On August 25, 2020, during the riots from the lawful, justified shooting of Jacob Blake, a group of men and women was asked by a local business owner to protect a series of car dealerships in Kenosha. By the end of the night, two people would be dead and one seriously wounded in a shooting by a 17 year old boy with a rifle. The facts of the case are cut and dry, it was all caught on video; however, liberals are using this case to attack the right and firearms. After over a year of negative and false media coverage, Rittenhouse is getting his day in court and so far, the Prosecution is shooting themselves in the foot. While you never know what a jury will do, if they follow the facts and logic, Rittenhouse will be fully acquitted. So how did we get here. Its a long, convoluted story.
The media would have us believe that Rittenhouse is a racist, white supremacist who came to Kenosha to shoot protesters. Joe Biden’s campaign even tweeted that President Trump wouldn’t condemn white supremacists’ (which he has done repeatedly) and put a picture of Rittenhouse on the tweet. The media told the story of how this boy drove from one state to another with his weapon, a place where he didn’t belong, and illegally possessed an AR-15 that he used to hunt down black protesters. This narrative would turn out to be completely false. But it didn’t matter, and it still doesn’t as members of the media are still calling him a vigilante or blaming him for what happened. They have a narrative and they don’t want to give it up.
Here are the facts. Kyle Rittenhouse had the gun bought for him by a friend who let him use it in Wisconsin. The gun was a gift and he would be allowed to take possession of it when he turned 18 years old. He would shoot it at his friends property and it never left the state of Wisconsin. So the narrative that he brought the weapon across state lines was a lie. The next misleading statement was that he was from out of state. He actually worked in Kenosha, his father and sister live in Kenosha and he lived a short distance away. The town is on the border of Rittenhouse’s home. So he is a part of that community. He wasn’t a stranger from another state, this statement is misleading.
Rittenhouse is not a vigilante. During the riots, he spent most of his time cleaning graffiti and providing minor first aid. At the end of the night, he helped to extinguish a few small fires. At no time did he attempt to enforce any laws. He did not try to take anyone into custody, he did not attempt to break up fights, he did nothing to try and enforce any laws. The vigilante argument and the active shooter argument are buzz words to get people riled up about his case. Neither of those terms apply here. And when you examine the facts, you can clearly see that this was a case of self defense. Rittenhouse did nothing to provoke anyone. In nearly every video where things were getting intense, Rittenhouse could be seen in the background doing small tasks. He is never seen in any video confronting protesters, he is never seen arguing with anyone, and in one video, while people are pushing and shoving each other, Rittenhouse was seen behind everyone casually moving a dumpster that had been burned out of the street. At no time did he engage with anyone.
The media and the prosecution were making the argument that Rittenhouse should not have been there. Its an unfair statement. Rittenhouse had as much right as anyone to be there. He had as much right to be walking the streets like everyone else. Its a bad faith argument. Rittenhouse had every right to be there and to walk the streets and help people whenever he could. He wanted to help people, which is a noble goal. Now if you want to argue whether or not it was smart for him to be there, we can have that discussion. But we also have to realize that we give 16 year old’s drivers licenses to handle 1 ton automobiles driving at 70 mph and we let 17 year old’s enlist in the military, so we have accepted as a society that 17 year old’s can experience risky situations. None of these facts has any relevance to the shootings. The argument can be made that if Rittenhouse should not have been there to help out, then those he shot should not have been there to riot, commit arson or attack people.
Lets break down the charges, the shootings and the prosecutions arguments. Rittenhouse has been charged with 7 counts. The first is First Degree Reckless Homicide with a Dangerous Weapon against Joseph Rosenbaum. First Degree Recklessly Endangering Safety with a Dangerous Weapon against Richie McGinniss. The third count is First Degree Recklessly Endangering Safety with a Dangerous Weapon against an unknown man who kicked Rittenhouse in the head. The fourth charge is First Degree Intentional Homicide with a Dangerous Weapon against Anthony Huber. The fifth count is Attempted First Degree Intentional Homicide with a Dangerous Weapon against Gaige GrossKreutz. The sixth charge is a Possession of a Dangerous Weapon by a Person under 18. The final count is Failure to Comply with an Emergency Order from the State or Local Government.
The first shooting involved a man named Joseph Rosenbaum. Rosenbaum had a lengthy criminal record including sex crimes against minors. While these details are not relevant to the events that occurred that night, it does give us an insight to his way of thinking. Rosenbaum had a mental health issue that required medication. He was not a good person. However, even bad people do not deserve to be killed. Rosenbaum was seen throughout the night antagonizing other members of Rittenhouse’s group. Videos that night showed Rosenbaum setting fires, attacking members of Rittenhouse’s group, swinging around a chain, and knocking over porta-johns. He was an active rioter during this encounter. At one point, Rittenhouse and another person helped extinguish a fire Rosenbaum set in a dumpster which agitated him. He was begging for people to shoot him, he was using racial slurs and being aggressive. Witnesses testified that Rosenbaum verbally threatened Rittenhouse and others, saying he would kill them if he got them alone.
