Rittenhouse misdeeds are “written off!”

Kenosha County Circuit Court Judge Bruce E. Shroder told the Defence Attorney in the Kyle Rittenhouse case, “Demonize them if you want and if you think it will help win points with the jury.”

He felt that the “people” Rittenhouse had murdered and injured should not be called victims as calling them victims would be prejudicial to the accusers and is a “loaded term.”

Shroder said that they could use the words rioters or looters but not victims. 

To recap:

Kyle Rittenhouse was 17 years old when he armed himself with an AR-type semi-automatic rifle (he was legally not allowed to have a firearm), crossed county lines to “protect” property from the “looters.”

Rittenhouse, an “aspiring police officer,” shot and killed Joseph Rosenbaum, Anthony Huber, and injured Gaige Grosskreutz.

He has pleaded not guilty, saying he acted in self-defence.

Let’s do this:

I want you to imagine a 17-year-old African American young man walking down the street armed with an assault rifle, ready to “protect” property that was being set alight.

Would the police have allowed the Black young man to walk with authority through the streets of a town (even if it was to protect property)?

Would those same police officers thank him, offer him water and salute him for his bravery?

Would white people have crowdfunded an African American young man who murdered and injured people?

Would he be seen as a hero to some for killing people on the street protesting the killing of an unarmed Black man Jacob Blake by a police officer: Jacob Blake was shot several times in the back.

Once arrested, would a Judge declare that calling the murdered people victims would be prejudicial? Considering two of them are dead.

Systemic racism is pervasive and woven into the very fabric of society. It is almost “natural” for people to view Rittenhouse as a hero when looking at his “innocent” face and declaring that he was brave. 

However, this is about more than the white supremacists who think he is a hero. It is about the average white American looking at his “doe-eyed” innocence and allowing bias to enter their minds.

We can’t look at people and immediately see white innocence and Black guilt, then lie to ourselves by denying that bias (conscious or unconscious) is at play.

Kyle Rittenhouse could be at home, hanging out with his friends and family if prejudice had not driven him to believe that Black people are inherently violent.

In my opinion, there would have been no need for people to protest in Kenosha if the police saw Jacob Blake with the same eyes they did Rittenhouse. Jacob Blake and many others would be alive if we took a moment to remove our biased lenses and replace them with our human ones.

I know that the victims of the Kenosha shooting were white, but I also know that often white allies are treated as if they “betrayed” their own. The two murder victims cannot speak for themselves, and it is up to us to “speak for them” because even if they were guilty of “looting,” they should have been arrested, not murdered.