When he was 17, Kyle Rittenhouse fatally shot and killed two people during the Black Lives Matter riots in Kenosha, Wis. With the conclusion of the Rittenhouse trial in November, he has been found not guilty of all five charges brought against him, with the overall ruling that he acted in self defense.
Rittenhouse was charged with first degree reckless homicide, two counts of first degree recklessly endangering safety, first degree intentional homicide, and attempted first degree intentional homicide, according to apnews.com.
The night in Kenosha was considered a “night of unrest” by NPR News. While in Kenosha, Rittenhouse was armed with an AR-15 and said, during his trial, he was going to defend businesses from potential damage the riots might have caused. Rittenhouse shot three people that night with two dying and protestor Gaige Grosskreutz, 27, being wounded.
After the release of the verdict there was backlash from the American public. It has been referred to as a “brazen miscourage of justice,” according to MSNBC. Rittenhouse has also been getting comments from celebrities on Twitter, most notably Lebron James commenting, “What tears????? I didn’t see one. Man knock it off! That boy ate some lemon heads before walking into court,” after Rhittenhouse had been seen crying in court.
Other backlash centers on the topic of consequences.
Social studies teacher Mr. Kleinschmidt said there are multiple consequences associated with this trial whether it be gun rights, society’s reaction, self-defense, and free speech. Consequences might also apply no matter the outcome of the case. In this case, society is debating whether the jury’s verdict to acquit him was correct.
“For the jurors, it was the right course of action, they looked at all the evidence and videos,” said Mr Kleinschmidt.
People from various backgrounds believe the case’s verdict should’ve gone a certain way depending on what they believe in. The Rittenhouse case was also an example of gun rights consequences. The Defense Attorney used self defense as a viable rationale to defend Rhittenhouse, added Kleinschmidt.
Putting the prevalence of guns in today’s society in perspective, Mr. Kleinshcmidt recalled the 1999 Columbine shooting when he was a teaching assistant for a professor at University of Wisconsin Eau Claire. “A student had come up to me and said someone had brought a gun into a high school in Colorado, I said okay? The student had to actually explain what had happened before I realized what it meant.”
Before this, guns would have been taken into school for a demonstration or a speech for the students. A shooting at a school was a rare event, unlike today where it seems all too common.
Mr. Kleinschmidt mentioned that experience because times have changed regarding the prevalence with guns and Kyle Rittenhouse showing up in Kenosha to defend businesses with an AR-15 rifle being one example.