Because the national media are still invested in defending the mass violence and race rioting that took place all summer last year, it’s safe to assume that any coverage they devote to the trial of 18-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse will be gross and misleading.
To wit, they’re already suggesting that Rittenhouse’s defense is getting an unfair advantage after the presiding judge, Bruce Schroeder, ruled this week that the three men Rittenhouse shot that August night of violent riots in Kenosha, Wis., cannot be referred to during the trial as “victims,” but that they could be described as “looters,” “rioters,” or “arsonists.”
CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin said on Wednesday that the ruling “should help Rittenhouse’s defense a great deal” and that characterizing the men as lawbreakers “suggests that Rittenhouse was justified in what he was doing because these were bad people that he shot.”
Anchor Erica Hill said that same day that she “literally can’t wrap my head around this” and that she was “wondering how the heck something like this could happen.”
Areva Martin, another one of CNN’s legal analysts (though this one didn’t expose herself while masturbating on a Zoom call), said the ruling was “incomprehensible” and that to call the men rioters or looters “suggests they deserved what they got.”
I’m sure it will surprise you that this is an attempt to create yet one more false narrative about the race riots that were cheered on by the media last year in order to tip the election against Donald Trump.
The truth is that Judge Schroeder had said the term “victim” is “loaded” because it assumes a degree of guilt by a perpetrator. In this case, Rittenhouse’s legal team is expected to claim he was defending himself when he fired his weapon at the men, two of whom died. Prosecutors countered that it would likewise be “as loaded, if not more loaded” to characterize any of the men shot by Rittenhouse as “rioters” or “looters” or “arsonists.”
Schroeder rejected that argument on the grounds that there is actual evidence that the men were any one or all of those things. Prosecutors had, after all, actually admitted that one of the men, Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, had lit a dumpster ablaze that night. Schroeder further said that in its statements to the jury, Rittenhouse’s defense was free to “demonize” the men, just as prosecutors were free to “beatify” them. But, he said, referring to them as victims was a question at the core of the trial and something to be determined by the jury.
This isn’t a matter of Schroeder giving Rittenhouse a sympathetic leg up. As USA Today noted, the judge “has a standard rule prohibiting use of the term ‘victim’ until someone is convicted of a crime.”
The case isn’t going to center on whether anyone deserved to be shot because they were rioting. It’s going to be about whether Rittenhouse had reason to fear that his life was in danger. Reading the state’s own complaint against Rittenhouse, the answer is: Oh my God, yes he did, and is he OK?!
Rittenhouse had driven that night 30 minutes from his home to Kenosha, where mass protests and riots were taking place over the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a black man who was wanted for violating a restraining order stemming to claims he had sexually assaulted a woman. Rittenhouse brought a rifle with him and set out to, in his words, protect businesses and offer medical aid to anyone injured.
The first shooting took place at a car dealership. According to a witness cited by the state’s complaint, Rittenhouse was running away and being pursued by Rosenbaum, who was first to engage Rittenhouse. While Rittenhouse was backing up, the witness said that Rosenbaum moved toward the teen with his hands up in an attempt to take his gun. That’s when Rittenhouse fired the gun, striking Rosenbaum multiple times. He was pronounced dead later at a hospital.
Rittenhouse then fled the area, and the complaint says a group of people formed and chased him. Video from the scene shows people yelling “Beat him up!” and “Get him! Get that dude!” Someone says, “What’d he do?” and another responds, “Just shot someone.”
The complaint says that as Rittenhouse was running, a man “appears to swing at the defendant with his right arm,” making contact with the teen, knocking his hat off of his head.
Rittenhouse then fell to the ground and someone can be heard yelling, “Get his ass!” Video shows several men approaching Rittenhouse. One of them “jumps at and over” Rittenhouse, who fires his gun. The man retreated. The complaint then identifies 26-year-old Anthony Huber as appearing to try to grab the gun. Rittenhouse shoots him and he stumbles away before collapsing dead to the ground.
The complaint then says that 27-year-old Gaige Grosskreutz, who also was carrying a gun, made his own attempt at grabbing Rittenhouse’s firearm. Video shows that immediately after Rittenhouse shot Huber, Grosskreutz holds up both of his hands but then lunges at Rittenhouse, who fires his gun, striking Grosskreutz in the arm.
The crowd that had been pursuing Rittenhouse dispersed, and the teen then walked toward police with his hands up and pointing back in the direction from which he had come.
Should Rittenhouse have been there to begin with? Was he looking for trouble? I don’t know, and that’s not what he’s on trial for. But judging from the videos and the state’s own complaint against him, he certainly had every reason to believe his life was threatened by a mob in hot pursuit.
A jury will get to hear all of what was mentioned above, just not from CNN.