Yesterday the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse drew to a close as both sides made their closing arguments. The two-week trial over whether Kyle Rittenhouse was legally justified in using deadly force to defend himself on the night of August 25th, 2020 in Kenosha, Wisconsin was bound to be a contentious one. Partially because any shooting involving an AR-style rifle or open-carry and stand your ground laws, was going draw the ire of those who are adamantly opposed to them, and those who are not.
In this respect, despite what some consider very weak closing arguments by defense attorney Mark Richards, both eye-witness testimony and video footage made a strong case in Rittenhouse’s favor. Moreover, as Andrew Branca over at Legal Insurrection noted the defense’s case was boosted when Judge Schroeder threw out the gun possession charge on the last day of the trial, ruled that the prosecution’s claim that Rittenhouse was the initial aggressor was unsubstantiated by video evidence, and he instructed the jury that the reckless endangerment charge could be dismissed if Rittenhouse was found to have acted in self-defense.
As a short aside, the strongest and most clear evidence that Rittenhouse acted in self-defense came from an a previously unreleased greyscale video that was recorded by an FBI drone. While the revelation of this footage was certainly a boon to the Defense, it left a lot of Americans wondering how many other times have the Feds been observing them with one of those drones?
However, the primary reason that trial was contentious, was because the shootings took place during a Black Lives Matter riot, which have become the sacred spaces and ceremonies of this ersatz religion. This meant that no matter what the facts of case were or what the laws of Wisconsin said, Rittenhouse would be made to pay for his riotous appropriation. Thus, despite Rittenhouse and the three people he shot all being white, all of the standard Critical Race psittacisms of the Left were dragged into the conversation surrounding the trial.
In the end though, as we shall see, the trial and its outcome are not about race or self-defense or even the law, but are simply yet another flashpoint in the ongoing Marxist-Conservative culture wars that have been ramping up for over a decade now. Here then are a few take away point from the Rittenhouse trial.
1. Facts and Evidence are Now Seen in Light of the "Narrative"
The trial was marked by many instances when the prosecutor Assistant District Attorney (ADA) Thomas Binger made claims or presented his case in ways that were simply not supported by the evidence. Such as,
* The mainstream media talking point that Rittenhouse had crossed state lines with a rifle was finally debunked when Rittenhouse’s friend, Dominic Black, testified that he had purchased the rifle for Rittenhouse to use in Wisconsin.
* The State’s two key witnesses, journalist Richard McGinnis who was recording the night’s events for the Daily Caller, and Army vet Richard Balch who was patrolling the streets with Rittenhouse, both testified that Joseph Rosenbaum (the first person to be shot and whose death set in motion the other two shootings) had made threats and acted aggressively all night before he decided to chase down Rittenhouse.
* The testimony of Gaige Grosskreutz, the one man who survived being shot by Rittenhouse, showed him to be a liar and disingenuous person. He claimed to be a paramedic, even though his paramedic license had expired four year earlier, as did his conceal and carry permit which meant that he was illegally carrying his pistol. The testimony he gave in court was inconsistent with what he told police on the night he got shot, and he had to backtrack his answers when video or photographic evidence showed that he was lying. At last though, he was forced to admit that Rittenhouse did not fire at him until he had pointed his pistol at Rittenhouse, only to later go on Good Morning America and once again change his story and say what he really meant.
Nevertheless, none of this seemed to matter to ADA Binger who badgered the witnesses and the jury to “disregard the video evidence and his own witnesses. They should instead trust in his personal assessment that Rittenhouse is a person who 'enjoys the thrill of telling people what to do without the courage or honor to back it up.'”
2. If Truth is Tribal, So is Law, Order, and Justice.
If the trial showed anything, it showed that there is a stark generational and ideological divide in our nation. The judge (a Boomer), the lawyers (Gen-X), and the talking heads in the media (Millennials and Gen-Xers), all had very different understandings of basic foundational issues in our legal traditions, such as the right to self-defense or to remain silent. Judge Schroeder tried to maintain the trial under the belief that everyone was acting in good faith and respecting well-established rules, but ADA Binger pushed the limits of those rules and was called out on it on more than one occasion, while the talking heads rejected and attacked those rules.
Of course at this point, the only thing that’s surprising about any of this is that there are still a lot of people like the judge who still want to believe that everyone is at least willing to at least respect, if not play by the same rules when it comes to the law. As podcaster Tim Pool recently commented, “When you assume that your political opponent holds the same moral framework as you, you are wrong, you’re making assumptions. When these people say ‘long live the revolution’, then you wonder why it is they’re lying under oath. They do no respect our moral framework, they do not agree with our moral framework, they do not respect the authority of the court and they believe they have a right by any means necessary to subvert and destroy this system.”
