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Tipsheet

Two Years Later, Kyle Rittenhouse Still Did Nothing Wrong

Mark Hertzberg/Pool Photo via AP

This week marks two years since the town of Kenosha, Wisconsin found itself in turmoil in the national spotlight when riots broke out after the justified police shooting of 31-year-old Jacob Blake. 

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By August 25, the usually quiet lakeside town was in its third day of widespread looting, rioting, and arson. While the National Guard and other police agencies were entering the area in greater numbers, it was not enough to stop the rampant lawlessness.

The second night of riots had fewer armed civilians in town. The civilians managed to prevent damage to some businesses, however, BLM rioters turned out in greater numbers. 

I'll never forget looking up at the sky and seeing the billows of black smoke, originating from the fires throughout the area. It is due to the fact that law and order had not been restored by night three, a larger group of civilians decided to take up arms to defend local businesses to prevent further destruction. The large turnout of armed civilians made the rioters upset because they couldn't have their way in Kenosha.

Enter 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse from Antioch, Illinois. Police officers had pushed the rioters away from the Kenosha County Courthouse after the mob attacked the building. A fire had been instigated in a parking lot of a nearby business, Car Source, and Rittenhouse was told by a friend to put it out. 

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That is how Rittenhouse ended up alone among the crowd of rioters in the process of destroying Car Source's inventory. 

When Joseph Rosenbaum saw Rittenhouse, who had threatened Rittenhouse earlier in the night, he lunged to attack the teenager. Rittenhouse attempted to flee, but, easy avenues of escape were cut off by the vehicles in the lot. As a shot was fired by someone within the crowd of rioters, Rittenhouse turned around and aimed his AR-15 at Rosenbaum. Rosenbaum did not stop his attempted assault, prompting Rittenhouse to shoot him.

Realizing the mob was about to turn on him, Rittenhouse ran up the street to reach the police line. The crowd gave chase. It was only after Rittenhouse was hit from behind, resulting in him falling down, and was attacked by Anthony Huber and Gaige Grosskreutz, did Rittenhouse shoot.

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The rioters finally took the hint to stop attacking this guy and backed off. Knowing Kenosha was not the best place to turn himself in to law enforcement, Rittenhouse drove back to Illinois to hand himself over to police.

Even though the rest of country was unaware of what exactly took place in Kenosha, many decided the rioters did no wrong and Rittenhouse was labeled a white supremacist terrorist. Had that been the case, Rittenhouse would have been the worst performing white supremacist because he only shot three white men who were actively attacking him.

The trial that took place last fall was not needed, but the mob demanded it. The silver lining to the trial was that it put the events of Aug. 25 on full display, leaving no doubt Rittenhouse was anything but a white supremacist and that he acted in self-defense.

I still remember realizing just how piss poor the prosecution's case was when ADA Binger changed their main argument. The argument went from claiming Rittenhouse chased Rosenbaum first to Rittenhouse first pointing the AR-15 at Rosenbaum and here's a heavily pixelated screenshot to prove it. (Spoiler alert: It did not.)

Myths still permeate the conversation about the whole ordeal, even over the most trivial things that the trial easily disproved:    

  • Rittenhouse's mother did not drop him off in Kenosha.
  • Rittenhouse and the AR-15 were already in Wisconsin by the time the riots broke out.
  • Rittenhouse has deep ties to Kenosha.
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I do not care for the debate over whether or not Rittenhouse should have been on the lawless streets of Kenosha with a rifle that night. He was there. We can't go back and change that. What matters is if he defended himself. 

The facts of the case, backed up by multiple videos, prove he did. The blame, in my view, lies at the feet of state and local officials who clearly did not prepare for BLM riots even though the country had been in thrown into chaos for the summer. Minneapolis, the epicenter of it all, is right next door. The power vacuum created the opportunity for a situation like this to occur.

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