Later that night, Rittenhouse and another member of his group were walking around offering medical assistance to people when they got separated. Rittenhouse attempted to go back to the first car dealership, but the police shut that area down and Rittenhouse decided to meet up with another group at a second dealership. He grabbed a fire extinguisher and started walking to the dealership. He observed people setting a truck on fire and he walked towards it to put it out. What he didn’t know was that Rosenbaum was hiding behind a few cars and when Rittenhouse passed him, he came out yelling at Rittenhouse. Rittenhouse dropped the fire extinguisher and started running away. Rittenhouse was retreating when Rosenbaum threw a bag at him and kept chasing him. Rittenhouse turned around and pointed the rifle in Rosenbaum’s direction, but he kept coming. Rittenhouse turn and ran away again. As he was running away, a rioter named Joshua Ziminski, fired his gun into the air behind Rittenhouse. Rittenhouse ran in-between some cars and realized he cornered himself. He turned around and saw Rosenbaum reaching for his rifle and fired four quick shots at him, striking him and killing him. Rittenhouse ran between the cars and back around to Rosenbaum who was now being treated by McGinniss. At this time, the crowd was yelling to get him, threatening him, and were approaching him. Not knowing what to do, he called a friend and started to run away to the police line to get help. All of this was capture on multiple videos. The charge against McGinniss stems from this shooting because Rittenhouse did not know McGinniss was behind Rosenbaum when the shooting occurred.
Rittenhouse began to run towards the police line, which you can clearly see in the videos. He did not run between buildings or away from the police, he was running a bee-line right to them. He asked someone for help, but kept running. At this time, the mob started to chase after him. Someone ran up behind Rittenhouse and struck him in the head, knocking off his hat. It was at this time that Anthony Huber got involved.
Anthony Huber, like Rosenbaum was not a good guy either, having an extensive rap sheet. Again, not relevant to the night in question, but provides an insight to his mental state. He had multiple domestic violence arrests, including arrests for strangulation and false imprisonment. He also had felony gun charges. The narrative that he as some kind of hero is false. As Rittenhouse was running towards the police line and after another rioter hit Rittenhouse in the back of the head, Huber ran up to Rittenhouse and struck him with his skateboard, aiming for Rittenhouse’s head. Rittenhouse blocked the hit, but lost his balance and fell to the ground. Huber lost control of his skateboard and went to retrieve it. While Rittenhouse was on the ground, an unknown man ran up to Rittenhouse and kicked him in the head, spinning him around. Rittenhouse, now defenseless on the ground and unable to escape, took two shots at the man who kicked him. While firing at the unknown man, Huber ran up and struck Rittenhouse in the head and neck with his skateboard again. This time Huber also grabbed the rifle and attempted to pull it away from Rittenhouse. Rittenhouse, under attack by multiple assailants and about to lose his weapon, fired one shot into Huber’s chest, killing him.
While Rittenhouse was under attack, another party, Gaige GrossKreutz illegally carrying a concealed weapon got involved. While Rittenhouse was running away, you see video of GrossKreutz drawing his firearm from a large distance away and chasing after him. GrossKreutz, like Rosenbaum and Huber, also has a checkered past.
GrossKreutz also had a laundry list of charges ranging from a domestic where he struck his grandmother in the face, a felony burglary, stalking an ex-girlfriend and breaking her window, intoxicated with a firearm and recently a DUI the Kenosha Prosecution dropped days before the Rittenhouse trial. He is also suing the city for $10 million dollars for his injuries. On the night of the shooting, he was chasing after Rittenhouse even though he had no interaction with him the entire night. He was running up on Rittenhouse, who was on his back, when Rittenhouse shot Huber in the chest. GrossKreutz flinched and put his hands up and Rittenhouse kept his rifle down. GrossKreutz then lowered his handgun and pointed it towards Rittenhouse who fired one shot into GrossKreutz arm. Grosskreutz admitted on the stand he had advanced on Rittenhouse and aimed his weapon at him. Rittenhouse got up and retreated back to the police line where he tried to turn himself in, but was turned away by the police.
The aftermath of the shooting is when things become a political firestorm. Rittenhouse turns himself in about an hour later and he is charged before the investigation is even started. The media starts to spin their false narrative about Rittenhouse to rile up the public. He asks for a lawyer without giving a statement and is released after his bond is paid. The media calls him out for taking pictures with people, pointing out people the media thinks are from extremist groups. Rittenhouse flashed the “ok” symbol with his hand and he is accused of flashing a white supremist symbol. Its not, never has been and is a fake story design to generate outrage. And for the last year, the DA has tried to build a case. The last two charges were for being in possess of a dangerous weapon by a person under 18 and for violating a curfew.
