To leftists and the prosecutors who did their bidding, Kyle Rittenhouse’s offense wasn’t any of the things he was charged with. He clearly had an unassailable defense to all of the charges against him. But that didn’t matter because Rittenhouse was guilty of something else — showing up armed at a leftist riot or, as the left called it, “vigilantism.”
As the left and the prosecution see it, Rittenhouse never should have gone to Kenosha. Once there, he shouldn’t have defended property from the rioters. And having done that, he certainly shouldn’t have left the property and entered the street. Indeed, the prosecution saw fit to show the jury that the group defending the property was warned by the mob not to enter the street.
Finally, Rittenhouse shouldn’t have been armed, of course.
But America is still a free country. Rittenhouse had every right to come to Kenosha. He had the right to help protect property there from the mob, as well as to leave the property and enter street. The mob had no right to restrict his access.
And finally Rittenhouse had the right to be armed. Indeed, the gun charge against him was so weak it never got to the jury.
Rittenhouse would have been crazy not to be armed at the riot. Had he been unarmed, the three white criminals he shot — Joseph Rosenbaum (a convicted sex offender), Anthony Huber (an offender several times over, who served time for choking his brother), and Gaige Grosskreutz (also a serial criminal whose offenses include burglary and assaulting his grandmother) — would have done him grievous bodily harm and might have killed him. And let’s not forget that Grosskreutz was also armed.
The Rittenhouse prosecution and the demonization of him by the left (including the left-wing media) stems from a simple premise. Leftists, including Antifa and BLM, have the right to take to the street causing chaos and property damage, and when they do, those who disagree with them must stand aside while leftists run riot. If they don’t stand aside, they have no right to defend themselves against members of the mob who come after them — even if someone points a gun at them (as Grosskreutz did).
That premise was stated explicitly by the then-mayor of Baltimore at the time of the Freddy Gray rioting, which helped kick off the current wave of mob violence. She admitted that she “gave those [protesters] who wished to destroy space to do that.”
Do Americans accept the “stand aside and give space to destroy” theory? There might have been a brief period during the temporary insanity that prevailed after the death of George Floyd when most Americans did. Or maybe not.
Regardless, that was then. Now, I’m confident that Americans roundly reject the notion.
Kyle Rittenhouse certainly rejected it. He paid a big price for doing so, but thankfully that price will not include a criminal conviction.