Despite last year’s racial justice demonstrations and actual political change initiatives, the system that devalues Black lives remains largely and firmly intact. Kyle Rittenhouse, an 18-year-old on trial in Kenosha, Wisconsin, for shooting three people and murdering two of them, symbolizes White privilege gone awry in America.
During dramatic testimony on Wednesday, Rittenhouse, who has pleaded not guilty to six charges including reckless homicide, criminal homicide, and attempted intentional homicide, cried.
Anyone observing the proceedings who was unaware of the events leading up to this trial could be directed to think Rittenhouse was the victim rather than the suspected perpetrator of a horrible act. Nevertheless, his long sobs and the people’s telling reactions to them spoke a lot about where America is right now.
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Whether or not Rittenhouse is found guilty, the viewpoint he represents fueled by White Americans’ fury, fear, and prejudice has already achieved its goals: normalizing a type of racial privilege revealed, but far from extinguished, in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder last year.
During racial justice protests in Kenosha in the summer of 2020, Rittenhouse allegedly crossed state lines, driving from his birthplace of Antioch, Illinois, and equipping himself with an AR-15 style rifle.
However, with his tears on the evidence, Rittenhouse attempted to present himself as a non-aggressor, saying he was afraid for his life. He fatally shot Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, and shot wounded Gaige Grosskreutz, 27. The baby-faced vigilante has been praised as a paragon of virtue brave enough to stand up to the nefarious powers of the Black Lives Matter movement by many in the far right-wing political establishment.
His case explains how racism shapes America’s inequitable criminal justice system. On Tuesday, a detective testified that Gregory McMichael told him he never saw Arbery commit a crime, even though a reasonable suspicion of one is required for a citizen’s arrest to be legal. After the shooting, another police officer stated that he never mentioned a citizen’s arrest to McMichael.
source: CNN News