The prosecution’s case has started to fall apart. They have made many errors in the case and it should be known that there are accusations of prosecutorial misconduct. First, the last two charges were dropped. The state failed to provide proof that Rittenhouse was in violation of a curfew. And since he was the only person they were charging with it, it appeared to be biased and designed as a catch all. They have the names and dozens of others who were there that night and none of them were being charged with curfew violation. The second charge was the dangerous weapon in possession of a person under 18. Turns out, Wisconsin law allows for 16 and 17 year old’s to possess shotguns and rifles as long as they are not short barrel variety, falling under Wisconsin statute 948.60(3)(c). I had said this when they announced that charge, but the judge was the one to throw it out.
During the trial, the prosecutions own witnesses hurt their case. GrossKreutz admitting he point the weapon at Rittenhouse before he was shot proved that Rittenhouse had a reasonable belief his life was at risk. When he admitted that, the prosecution even facepalmed at their desk. Ryan Balch testified that Rosenbaum made threatening statements towards him and Rittenhouse. McGinniss testified that Rosenbaum lunged for Rittenhouse’s rifle and screamed “Fuck you!” when he did it. McGinniss also testified that Rittenhouse was doing everything he could to retreat and escape. These were state witnesses, not the defense.
The prosecutions arguments were weak as well. They asked questions or made statements that were completely ridiculous. Here are a few of them:
- The prosecution tried to make a big deal that Rittenhouse played Call of Duty, a game with hundreds of millions of players. Rittenhouse said he did play the game rarely, but it was just a game and not reality.
- The prosecution tried to connect the AR15 to guns you could use on Call of Duty. First, the AR15 is not in Call of Duty, second, there are dozens of potential weapons that can be used in the game like pistols and shotguns. Rittenhouse told him as much.
- The Prosecution nearly violated Rittenhouse’s 5th amendment rights by saying in front of the jury that he did not give a statement and that implied he was guilty. The Judge scolded the prosecution for this.
- The prosecution belittled Rosenbaum by constantly saying he was not a threat because he was only 5’4″ and unarmed. In the real world, tall men are not the only ones who commit violent crimes, a person who is 5’4″ can be very dangerous. On top of that, more people are killed by unarmed assailants every year than by AR15s. When Rosenbaum tried to take away the rifle from Rittenhouse, this was a strong armed robbery. And Rittenhouse, who had been threatened earlier by Rosenbaum, had a reasonable belief that Rosenbaum would carry out the threat if he took the rifle from him.
- The prosecution tried to imply that since the threat was not heard on video, it didn’t happen. In reality, while there was a lot of video taken during the incident, the DA did not get a copy of every video from every angle from every participant. On top of that, the DA has to prove a threat wasn’t made, not dismiss it because they couldn’t find the video of it. Other witnesses said the threat occurred, including their own state’s witness.
- The prosecution implied that by carrying a firearm, you no longer have the right to defend yourself. That merely possessing the firearm is provocation.
- The prosecution admonished a witness for hiring an attorney before turning over a video, implying bias against the DA’s office. But then in closing, protected Gaige GrossKreutz for hiring an attorney, contradicting their earlier statement.
- The prosecution was clueless about the weapons and ammo. First, the DA asked about hollow point bullets that explode when they hit someone. They don’t explode.
- The prosecution said Rittenhouse was reckless for using full metal jacket ammunition because they over penetrate the target, but this is misleading. First of all, at close range, hollow point ammo will also over penetrate a target. Because of the close proximity, the rounds would have still likely passed thru Rosenbaum.
- The prosecution mislead the jury when he said the bullets could travel over the length of five football fields. Most bullets can. This is actually the distance for accuracy, not range. Many bullets can got that far. A popular online shooter hit a 1,000 yard target with a 9mm pistol.
- The prosecution argued that there are no such thing as left handed rifles. This is also false. You can buy left handed receivers.
- The prosecution argued that having a rifle made Rittenhouse more dangerous than GrossKreutz who only had a handgun. The problem with this argument is that the FBI did a study and found handgun ammo was more likely to over penetrate than a .223 rifle round. It also goes against close quarters combat tactics where handguns are the preferred weapon of choice in short ranges because they are easier and quicker to maneuver in close spaces.
- The prosecution repeatedly said that a skateboard is not a deadly weapon. A skateboard is made with hardened wood, plastic and metal parts. Any of those striking another persons head could cause death or great bodily harm.
