Trials and errors

The trial of Kyle Rittenhouse was held this week, with his lawyers bringing evidence that the teenager was acting in self-defense when he killed two men and shot another. A key witness for the prosecution admitted, under oath, that he had pulled his gun first, before being shot in the arm by Rittenhouse. The witness, Gaige Grosskreutz, later contradicted his testimony during an interview with CNN, and that version of the story Mainstream Media was happy to amplify.

Rittenhouse took the stand in his own defense, but broke down before he could complete his testimony. The Babylon Bee‘s sarcasm was apt— Rittenhouse had been tried and found guilty by a “bunch of lunatics with blue checks.” LeBron James tweeted that the teen was faking and Merriam-Webster felt it needed to explain what “crocodile tears” are. Yet, despite the efforts of news outlets and social media to obscure or block reports about the trial, interest in it has highlighted the way a hastily constructed narrative is often a skewed one. With the race riots of last summer clearly in view, many assumed the victims were black. It was also assumed that Rittenhouse was the aggressor, but evidence is mounting that that is not the case.

The easy explanation given by large media outlets through last year, is a familiar one— Rittenhouse is a trigger-happy white male who went to a protest to shoot people, because he is a racist vigilante. Journalist Elijah Schaffer was in Kenosha during the events and shares a very different perspective. He watched the riots go unchecked by police and authorities for two days before the citizens of the city took it upon themselves to protect businesses and buildings. He saw residents prevent rioters from setting fire to a gas station, provoking them to chase Rittenhouse.

The court of public opinion will not rest any time soon, but the truth under the presuppositions of media reports is evident if you are willing to dig for it. For many, this trial is about guns and race and rioting. But at its heart is the life and reputation of a young man, who had a desire to do something to defend what he cares about. Whether the tragic shootings could have been avoided, whether Rittenhouse was ill-advised or brave, this case will cause sober-minded folks to reflect on what is worth defending in this decaying age. Pray for wisdom for the judge and jury as they hear more evidence and decide the case. Pray for peace in our nation. 

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