It was hard to watch Kyle Rittenhouse break down during almost five hours in the witness box Wednesday.
Over and over, he was forced to relive the traumatic evening of August 24, 2020, when he was chased by a murderous antifa mob and ended up shooting dead two of his attackers and wounding a third in riot-plagued Kenosha, Wis.
He was 17 at the time.
Taking a life bears heavily on any normal person, and the baby-faced teen was overcome with emotion as he recounted the moment when he found himself cornered, an angry mob in front of him, and an aggressive Joseph Rosenbaum lunging for his rifle.
“If I would had let Mr. Rosenbaum get my gun, he would have killed me,” he told the court.
“He was chasing me. I was alone. He threatened to kill me earlier in that night . . .
“He was going to take my gun and kill me. I wanted him to stop. I didn’t want to have to kill Mr. Rosenbaum.”
As Rittenhouse shook with anguished sobs, sociopathic ghouls on Twitter accused him of faking it.
His mother wept, too, sitting in court, helplessly watching as her only son is dragged through what can only be described as a political show trial.
Not that you would know it from pathologically slanted coverage of the trial from the same media that downplayed last summer’s Black Lives Matter-antifa riots, but Rittenhouse regarded Kenosha as “my community.”
“He crossed state lines” is a familiar shriek, because he lived in Antioch, Ill., with his single mother and two sisters, he told the court. But his father lived in Kenosha, as did his grandmother, aunt, cousins and best friend.
He had a job as a lifeguard in Kenosha and had worked a shift that day before he joined a group of volunteers scrubbing graffiti off the wall of a local school that had been vandalized by the rioters.
He kept his gun at his friend’s stepfather’s house in Kenosha, so he did not bring it into Wisconsin. He crossed state lines only when Kenosha police wouldn’t let him surrender to them after the shootings. So he went to the closest police station he knew, a few miles away, in Illinois. Within an hour of the shootings, he had given himself up to police there.
The narrative painted in the media is so at odds with evidence in court, it makes you wonder what agenda is at work here. Why does almost everyone who leans Democrat want to convict Rittenhouse and lock him in prison for the rest of his life?
He should never have been charged with murder. He was defending his life. The people who should be in the dock are the cowardly adults in charge of Kenosha who allowed the town to descend into anarchy on three shocking nights in which rioters conducted the familiar campaign of violence and arson that marked the period leading up to the presidential election.
Those riots across the country were orchestrated to terrorize communities and foment a sense of chaos under Donald Trump.
Then-candidate Joe Biden capitalized on the violence. He framed the riots as a righteous response to non-existent “systemic” police racism. And he began to craft the narrative he would use to frame Trump and the then-president’s voters as white supremacists.
Biden branded Rittenhouse a “white supremacist,” although all the men Kyle shot were was white as he is.
Four weeks after the Kenosha riots, Biden tweeted out a video that contained a still image of Rittenhouse holding his AR-15 rifle that night, with a caption accusing Trump of refusing to “disavow white supremacists.”
In court Wednesday, Rittenhouse described the nightmare of being separated from the group of good Samaritans he was helping protect businesses in Kenosha on the second night of rioting after police had abandoned the town. He gave first aid to passersby and put out fires lit by rioters in dumpsters, at a school and a church, He was there to help, because the people in charge had run away.
Rosenbaum, 36, was a pitiable figure who never should have been on the streets. He was a convicted pedophile with bipolar disorder who had just been released that day from a psychiatric ward in a Milwaukee hospital after a suicide attempt. He appeared deeply unwell, carrying a heavy chain in one hand, swearing, using the N-word and looking for trouble. He already had twice threatened to kill Rittenhouse and his group and “cut our hearts out,” Kyle said.
Rittenhouse described another man, Joshua Ziminski, 35, who pointed a gun at him just before Rosenbaum chased him into a parking lot. “Mr. Ziminski was instructing Mr. Rosenbaum to ‘get [him] and kill him,’ ” Rittenhouse testified.
It was Ziminski who allegedly fired the shot behind Rittenhouse that escalated the situation. Ziminski would later be charged with disorderly conduct by use of a dangerous weapon for firing a gun into the air.
Multiple videos shown in court and testimony from the medical examiner corroborate what Rittenhouse says happened next.
As he turned, Rosenbaum was “coming at me. I remember his hand on the barrel of my gun,” Kyle said.
That was the first time Rittenhouse fired his gun, killing Rosenbaum.
Then he ran toward police to surrender but was chased and attacked by the mob.
People were screaming: “Cranium him, get him, kill him.”
Anthony Huber, 26, a convicted felon with a record of assault and domestic abuse, hit him with a skateboard held like a baseball bat. Rittenhouse deflected the blow but it still struck him in the neck.
Someone threw a lump of concrete at the back of his head as he ran. He felt faint and stumbled and fell. A man wearing boots took a running jump as Kyle lay on the ground and kicked him in the face.
Huber hit him in the head again with the skateboard and tried to take his gun. Rittenhouse fired once from his prone position, and Huber was fatally shot.
Everyone else chasing Rittenhouse backed away with their hands in the air, except for an antifa medic named Gaige Grosskreutz, 26, who told the court he has an “affiliation” with an Marxist militia group, the People’s Revolution.
Grosskreutz, described sympathetically in media reports as the “sole survivor,” was shot in the arm, but only after he aimed his loaded Glock at Rittenhouse.
Under cross-examination by the defense, Grosskreutz agreed. “It wasn’t until you pointed your gun at him, advanced on him with your gun, now your hands down, pointed at him, that he fired, right?”
Grosskreutz replied: “Correct.”
The trial should have ended there.
Let kids’ vaxxes be voluntary
As Big Bird and the first lady campaign for children’s COVID-19 vaccinations, a poll shows two-thirds of parents are concerned about the jab’s safety for 5- to 11-year-olds.
And 90 percent reject a mandatory jab for their young kids, the Rasmussen poll found.
President Biden clearly thinks child jabs are a vote winner, having made it the center of his first public statement after the Democrats’ disastrous election results.
But children are different to adults.
Credible expert advice says that, while the vaccine is important for youngsters with comorbidities, the tiny benefits for healthy kids are not clear-cut when balanced against the tiny risks, especially for children with natural immunity.
Serious complications are so uncommon in young children that of 2,186 children in the Pfizer vaccine study, “no child in either the vaccine or placebo group developed severe illness from Covid,” wrote John Hopkins’ Dr. Martin Makary in The Wall Street Journal this week.
The sample size was too small to rule out myocarditis (heart inflammation) “a complication that was found in 1 in 7,000 adolescent boys.”
And, since vaccinated people still transmit the disease, jabbing children is not an imperative for protecting others.
In the UK, the government’s expert panel, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, still has not recommended the jab for healthy teenagers, for lack of evidence that it is beneficial. It is even less likely to approve it for younger kids.
Rather than dividing parents against each other and creating more stress in school communities, the Biden administration should ensure that vaccination for children remains voluntary.