Kyle Rittenhouse got away with murder, acquitted on all charges in the two killings that he admitted to last year, because he was able to convince a Wisconsin jury, with the help of a sympathetic-to-say-the-least judge, that he was acting in self-defense after having brought a rifle across state lines to play vigilante at a protest of the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
It’s infuriating, but not surprising. We all know that if Rittenhouse was Black, there wouldn’t have been a trial because the police who aided him that night in Kenosha would have instead shot him dead. And it was pretty well telegraphed what was going to happen when Judge Bruce Schroeder dismissed the misdemeanor charge against Rittenhouse for possession of a dangerous weapon by a minor, because, as Schroeder said, “I have big problems with this statute, I’ve made no bones about that from the beginning.” As if it’s a criminal court judge’s duty to interpret the validity of a law.
The entire trial shone a spotlight, as Colin Kaepernick noted, on either how broken the system is in America, or how perfectly it’s functioning as an intended tool to extend white supremacy, depending on how you prefer to frame it.
The worst people in America spent Friday afternoon celebrating the verdict: from Matt Gaetz to Marjorie Taylor Greene to Tucker Carlson. To the right wing in this country, Rittenhouse is not only “not guilty,” he’s a hero to be celebrated. “One of good ones,” as Greene tweeted, not managing to include the word “the” in her excitement about the killer of two people facing zero consequences for his actions.
Two people are dead, another is hurt, lives of loved ones forever altered, and these people are overcome with joy.
Count among them 2020 National League Cy Young winner and 2021 MLB administrative leave stalwart Trevor Bauer, who saw the opportunity to use Rittenhouse’s acquittal to allude to his own situation, allegations of sexual assault that, again, are severe and credible enough that his season ended in June.
Again, people are dead and lives ruined. And this guy decides that it’s the perfect opportunity to make a snarky point about “the media” to try to exculpate himself.
Somehow, even in that, Bauer missed the point. It wasn’t about not knowing all the facts. The facts were not in dispute. Rittenhouse killed those people. He traveled from Illinois to Wisconsin, with a gun, looking for trouble. He found it. The fact that the “justice system” provides an out for murder charges for him is not an exoneration, and it does not free Rittenhouse from facing a civil suit from his victims’ families.
Bauer should know by now, too, that the criminal justice system is not the end-all, be-all of determining facts or liability. He’s already missed a half-season because of that indisputable fact, and Major League Baseball is not a Wisconsin courtroom.