The Kyle Rittenhouse Verdict, analysis

The Kyle Rittenhouse story has been discussed to death online, so there is nothing really new to say about it. Not surprisingly (to me at least) he was acquitted of all changes, which I agree. The jury saw that he had acted in self-defense.

The problem is pundits, such as Jack Posobiec, are framing this as a political victory, as a repudiation against Biden or evidence of the ‘tide turning’ against the left. I don’t think this is the right framing: it should be viewed only as a legal victory, not a political one. If the Rittenhouse verdict signifies a major societal shift or ‘win’ for the right, why did Derek Chauvin get 20+ years (only just a few months ago, so how could the pendulum has shifted so suddenly). Or last week, why was the ‘Shaman guy’ sentenced for 3 years for his involvement in the Jan 6th protest (albeit, he plead guilty to avoid a possible 20-year sentence had it gone to a jury).

I don’t want a politicized justice system, just one that works as impartially as possible. Defendants should be acquitted or convicted based on the preponderance of evidence or lack thereof, not because we want to see our political enemies suffer, although given that judges and juries are people, and thus are as susceptible to the same sort of biases and framing effects as everyone else, that may be asking for too much.

Why didn’t the jury in the Chauvin case buy the narrative that George Floyd had overdosed, or had in some way brought his death upon himself? The Chauvin defense was probably considerably weaker than the Rittenhouse defense, but at the time many of these same pundits seemed 100% certain that Chauvin would get a light sentence because of these mitigating factors.

I am even hesitant to say the justice system worked or was ‘served’. Because that would imply that it worked for O.J. Simpson too, except at the time its was conservatives, not liberals, who cried foul. The legal system is too capricious, too fissiparous to say it does/doesn’t work or try to make generalizations. It’s not uncommon for sentences to differ wildly for otherwise similar cases.