony verified the truth that Rittenhouse used his weapon in self-defense. It is also important to note Rittenhouse was 17 years old at the time (18 at the time of his trial). His motives were to pick up where the police failed having to deal with the latest set of accusations. This could be seen as vigilante behavior, but when police are instructed not to respond for fear of media retribution, citizens who count on their protection must step up and defend their own livelihoods.The real issue is not the Rittenhouse case itself—it is the underlying social issues that have pitted any gun-wielders (if they are conservative) as evil regardless of the circumstances, and the belief that justice is only served through what is “popular” rather than what is just. If the society criminalizes people based on their ideals or what group they represent and not their behaviors, America as we know it will disappear.

The reason the Rittenhouse case was a national sensation and not a typical self-defense case is because of what he represents: a white conservative. Just like the Covington High School student accused of racism by a media willing to make up a story just to sow division, the Rittenhouse case demonstrates media desperation to keep tensions building between American citizens on opposite political sides. Yet if we look at the facts of the case—that these adult rioters were so filled with anger and hate they were willing to attack a teenage boy, there is something much scarier at play. Those people truly believed Rittenhouse to be their enemy, even though they were there to cause damage and inflict harm. Even worse is how the media upholds that same idea, condemning only Rittenhouse and defending those who were shot along with the other rioters. It would be right to question Rittenhouse’s motives if the motives of his attackers and other rioters were also criticized, and despite all considerations, the decision made at his trial would still be seen as fair and just.

Unfortunately, we live in a society that chooses feelings over facts. However, as long as we can count on our justice system to ignore the narrative and presumption being created, those who are wrongfully villainized will see their rights upheld. Rittenhouse is not a criminal but a kid who—foolishly or not—thought he was doing what was right to protect a community and the livelihoods of business owners.