Mark Figley: Straight talk about Kyle Rittenhouse

By Mark Figley - Guest Columnist

Following the not guilty verdict in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial, no less than VP Kamala Harris opined that there is much to do to make America’s criminal justice system “more equitable.” Other assorted blowhards continued to feed the worn-out narrative that justice wasn’t served. But alas, one voice of reason brought light to this sordid story.

In the days immediately following this historic verdict, Fox News’ Tucker Carlson sat down for an in-depth interview with Rittenhouse, whose name is forever linked with the events which occurred in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on August 25, 2020.

From the beginning, Rittenhouse came across as not especially political (though he admittedly believes in the Black Lives Matter movement). He expressed strong support for law enforcement and stated that his primary motivation during the Kenosha unrest was helping to protect a city which was literally on fire; one he has deep ties to and where many of his family reside.

What originally started out as a plan to clean up graffiti, and then to actively help protect an auto business from further destruction by rioters, quickly devolved into mayhem; aided by a governor who refused to call in the National Guard.

Rittenhouse related that many people were observed to be carrying firearms that night. Joseph Rosenbaum, the first individual he shot in self-defense, was present with someone who discharged a weapon. Rittenhouse reiterated that Rosenbaum threatened to kill him prior to attempting to grab his rifle. Rosenbaum also spewed continuous threats and repeatedly used the “N” word, which caused other rioters to actively distance themselves from him.

Rittenhouse later defended himself from Anthony Huber, who he shot and killed after Huber struck him in the back of the head with a skateboard. Finally, Rittenhouse wounded Gaige Grosskreutz, who admitted in testimony to pointing a loaded gun at Kyle moments before being shot. In each instance, Rittenhouse believed he was going to die.

Following these chaotic events, Rittenhouse was in shock, but tried to surrender himself to nearby police who instead pepper sprayed him. Eventually, he would also attempt to turn himself in to police in his hometown of Antioch, Illinois, before any criminal complaint was even filed.

While criticizing the prosecution for rushing to appease the “mob” and seeking to conceal video evidence that proved his innocence, Rittenhouse was also critical of his two original attorneys, including the famed Lynn Wood. Among his complaints: They were content to let him sit in jail, claimed he was in an “unorganized militia,” and “used me as a cause.”

Rittenhouse detailed his 87 days in a jail cell as like being in a “one-star hotel,” not even showering or having running water for a period of three weeks, though he praised his jailers as being genuinely decent and respectful.

To Rittenhouse, his case was always about self-defense, and race never played a part in the story. When asked about Joe Biden’s baseless characterization of him as a “white supremacist,” Rittenhouse calmly replied, “He should go back and watch the trial.” (Rittenhouse could have added that everyone involved in the case was white). Kyle called the media’s conduct similarly disgraceful and indicated that his lawyers are handling any possible defamation lawsuits.

Kyle always believed that God was on his side, and that he would be found innocent, but worried every day about spending life in prison. He never sought celebrity and wishes Kenosha had never happened, now yearning for the day when he can live a quiet, stress-free life. His future plans include pursuing a career in nursing or law at Arizona State University.

In the meantime, Rittenhouse is troubled by nightly dreams, waking up in a cold sweat, and reliving events that have forever changed his life. Yet he remains an articulate, grounded young man, far more mature than his 18 years, who believes the right to protest doesn’t include the right to burn down a city. And that makes him a far different person than the monster he was portrayed to be.

By Mark Figley

Guest Columnist

Mark Figley is a political activist and guest columnist from Elida. His column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Lima News editorial board or AIM Media, owner of The Lima News.

Mark Figley is a political activist and guest columnist from Elida. His column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Lima News editorial board or AIM Media, owner of The Lima News.

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