Kyle Rittenhouse shot three white men in Kenosha, Minnesota last year. Nonetheless, his case is the largest racial controversy in the country today, drawing far more media attention than the Ahmaud Arbery case or the civil suit against Unite the Right organizers in Charlottesville.
Mr. Rittenhouse — whom the police once identified as “Hispanic” in a separate, traffic case — was protecting property and people in Kenosha during a riot by Black Lives Matter supporters. He shot his attackers on the second night of disorder. The National Guard is on standby in Kenosha because trouble may result after the verdict. If the Guard had been used last year, Mr. Rittenhouse probably would not have had to go to Kenosha.
Mr. Rittenhouse’s critics see him not just as a young man, but as a stand-in for a whole system. Ibram Kendi, the MacArthur Genius Grant recipient and well-known “antiracist” author, sweepingly declared that Derek Chauvin and Kyle Rittenhouse “compressed 413 years of American history into a cellphone video” that revealed the “violent ‘self-defense’ of white male supremacy.” He also invoked “colonialism, capitalism, slavery and slave trading, Indian removal, manifest destiny, colonization, the Ku Klux Klan, Chinese exclusion, disenfranchisement, Jim Crow, eugenics, massive resistance, ‘law and order,’ Islamophobia, [and] family separation,” all “in the name of defending life or civilization or freedom.” It’s quite a burden for the 18-year-old to bear.
Mr. Kendi’s blather notwithstanding, what happened is more straightforward. The New York Times and NBC News have broken down exactly what happened that night. One Joseph Rosenbaum, a sex offender who was taunting Kyle Rittenhouse and screaming racial slurs before the incident, was the first attacker. He threw a plastic bag at Rittenhouse (which may have contained a chemical bomb) and allegedly lunged for Kyle Rittenhouse’s weapon. A crowd then chased Mr. Rittenhouse, who fired in what seems like clear self-defense.
If Kyle Rittenhouse did not have a weapon to defend himself, this was going to be his fate
This trail represents all of us; whether we truly have the right to keep & bear arms & a right to defend ourselves with those arms #KyleRittenhouseIsInnocent pic.twitter.com/GYXtoMiP5e
— Melissa Tate (@TheRightMelissa) November 17, 2021
However, the prosecution in this case has argued that the “crowd was full of heroes” trying to disarm an “active shooter.” Mr. Rittenhouse was running away from his attackers, hardly typical active-shooter behavior. The prosecution has emphasized Mr. Rittenhouse’s AR-15 and “full metal jacket” ammunition. If Mr. Rittenhouse had wanted to kill people at random, he could have done so easily.
Nonetheless, that may not matter. What jurors feel about the political meaning of Kyle Rittenhouse may determine his fate. Certainly, journalists and activists agree with Mr. Kendi. Kyle Rittenhouse is a stand-in for whites, and they want him to suffer or die.
— Andy Ngô 🏳️🌈 (@MrAndyNgo) November 17, 2021
Tara Dublin, who enjoys a blue checkmark on Twitter, suggested that Mr. Rittenhouse will be raped in prison.
Kyle Rittenhouse and his supporters are, of course, racist.
This #Rittenhouse case is reminiscent of Chaney, Goodman, & Schwerner during the Civil rights movement of the 60’s.
Good white people tried to do the right thing by protecting the rights of Black people who were marginalized, & they ended up getting killed by white supremacists pic.twitter.com/xMQpejHB5s
— Tariq Nasheed 🇺🇸 (@tariqnasheed) November 15, 2021
At least some progressives think the people Kyle Rittenhouse shot were heroes, despite their criminal records. Gage Grosskreutz, who survived, admitted that Mr. Rittenhouse didn’t fire until Mr. Grosskreutz pointed his own gun at him. Despite Mr. Grosskreutz’s ties with a leftist group called “People’s Revolution,” he dressed up in a suit after his testimony to speak to “Good Morning America” as the “sole survivor.” The official YouTube page of the interview has more than 48 thousand dislikes compared to fewer than 800 likes. (I note in passing that YouTube will soon be disabling the dislike option to fight “trolls.”)
.@Julio_Rosas11 speaks to a woman in #Kenosha with a sign in support of child sex offender Joseph Rosenbaum, domestic abuser Anthony Huber & gun convict Gaige Grosskreutz. #Rittenhouse pic.twitter.com/HBvXFNbt4h
— Andy Ngô 🏳️🌈 (@MrAndyNgo) November 15, 2021
Some publications have criticized what they see as “paramilitary” action by Mr. Rittenhouse and others like him.
- Kyle Rittenhouse and the New Era of Political Violence, New York Times, October 26, 2021
- Kyle Rittenhouse, American Vigilante, New Yorker, July 5, 2021
- Column: The Kyle Rittenhouse trial and the threat of white vigilantes, Daily Tar Heel, November 17, 2021
Judge Bruce Schroeder has been criticized by both sides. Some conservatives were upset yesterday that he didn’t dismiss all charges with prejudice (meaning Mr. Rittenhouse couldn’t be tried again) after prosecutors allegedly mishandled evidence. Nonetheless, leftists go much farther. Many people have called the judge a racist. Some have threatened him, telling him “he won’t live long” or that it would be right to “spit in his face.” Someone else wanted the judge’s children dead. The Associated Press noted that the judge has been too friendly to the defense, according to “some observers.” Of course, “some observers” can be counted on to have opinions about anything.
