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January 25, 2022

12/2/2021 11:02:00 AM
Many emotions observed by one verdict
A verdict may allow a person to be acquitted of a crime or act of misconduct but it doesn't mean that a verdict absolves them of other acts of misconduct.
Fridays verdict made me observe many things:
While I recognize that the jury carried out its judicial duty in determining guilt or innocence, I also know the outcome of that verdict caused an array of unpleasant emotions.
Anger in the sense that people felt justice wasn't served. There is no question that Kyle Rittenhouse was guilty of causing the death of two men. Evidence proved that in court. Anger showed up because it gave people the message that a young 17 year old man will not have to pay the legal consequences for his misconduct. Anger for "not doing the time for committing the crime."
I think we can all agree that there are situations where we felt someone was not held accountable for their actions. While I acknowledge that I felt angry for the outcome, I feel in ways Rittenhouse both was and wasn't. He was held accountable in the sense that he made his presence in a nationalized trial. I also feel he wasn't held accountable as he will not have to live the legal consequences that others have endured before him. Anger that consequences were not consistent.
There was also fear. Fridays verdict also shed light on vigilantism. Wherever you stand on the protest does not change the reactions of others. We know that emotions can be a force of doing things that are not in our best interest. This was an example of a young man taking matters into his own hands, without analyzing the dangerous outcomes beforehand. While I may feel that if Rittenhouse wasn't in Kenosha that night that two people wouldn't have lost their lives, I cannot assume that I know that deaths would be the outcome. Fear exists in the sense that there are people out there in our communities feeling like taking matters into their own hands without looking at the entire situation.
There was also profound sadness-sadness for those who lost their loved ones, sadness for the deflated hope that justice would be served and sadness for the future of our country and how it plays out judicially.
In my opinion, Rittenhouse's conduct was a result of unchecked emotional reaction-a normal human response but one that led to fatal outcomes. I acknowledge that no one is in control of an outcome, we are only in control of how we respond to it.
While the verdict absolved him of the crime, it did not absolve him of the emotional reaction that he was responsible for. It did not absolve the fact that there were two deaths in a protest last year.
All we can do is realize the things we can and can't control. And then decide what course of action we take next.
I hope that is a lesson we learn from this verdict.

Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, December 13, 2021
Article comment by: Mickey James

To say that "There is no question that Kyle Rittenhouse was guilty of causing the death of two men." first of all is inaccurate. You are yet trying to still give a verdict of guilt, and push that on your readers, when a full court trial with jury verdict has acquitted him.

It can go back and forth that he shouldn't have fired at them, they shouldn't have attacked him, he shouldn't have been there, they shouldn't have been rioting,.....But in the end for justice it boils down to, the fact that he did not seek them out, but rather was defending property, and then himself, from attack. " Evidence proved that in court" as your own quotes should also point out!

You should feel anger. Anger that he was ever taken to trial when it was obvious that video shows that he was defending himself from attack, but that it was a political prosecution by the DA (probably others) to begin with.

Anger. Yes. Be angry that there are those that think one shouldn't be able to defend property or themselves or family. 939.48 and 49 Defense of property...We have that privilege by law!

Anger that those in power would let the rioting with massive destruction in Kenosha, earlier in Madison and across the rest of the country, escalate with no action to control it to begin with telling officers to stand down.

Be fearful. Fearful of future consequences that could arise due to no abatement to the original riots. Fearful that there would be those that think destruction of property and attacking individuals is allowed by local and state governments Granted Evers did send 500 National Guard members to Kenosha in mid November, but that's because they knew the verdict was going to be an acquittal and that they already set precedence allowing rioting and that it would really look bad if they allowed rioting again from a just acquittal.

It is profoundly sad. Yes for those that died and their families that they would be in that position, but also sad that one would want to have someone found guilty and suffer consequences of defending property and protecting and themselves and wish an unjust conclusion even when a court and jury had all of the information and came to a verdict of innocence.

To conclude with..."there were two deaths in a protest last year." This is again profoundly incorrect and a grossly irresponsible journalistic editorial. If you think that was a "protest", you and have lost most of the credibility you think you may have had with your readers. I'll let you use a dictionary to discover the differences on your own.

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