The fact is that the agreed-upon rules have long since dissipated, as the cultural struggle is now made up of those who will respect the law and those who will bully, intimidate, dox, expose, or lie to get what they want. If that fails, they will proceed to riot, vandalize, loot, and even kill to make their point. Like the title of a famous album of my youth, these people have an appetite for destruction and whatever the outcome of the trial, their rapacity for that destruction will only increase.
3. It’s Not About Race, It’s About Rage
Of all of the nonsense to come out of the Rittenhouse trial, it was the standard ideological machinations about race and racism that pundits and news anchors like Joy Reid and Tiffany Cross blathered on about. Whether is was talking about the nearly all-white jury, Judge Schroeder's phone playing “God Bless the USA” as a ringtone, or dragging the fictional 1619 Project into the conversation by saying that Rittenhouse’s brand of “vigilantism” is American as white oppression, “critically” analyzing the current events through the lens of race, class, and gender (but mostly race) is now par for the public discourse.
However, race is not really the issue but is only the vehicle being used to achieve certain goals. As, former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping once quipped when he liberalized the Chinese economy out of the Maoist doldrums of the past, “It doesn’t matter if a cat is black or it is white, so long as it catches mice.” In a similar manner, to the Critical Race crowd, it doesn’t matter whether the victims or perpetrators are black or white, so long as it pushes the same old tired Marxist trope of oppression vs oppressor, so they can they bring about the revolution that always seems to be right around the corner.
They see all of us as meat-cogs in a machine or “system” of oppression that they wish to change from the one laid out in the Declaration of Independence and our Constitution, to some vague and usually ill-defined society that they are never clear about, except that they are ones smart enough to run your lives.
4. Time to Be Actively Free
In a comment to my last article at the beginning of the trial, someone wrote that Rittenhouse should’ve “taken a fire extinguisher to Kenosha instead of an AR-15” and that the only thing he could’ve accomplished by going armed to Kenosha was “temporary intimidation or grave bodily harm.” I responded that he had both- a AR-15 and a fire extinguisher-when Rosenbaum attacked him, as did a whole lot of other Kenoshans who watched their property burn down that night- and look how well having just an fire extinguisher worked for them.
I have heard this sort of thinking before, especially here in Minnesota after the George Floyd riots, when people I know and who live in Minneapolis, said that human life was more important that buildings which can be rebuilt or replaced. The problem with acknowledging, let alone granting, that position is that it is framed in favor of and gives credence to those who, as mentioned above, are not playing by the same rules as you, are not acting in good faith, and who are addicted to destroying things. You are putting yourself in the position of waiting for their permission or indulgence to have a contrary point of view, as though it is something you have to prove or make a case for. In short, you are giving the ultimate veto of your opinions and your rights, to the malevolence of these Marxist mobs.
I will be the first to say that it is unfortunate that Rosenbaum and Huber lost their lives, but if you want to role-play rioters & revolutionaries then play it on a table top, and not in real life. Moreover, for those who are saying that no one should be killed over property, to a certain extent I agree, but once again, we must be wary of being framed into a narrative that gives us a preset conclusion. For there is another way of looking at the situation.
Yes, their lives “mattered” more than buildings or a bunch of used cars, but by acting the way they did Rosenbaum, Huber, and Grosskreutz demonstrated that they did not value their own lives. For keep in mind, Rittenhouse was not the only armed citizen out on the streets of Kenosha that evening who were trying to prevent looting and burning. And while there were a lot of posing and shouting at those armed men, almost all of the rioters managed not to get themselves shot. Rittenhouse got separated from his friends and thus, according to Richard Balch, he would’ve been seen as an easy target. Which is why Rosenbaum singled him out and attacked him.
If you, deliberately threaten and then attacked an armed person, who is not or has not done the same to you, you cannot claim to be a victim if you get shot. You cannot expect the person you are attacking or threatening to value your life more than you do yourself, especially if you were to act in such a stupid way.
And herein lies what I think is the biggest take away from the trial: we are now living in a world where competing ideologies and world-views have physically spilled out into real life. These conflicting visions are at odds with one another, and the gap between them where some compromise on how we can peacefully coexist in the same society, is widening at an alarming rate.
We have arrived at a nexus of hostility and estrangement with our own countryman, where waving the Gadsden flag and saying “live and let live” has become a liability. Just as the woke crowd says that it is not enough to be “not racist” but you must actively be “anti-racist”, it is not enough for those who cherish our constitution, our republic, and our rights to just be supportive of them.
The time has come where we must actively speak, teach, live out, defend, and yes, fight for our freedoms. Hopefully this can be accomplished by words and example, but as we have seen, when everyone from Hollywood, to activists, the education establishment, big tech, the current administration, and even your own family are hemming you in on all sides, there is going to come a time when you are left with no option but to physically defend yourself against the woko-haram brigades. God help us, one and all, when that day comes.
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