How Kyle Rittenhouse, Armed With Just An AR-15, Miraculously Defended Self Against Deadly Skateboard

Legal

The prosecution and defense gave opening statements Tuesday in teen killer Kyle Rittenhouse's homicide trial. Kenosha County, Wisconsin, District Attorney Thomas Binger claimed Rittenhouse went looking for trouble armed with an assault rifle. He also dismissed Rittenhouse's ridiculous assertion that he attended the protest as a medic. He was a 17-year-old with an assault rifle, which is not a standard profile for a medical professional. It's less Doogie Howser and more Travis Bickle. Rittenhouse didn't even bother to provide aid to anyone he shot.

Defense attorney Mark Richards said that Rittenhouse was only acting in self-defense, protecting himself from the situation he created. After Rittenhouse fatally shot Joseph Rosenbaum (in the back), his second victim, Anthony Huber, tried to take his gun. While that might seem like a reasonable action, Richards argued that Rittenhouse had reason to fear for his life because Huber was armed with a skateboard.

No, seriously:

"Ladies and gentlemen, I would love to be able to hold up that skateboard in front of you as evidence today, because then you could see it," Mr Richards told the jury. "You could see the weight and the heft of what a skateboard is, and what that skateboard would do if somebody takes it in their hand and swings down on somebody's shoulder, head, and neck, trying to separate the head from the body."

Huber was apparently the Daredevil villain Bullseye, in whose hands anything is a deadly weapon. Also: Why can't Richards produce the actual skateboard? Maybe it jumped bail and is now in Cancun.


The defense has to earn its GoFundMe pay, but this is infuriating. When George Zimmerman was on trial for shooting Trayvon Martin through the chest, his defense attorney, Don West, claimed during opening statements that Martin "armed himself with the concrete sidewalk and used it to smash George Zimmerman's head ... That is a deadly weapon." However, Mark and Patricia McCloskey didn't rush out of their house with skateboards when confronting protesters or point menacingly at the sidewalk. They had guns.

There's a reason that Dirty Harry carried a large gun and didn't ride to crime scenes on a skateboard. If common household items are potentially just as deadly as assault rifles or goddamn hand cannons, then why do Republicans fight so hard against gun safety laws? Even if Democrats successfully banned assault weapons, skateboards and sidewalks would remain plentiful. Look, there were 324 episodes of “Criminal Minds" and not a single un-sub killed anyone with a skateboard.

Still, Richards painted Rittenhouse as the victim, who valiantly "protected his firearm so it couldn't be taken and used against him or other people." This presumes that Huber wanted to kill Rittenhouse (or anyone else) instead of just disarming the guy who'd shot someone.

DA Binger had objected to the whole “decapitation by skateboard" argument, but Judge Bruce Schroeder overruled him. He's like another defense attorney. Richards also dropped the n-word twice in open court after showing a video of Rosenbaum using the racial epithet on the night he died.

"Shoot me," Rosenbaum says in the video before adding the n-word. He then says the same phrase, ending it again with the N-word. "Bust on me for real," he then says.

I don't like the n-word, either, but I don't think its usage justifies homicide. That's the ultimate cancel culture. Are we supposed to believe Rittenhouse felt threatened because Rosenbaum shouted racial epithets at Black Lives Matter protesters? Rittenhouse reportedly flashed white power signs and hung out with Proud Boys at a bar while out on bail.

Richards also told the jury that Rosenbaum had just been released after an overnight stay at a hospital for mental health treatment. Richards argued that Rosenbaum, who was bipolar and homeless, "was the one who lit the fuse that night." I personally blame the guy who brought a gun to a tense situation, but I'm weird that way. It's usually harder for homeless people to avoid violent unrest on public streets. Binger argued that Rosenbaum's hospital stay and his mental health are irrelevant because he's not actually on trial.

Dominick Black was the first witness, and he testified that Rittenhouse only carried an assault rifle so people wouldn't start trouble with him. He apparently doesn't understand how guns work. They are the ultimate tension escalator. Black will soon have his own trial for buying Rittenhouse the AR-15 style rifle he wasn't old enough to legally possess. Usually indicted coconspirators don't make great witnesses, but so far at this trial, everything's coming up Rittenhouse.

[Madison / Independent]

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."

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