Facts and Feelings: Kyle Rittenhouse’s verdict and its implications


Kyle Rittenhouse was found guilty on all charges on Nov.19th. The trial captured the nation’s attention and spurred political bias. It is a trial of facts and feelings. Photo courtesy of NBC News.

Longxuan (Barry) Yao, Editor-In-Chief

On Nov.19th, 2021, the jury of Kyle Rittenhouse’s murder trial unanimously concluded to acquit the defendant, Kyle Rittenhouse, of all criminal charges, following a few days of deliberations. The news comes as a surprise to some, but well-expected to many, not because he was a “racist, Trumpist kid, who was looking for trouble in Kenosha, Wisconsin; but he was a kid who was ‘protecting private property’ but happened to got into a situation he was forced to protect himself,” as established by the verdict. 

The jury found that Kyle Rittenhouse’s charges, which includes:

  1. One count of First Degree intentional homicide
  2. One count of Attempted first-degree intentional homicide
  3. One count of First-degree reckless homicide
  4. Two counts of First-degree recklessly endangering safety
Kyle Rittenhouse’s charges are all dismissed by the jury, after four days of careful deliberations.

are not appropriate, thus not guilty. The verdict, undoubtedly, will come as a “slap-in-the-face” to mainstream media, who preconceived that Kyle Rittenhouse is a “vigilante, white-supremacist, domestic terrorist,” despite the three men he shot were all white. 

During the trial, the state (prosecution) did a great job at providing Kyle Rittenhouse a defence, as if they had forgotten what team they were on. For example, the prosecutor pointed out how Joseph Rosenbaum (the first person killed) had been committing crimes like arson not long before chasing Rittenhouse. The prosecution attorney, Thomas Binger, even went as far as saying he “would have prosecuted Rosenbaum if Rosenbaum had survived.”

In its entirety, the trial was really about the interpretation of blurry videos of the events that transpired in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The state claimed that Rittenhouse provoked the three men, thereby forfeiting the right to self-defence; the defence argued that there was no provocation. The case hinged on whether or not the jury believed that Kyle Rittenhouse had pointed his AR-15 at the three men justifiably and whether or not the men believed Rittenhouse was an active shooter.

Bluntly, it was clear that the charges against Kyle Rittenhouse should have never been filed in the first place because he appeared to be acting in self-defence, and there was no evidence of provocation. Despite this, it was essential to some that Rittenhouse be tried to make a political statement. The trial became a referendum on gun rights, the definition of self-defence, and what is permissible during a protest. The fact did not matter to many people who had strong political views about the meaning of the case. Regrettably, certain people were fearful and hopeful about the trial’s outcome: fearful in a sense that the result maybe against the political beliefs; hopeful in that it may reinforce those beliefs.

Both Biden and Kamala Harris, including other prominent politicians espoused incorrect facts against Kyle Rittenhouse. Labeling the 18-year-old defendant as a “white supremacist.”

So what does the verdict mean? This is a tricky question since it has different meanings for different people. Nevertheless, the verdict suggests that the jury ignored the political nonsense mainstream media has advanced throughout the trial and decided based on the evidence. The decision was made on what was presented to them; and if you had watched the trial, you would conclude that the verdict is correct.

For some people on the left, the verdict implies that the people protesting or rioting, depending on one’s point of view, need to refrain from attacking people. Simply being armed at a protest does not constitute provocation, it is not okay to merely chase and attack armed people. For some on the right, the verdict is viewed as a victory because it upholds the right to self-defence, even in a situation where a person inserted himself into a conflict. This verdict might make protesters or rioters think twice before violating the rights of others; essentially, the verdict may be viewed as a restriction by the left, and validation by the right. Ultimately, many people will look at the verdict as a victory for conservative values.

What is fascinating about this case is that it became a referendum when it should not have. The outcome of a criminal trial should not be interpreted as supporting or refuting a political belief. The verdict in a criminal trial is based on whether a defendant “is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.” The verdict should not be viewed as an opinion about whether Rittenhouse’s actions were morally right or wrong. The verdict is only restricted to guilty or not guilty. The jury could believe that Rittenhouse’s actions were morally wrong, even criminally wrong, but they were not wrong beyond a “reasonable doubt.” Many people believed that O.J. Simpson was guilty of murder, but a jury found him not guilty. A verdict is about a particular case; it does not necessarily extend to the entire world. 

Kyle Rittenhouse’s trial became a political one.

This case ubiquitously demonstrate the extent to which the United States is divided along political lines. This was a clear-cut case of self-defence; it was not a good “test case” to be polarized. There was not a lot of murky area to explore and to make into a political topic, but in this corrupt environment, each side is latching onto anything that can support their respective viewpoints; all are looking to confirm that the other side is evil. To them, political beliefs are prioritized, and facts come in second; even more likely, facts were never considered. 

The politicians and the mainstream media have used Kyle Rittenhouse as a puppet to justify their view on American society; all are deplorable. In hindsight, Kyle Rittenhouse’s trial should not have been viewed through a “racial lens,” which, unfortunately, many people did, and they are paying for the price of neglecting the facts. Honestly, Kyle Rittenhouse’s verdict never divided America; it was the lies the politicians and the media espoused that did the damage.