Many are observant of the ongoing trial of Kyle Rittenhouse. For those unaware of why Rittenhouse is currently facing said legal proceedings, allow us first to share a brief, objective summary…
After the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin last summer, riots and civil unrest broke out in the southeast Wisconsin city. The Kenosha Area Business Alliance estimates that the riots were responsible for up to $50 million damage.
Rittenhouse, a 17 year old from Antioch, Illinois, approximately 20 miles away, came to Kenosha for the said purpose of protecting a car dealership from being vandalized and to provide any necessary medical care; he was carrying a Medkit. He was also carrying an AR-15 style rifle.
Multiple direct confrontations ensued between Rittenhouse and varied rioters. Two were shot and killed by Rittenhouse; one had his right biceps severed. All three had criminal histories.
Rittenhouse was subsequently charged with multiple counts of homicide and unlawful possession of a firearm. A 19 year old man was also charged with illegally giving Rittenhouse the gun. Rittenhouse emphatically asserts he acted in self-defense. The trial for Rittenhouse began November 1st.
To say the nation has once again responded in a polarized fashion is an understatement. To say politics have been the filter through which many have chosen to examine the scenario also reigns true.
To some, he is a hero… selflessly and justly utilizing his unfettered 2nd Amendment right to stave off an increasingly violent, summer chaos.
To others, he is a symbol of everything wrong in America — and as one Reuters columnist put it, “of an American gun culture run amok.”
And most likely due to that passionate polarization, many have felt justified in publicly chiming in…
From the liberal House representative who in the immediate aftermath referred to Rittenhouse as “a 17 year old white supremacist domestic terrorist”…
To the conservative pundit who felt called this week to mock Rittenhouse when the now 18 year old cried on the stand, referring to his emotion as “crocodile tears.”
To the NBA star who went further with his mocking: “What tears????? I didn’t see one. Man knock it off! That boy ate some lemon heads before walking into court.”
Consistent with the mantra of the Intramuralist, we sincerely respect the opinions of Rep. Ayanna Pressley, CNN’s Ana Navarro-Cárdenas, and LeBron James. But to also be clear, they are only opinions; opinions are not facts nor necessarily educated. And these specific opinions are from strikingly far away.
So let us humbly attempt to extract the politics and polarization — a perilous task, I know. I will proceed at my own, respectful risk…
In our efforts to value all people and embrace and pursue justice, isn’t there a question all should be asking first?
To the Pressley’s, Navarro-Cárdenas’, James’, etc… to all the celebrities, politicians, persons on Twitter, IG, and you and me…
Wouldn’t our perspectives be wiser, our shaming be lesser, and our opinions be potentially more accurate, if we first asked ourselves the following huge question…
Were we there?
Tell me… when the riots unfolded in Kenosha, when Kyle Rittenhouse tragically shot and killed or injured those three men, were you there? Did you see everything that happened? Did you feel what each felt? Do you know every angle? Are you aware of absolutely all that transpired? Do you know what every person did? Every way they behaved? Do you know all that didn’t show up on camera? Do you know everything? Do you know it all that exactly?
Is there a narrative that’s easier for me to understand, that fits with my already established paradigm, that I can continue to cling to, conveniently forgetting the fact that I wasn’t there?
Friends, I make zero assertion about the innocence or guilt of the current defendant. But I do wholeheartedly believe every voice and opinion would be more prudent if we recognized when we were and were not there.
One Reply to “the Kyle Rittenhouse trial”
Powerfully stated my friend!!! Thank you for this thought provoking blog! We all need to take a step back and look at the bigger picture, considering there is likely more than meets the eye with these weighty scenarios we find ourselves witnessing more and more these days!!
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