Before sending a Kenosha, Wisconsin, jury to deliberate if Kyle Rittenhouse is a murderer, Judge Bruce Schroeder informed Rittenhouse’s hand-picked jury that his fate rests on the “privilege” of self-defense.
We now know what the jury decided.
Neither side disagreed that the 18-year-old intended to shoot Anthony M Huber, Joseph Rosenbaum and Gaige Grosskreutz. They don’t disagree that the Smith & Wesson M&P 15 is a dangerous weapon. However, under Wisconsin’s self-defense statutes, Rittenhouse was allowed to use deadly force, even if he provoked the 25 August attack, if he “reasonably believed” it was necessary to prevent his own death. Even though he traveled to the city and walked into a chaotic scene with a killing machine.
“A belief may be reasonable even though mistaken,” the jury instructions read. “In determining whether the defendant’s beliefs were reasonable, the standard is what a person of ordinate intelligence and prudence would have believed in the defendant’s position.”
Before former Kenosha alderman Kevin Mathewson summoned “patriots willing to take up arms and defend our city from the evil thugs”, no one else had died during the unrest in his city. Before Rittenhouse killed two people and wounded another, no one else had been shot. So, why is it reasonable to believe Rittenhouse needed a killing machine to protect himself against the “evil thugs” who were not shooting and killing people?