- The prosecution mislead the jury when they said that the standard is not about whether force could cause death or great bodily harm, but whether or not death or great bodily harm was imminent. You cannot know if an incoming blow will be fatal or not. You can only assume that it will. If Rittenhouse perceived the threat as having the potential of causing death or great bodily harm, whether it does or not, he can defend himself. You do not have to wait to be struck because you are not sure. If there is a possibility that you can be killed or seriously injured, you can use deadly force.
- The prosecution claimed Rittenhouse provoked the situation by showing up with a rifle. Simply being in possession of a weapon is not provocation. There are millions of lawful weapons carried in this country. If this was truly the standard, not lawful gun carry could ever defend themselves.
- The prosecution tried to show that other members of Rittenhouse’s group did not need to shoot anyone. The difference is that when the altercations started, there were several members of Rittenhouse’s group together, all armed. They didn’t need to shoot anyone because they had each others back. Rittenhouse was alone when he was attacked. He had no help.
- The prosecution try to claim that other people in Rittenhouse’s party said Rosenbaum was not a threat and just babbling on. The person they talked to was a combat veteran US Marine with extensive training. He had other members with him in the group, so he wasn’t alone.
- The prosecution kept asking why Rittenhouse needed a rifle to defend property. He didn’t. He needed the rifle to defend himself. That’s the whole point of the second amendment. He didn’t use the rifle to defend property and the prosecution failed to show any real evidence that he did. They showed distorted, out of focused pictures and told the jury to imagine that was what they saw. One person claimed that Rittenhouse pointed a weapon at him on a video, but the prosecution never called him as a witness. But you never see the weapon pointed at anyone.
- The prosecution claimed that the sling would have prevented the weapon from being taken by Rosenbaum or Huber, but that’s not how slings work. Slings are not retention devises designed to keep your weapon from being taken. They are to support the weapon while you carry it. Rifles with slings can be yanked off of other peoples bodies. I know, we did it easily in the Marines. The sling is not a lock, they come off with enough force. The strap can even be pulled open.
- The prosecution tried to point out that Rittenhouse shooting Rosenbaum four times was excessive. In reality, people in self defense situations often don’t know how many times they pull the trigger. You ask a trained police officer how many times they fired after an officer involved shooting, they are almost always off. Rittenhouse fired all four rounds in less than 1 second. And before the gun control advocates try to make a point out of this, you can fire just as many rounds just as quickly from a handgun. When Rittenhouse started firing, Rosenbaum was lunging at him. Forensic evidence showed that there was stifling and soot on Rosenbaum’s hand and his DNA on the rifle barrel showing that he had been touching the rifle when he was shot. And again, McGinniss testified that Rosenbaum went after the rifle.
- The prosecution said Rittenhouse went to Kenoshi to shoot people, that was his goal. But he had been there for hours without a single incident. He was seen cleaning graffiti and helping people. At no time did he engage with anyone that was not attacking him.
- The prosecution is claiming that Rittenhouse was reckless with the rifle, but the DA himself was reckless in the court room. First, he did not visually inspect the rifle in evidence, then he pointed it in the direction of people, and he had his finger on the trigger while doing so. The hypocrisy of the DA for being reckless with a weapon while saying that Rittenhouse deserves to go to jail for being reckless.
- The prosecution mislead the jury into thinking that what the mob believed is key to their case, saying that they thought they were trying to stop an active shooter. But the legal standard is very clear, it is whether or not what Rittenhouse believed was objectively reasonable determines whether or not he was defending himself.
- The prosecution mislead the jury into thinking that since Rosenbaum’s pelvis was shot, it made him defenseless and not longer a threat to Rittenhouse. But the reality is that Rittenhouse had no way of knowing in the 3/4 of a second he fired all four rounds, the degree in which Rosenbaum was injured. He couldn’t have known. All Rittenhouse knew was this man was attacking him and shot him. And once he was on the ground, Rittenhouse ran away.
- A prosecution witness testified that the prosecution attempted to get him to change his statement, by adding a name of a person he did not know at the time.
These are just the ones at the top of my head. And these are damning pieces of information and evidence that should disrupt the prosecutions case, but juries are mysterious things. They could still convict, but I think there is also enough here for a grounds to appeal, such as the potential prosecutorial misconduct. Regardless, there are upwards of two million defensive gun uses in this country, using a gun to defend yourself is not acting like a vigilante. Possessing a firearm is not provocation. Being someplace you are allowed to be while armed is not provocation. And you do not have the right to chase and attack someone and then attempt to take away their weapon. You do not have the right to un up to someone and hit them with a skateboard in the head. You do not have the right to run up to someone and kick them in the face. You do not have the right to run up to someone and point a gun at them when they are being attacked by a mob. Rittenhouse was trying to escape and was repeatedly attacked by rioters. Whether you think he should have been there or not is irrelevant, the only facts that matter are what happened when Rittenhouse fired his weapon. And in each case, he was actively under attack. That makes his use of force justified. Now we just have to wait and see what the jury says.