The Strength of American Due Process: Rittenhouse’s Acquittal

A law enforcement patrol car sits in front of the Kenosha County Courthouse - Kenosha, Wisconsin.

November 29, 2021

On Friday, November 19th, Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted on all charges in what has become one of the most controversial and politically charged murder trials in modern American history, next to the recent conviction of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd.

Rittenhouse was originally arrested on August 26, 2020, after shooting three people with an AR-15. He traveled from his Illinois home to the city of Kenosha, Wisconsin in the midst of riots catalyzed by the shooting of Jacob Blake at the hands of a police officer.

It is important to make the distinction between what one personally condones and what is simply a matter of law. Kyle Rittenhouse made an unwise decision to inject himself into a violent, volatile situation. But if Rittenhouse incurs moral culpability for his actions, then so do the rioters who created the civil unrest in Kenosha to begin with. 

Arguably, the Rittenhouse case should have never been brought to trial, as it reeked of political pandering from the start. The authorities charged Rittenhouse immediately with three felonies, of which were: first degree reckless homicide, use of a deadly weapon; first degree recklessly endangering safety, use of a dangerous weapon; and first degree intentional homicide, use of a dangerous weapon. 

Rittenhouse was 17 at the time, and given the evidence presented at the trial by the defense, it’s clear that he exercised his fundamental right of self defense. Rittenhouse was attacked by three men, one of whom clubbed him on the head with a skateboard, and another of whom attempted to grab Rittenhouse’s weapon, and another who plainly admitted on the stand that Rittenhouse only discharged his weapon after he pointed his gun at Rittenhouse. 

Rittenhouse’s acquittal serves as a testament to the sheer might and durability of Due Process. The slanderous behavior exhibited by the media, the inflamed tensions of angry mobs, all of which was and still continues to be encouraged by political pundits, politicians, and legal experts who should know better, were ultimately defeated by the rule of law. Kyle Rittenhouse was afforded the right to a fair, public, and speedy trial by a jury of his peers, and that is what was delivered to him in practice. 

To have advocated for Kyle Rittenhouse’s conviction was to have advocated for the death of the law in this country. When equipped with basic reasoning skills and common sense, one could watch the trial and conclude that Rittenhouse defended himself; yet, many who watched it claim to have seen a different, more cynical reality; namely, that a white supremacist, in a trial in which only whites were shot, was let free by a white supremacist judge. And then on the other hand, many who have expressed their opinions have appeared so humanely ignorant that it appears as if they haven’t seen the trial at all. 

Those on the political left have since criticized the verdict. UC Berkeley professor and former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich took to Twitter stating:

According to Reich, the same system that acquitted Rittenhouse is the same system that found Crystal Mason guilty for illegally voting. Reich could have made a more accurate comparison by stating that the same system that acquitted Rittenhouse also acquitted Andrew Coffee IV. 

Andrew Coffee IV was on trial for the murder of his pregnant girlfriend and attempted murder of three officers. But neither Coffee nor the system that ruled in his favor is considered a perpetuation of white supremacy; many aren’t even aware of the incident or case. Why? 

A third case is Gregory and Travis McMichael and William Bryan, recently found guilty of the murder of Ahmaud Arbery by a nearly all-white jury.

Ahmaud Arbery was chased down by both Gregory and Travis McMichael, as well as William Bryan, and was shot to death by Travis McMichael. Arbery was accused by the McMichaels and Bryan of robbing their neighbor’s home, citing security footage. However, there is no evidence that Arbery was the robber captured by the footage. The conviction of the McMichaels and Bryan was a slam dunk, with the justice system rightfully punishing three men who decided to exercise vigilante justice, which resulted in the murder of an innocent man.

The logic of the Robert Reichs of the world—that Rittenhouse’s conviction is indicative of a deeper, structural racism in our justice system—doesn’t hold up when that same system reveals its capacity to hand down just verdicts. It would appear that the justice system is only systemically racist when it yields results that are ideologically undesirable to the left. 

The media determines, according to what can be manipulated by narrative, what is globally newsworthy. Outlets like The Independent were reporting that Rittenhouse had shot three black men, which is false. Everyone involved was white. 

Comically, white supremacy has become so rampant that outlets need to lie about racial involvement in order to prove its existence. The lie seems only to work on those who demonstrate their ignorance of the trial by regurgitating the talking points found on social media, where information is redacted and shown in half-truths; with one image of the many accompanied with 250 characters of rhetoric that claims to know more than a jury that deliberated all of the evidence and facts of the case; or an infographic found on Instagram that people post to their stories, whereupon sharing they can rest easy that they have made the world a safer space by reaffirming to their followers that they, too, are outraged that their preconceived notions of the world have been shattered.   

Rittenhouse ought to be commended for his remarkable ability, as a 17-18 year old, to remain as calm and emotionally composed as he did throughout the trial. The slandering he endured, by political pundits and the mainstream media alike, was wholly undeserved. The left attempted to politically railroad Rittenhouse to turn him into something that he clearly wasn’t, and to then make an example out of him: those who we consider a white supremacist must be stripped of their constitutional rights and hung in the public square, because the people (the mob) demand it.

American Pigeon would also like to offer its commendations to the jurists, all of whom exercised their constitutional obligations carefully and diligently. They reviewed and deliberated the evidence and resisted the urge to cave to the demands and threats of violence from angry mobs, even when they were reportedly photographed and followed by an MSNBC reporter. The end result of their courage, in the face of political and social unrest, is justice. 

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