I was having lunch with my 21-year old son in Richmond, Virginia this weekend when the topic of Kyle Rittenhouse came up. Now, none of my kids are news junkies like I am, so I didn’t expect that he would know all the details of every witness called to the stand, but when my son expressed displeasure with the “fact” that a 17-year old illegally took a gun across state lines to go to a protest, I had to stop him and explain the facts. No, Kyle Rittenhouse did not take a gun across state lines. No, it was not illegal for Rittenhouse to possess the rifle, at least not according to the judge who threw out the gun possession charge before a jury of Kyle Rittenhouse’s peers began their deliberations.
It’s not like these facts are secret knowledge revealed only to a chosen few. They might as well be, however, because the many on the Left are weaponizing lies to portray Rittenhouse and his actions on the night of August 25th, 2020 in a false light.
On Sunday, Rev. Al Sharpton actually said on MSNBC that “if you start with the wrong premise you come to the wrong conclusion,” before laying out the wrong premise, telling host Jonathan Capeheart, “The reason why Kyle Rittenhouse went to Kenosha is because there were protests against a young black man shot in the back seven times by police; and there was reaction to it. Some violence and mostly peaceful. That’s why he came. With an AR-15, he came to confront protesters. He claims he was trying to protect property. That [property] was not his, he wasn’t a member of the community, that’s why he came.”
We heard from plenty of witnesses who were there that night, and not a single one of them testified to Rittenhouse acting aggressively towards protesters. Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger claimed that Rittenhouse provoked Joseph Rosenbaum into chasing and attacking him, but had no evidence other than a blurry and pixelated photo that the prosecution alleged showed Rittenhouse pointing his rifle at another man, which supposedly triggered Rosenbaum and caused him to attack the teen.
There’s simply no evidence to back up Sharpton’s claims, and plenty of evidence to contradict it (enough for a jury to acquit Rittenhouse on all charges), but Capeheart offered no pushback whatsoever when the activist launched into his false narrative, even after Sharpton added that the jury’s verdict makes him concerned that that people might start bringing guns to protests that he and other activists put on, and “kill people or hurt people and claim self-defense.”
Instead, Capeheart completely bought into the premise that the verdict rendered in the Rittenhouse case was simply wrong. In fact, he went even further, telling his audience that when you look at Wisconsin self-defense law it’s almost impossible to convict someone who’s claimed self-defense, and asking attorney David Henderson “isn’t the problem with the laws and the way they’re written that make us vulnerable?”
Henderson wasn’t as hyperbolic as Sharpton, but he helped to craft a narrative of his own by claiming that jurors were given instructions on Wisconsin’s self-defense law that “were more forgiving” than what they should have been. Henderson says that’s because both a curfew violation and the gun possession charge were thrown out, which made it more difficult for prosecutors to argue that Rittenhouse was acting recklessly. Oddly, Henderson agreed that the gun charge should have been thrown out, but argued that the curfew violation should have remained in place. The only problem with that argument is that prosecutors didn’t actually present any evidence that Rittenhouse was in fact violating curfew that evening, which led to Judge Bruce Schroeder dismissing charges.
I can’t imagine that Henderson would feel it was appropriate for any of his clients to face charges for something after prosecutors failed to show any evidence that a violation of the law had taken place, but for some reason this case is different.
I highlighted just a couple of minutes of one Sunday show, but the lies around the Rittenhouse case were found on almost every network and major media outlet this weekend, and have spread like wildfire on social media. Those with only a passing interest in the case, like my son, are almost guaranteed to have ingested bad information about the facts of the Rittenhouse trial and what the evidence showed, and it’s going to take more than a sit-down with Tucker Carlson to give the truth a fighting chance to survive.