Jurors no doubt feel pressured. MSNBC reportedly sent a reporter to follow a juror bus; Judge Schroeder therefore banned MSNBC from the courtroom today.
BREAKING: Judge Schroeder bans MSNBC from the Rittenhouse trial after a possible doxxing attempt by a crazy producer, James G. Morrison, was caught following the jury bus transporting them away from the courthouse. Morrison blew through a red light trying to keep up with the bus. pic.twitter.com/Q0v9smBCgr
— Nicholas Fondacaro (@NickFondacaro) November 18, 2021
There have already been clashes in Kenosha between Mr. Rittenhouse’s supporters and detractors. One anti-Rittenhouse supporter (as we can see from his vulgar shirt) body-slammed a reporter. Police arrested another anti-Rittenhouse thug on various charges, including disorderly conduct.
Countless people on Twitter and elsewhere have claimed that Mr. Rittenhouse “didn’t belong” in Kenosha that night, as if the rioters had more right to be there than he did. The point is that last year, Americans saw police fail to put down arson and looting. The former Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Mark Milley (best known for presiding over the collapse in Afghanistan and wanting to understand “white rage”) reportedly prevented President Donald Trump from using troops. The Potomac Regime gave Americans of all races a clear message: We were on our own. The state didn’t fulfill its part of the social contract to protect life and property. At that point, citizens have a duty to step in.
However, while the state was nowhere to be found during many riots last year, the Rittenhouse trial sends a message that Tucker Carlson dissected:
You have no right to resist. That’s the whole point of this whole proceeding. So the next time BLM sweeps into your town, your neighborhood, your house, to burn and loot and brandish weapons, you had better not try to protect yourself and your family. Try to protect yourself or your family, and we will charge you with murder. And while we’re at it, we’ll have the national media call you racist.
Some outlets seem more focused on race than, well, AmRen is. Politico published an article claiming the Rittenhouse trial is “all about race,” even though everyone involved was white. Steven Wright, formally of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, is quoted as saying people of color “get very nervous when white people start getting guns and start trying to enforce the law on their own.”
The Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder admits that Mr. Rittenhouse didn’t actually shoot any non-whites, but it seems like he did. “In this truly disturbing trial (only in America!) the shooter is White,” author Mel Reeves wrote, “the men he killed and wounded are White, and yet the specter of Jim Crow bigotry and racist jurisprudence hangs over the proceedings like the ghost of the past that is still haunting our present.” For good measure, he compared the “likeness and behavior” of the judge to that of Roland Friesler, head of National Socialist Germany’s People’s Court from 1942 to 1945.
It’s almost a waste of time to quote black New York Times columnist Charles Blow, since you already know what he’s going to say. His column (“White Men on Trial”) lumped Kyle Rittenhouse in with the defendants from the Ahmaud Arbery trial, January 6, and Steve Bannon as examples of whites who were “behaving as if they were above the law, as if the law didn’t truly apply to them.”
Mr. Blow got it precisely backwards. For months in 2020, white Americans saw riots in cities around the country, and watched police, FBI agents, and troops kneeling to protesters. From 2019 to 2020, the murder rate increased by the largest single-year percentage ever. In 2019, a Michigan court overturned a murder conviction from 2013 because one juror may have made “racist remarks” (the juror denies it). The Minneapolis Supreme Court recently overturned the murder conviction of black Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor, who shot an unarmed white woman in 2017 in a case that seems far more straightforward than that of George Floyd and Derek Chauvin. Earlier this year, a jury found Devon Dunham, a young black man who confessed to shooting an elderly white man, Ernst Martin Stevens, not guilty. He claimed that though he approached Mr. Stevens, he “felt threatened.” In 2016, Above the Law executive director Elie Mystal urged juries to acquit any black defendants tried for any crime against whites or “white institutions.”
The trial is about race, but not in the way leftists think. It’s about race because it’s about whether white people are allowed to defend themselves. The state is not doing its job to protect lives and property. Now, we will learn whether the state will let us protect our own lives and property. If the answer is “no,” it’s hard to see in what way this government is legitimate. As I argued at the American Renaissance conference, the real “racial reckoning” is the one the ruling class must have with whites. We are the ones under attack, we are the ones being exploited, and we are the ones who deserve apologies, reparations, justice, and self-government. If our rulers can take down Kyle Rittenhouse, then they can take down anyone.
I don’t want Kyle Rittenhouse to suffer so I want him to be acquitted. Still, if he were convicted of any charge, perhaps it will awaken whites to the nature of the system that rules them. I don’t want Mr. Rittenhouse to be an unwilling martyr, but under this regime, that may be his fate.