The conclusion of the Kyle Rittenhouse trial, in which the 18-year-old was found not guilty of murder or assault in the shootings of three rioters in the city of Kenosha, Wisconsin, reflects a widening gap in how Americans conceive of justice and self-defense.
For those cheering Rittenhouse’s exoneration, the case was a prototypical demonstration of rights and obligations of republican citizenship. A lawfully armed Rittenhouse joined with neighbors, in the absence of effective governance, to protect lives and property by putting out fires, cleaning up damage, and offering medical assistance to the injured. When he was directly assaulted for engaging in this activity, Rittenhouse defended himself, harming no one who had not directly placed him under reasonable fear for his life.
The antifa agitator who was shot in the arm by Kyle Rittenhouse admitted on Monday that he was shot only after he had advanced on the teen and pointed his gun at him. Gaige Grosskreutz took the stand on the fifth day of the Rittenhouse trial, hoping to strengthen the prosecution’s case against the teen. Instead, one of the prosecuting attorneys was seen literally face-palming during his cross-examination.
Defense attorney Corey Chirafisi also forced Grosskreutz to admit that he’s “affiliated” with the violent Peoples Revolution, a Milwaukee-based communist militia group; that his gun permit had expired; that he had lied to the police shortly after the shooting; and that he has $10 million staked on Rittenhouse being found guilty.
Grosskreutz testified earlier that after hearing the initial gunshots, he had only followed Rittenhouse because he believed he was an active shooter. He also said that even though he was armed with a handgun, he did not intend to shoot Rittenhouse.