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Winthrop High School's Premier News Site Since 2019

The Viking Times

Winthrop High School's Premier News Site Since 2019

The Viking Times

Opinion: The Kyle Rittenhouse Trial Speaks Volumes about Prejudice and White Privilege


Image Source: USA Today

Analise Bruno, Editor-in-Chief

Described as a “kid who had to defend himself”, 18-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse took the stand this week for gunning down 2 men, and injuring several others, during a 2020 protest in response to the murder of Jacob Blake. Already, things are off to a rocky start from both ends over the debate of whether Rittenhouse should be hailed a “hero” or “terrorist”. However, in an even greater sense, a larger problem is residing in the handling of the trial.

The presiding judge, 75-year-old Bruce Schroeder, has been called out on his many blatant displays of bias in both his beliefs and treatment of the case that has me questioning whether justice will have the chance to be served. While watching the trial, I noticed a few key things, but also picked up and pieced together more information myself. The first red flag was Schroeder’s attitude towards the prosecution. He abrasively yelled at lead assistant district attorney Thomas Binger saying, “Don’t’ get brazen with me!” after Binger mentioned Rittenhouse’s right to remain silent to the selected jury. Similarly, Schroeder did not allow for the prosecution to refer to the two men killed by Rittenhouse as “victims” saying it was a “loaded term” in this context. There is no proof of these men doing anything illegal that has been brought to the table thus far, therefore it would seem blatantly biased to restrict the use of terms to give Rittenhouse a more innocent front. Later that day, Schroeder again questioned prosecutors over distorting evidence by showing videos of the shooting on an iPad using the pinch to zoom feature, making it too distorted to see clearly. Lastly, and perhaps most commented on by other news sources, is the fact that the judge appeared to comfort Rittenhouse as he began to choke up on the stand, and called for a week-long break in the trial.

What truly compelled me to research deeper into this bias was hearing word that near the end of the trial Schroder let Rittenhouse pick, from a hat, which six jurors would determine his fate. While this may be completely legal, it calls into question the legitimacy of the trial and how ladened it may be with prejudice and favoritism.

Kyle Rittenhouse’s entire argument has been self-defense. He claims that he had to protect himself from people attempting to attack him while at the protest. However, I find that the greater question lies in why Kyle was down there in the first place, especially with an AR-15 rifle. As pointed out, it seems incredibly unlikely that Rittenhouse would have felt so passionate about civilly defending generic stores from being potentially looted that he felt the need to go down there armed. Though he was legally allowed to carry the weapon, it is very clear based on the context of the situation that Rittenhouse’s intent in going to the protest had nothing to do with civil defense, and everything to do with hoping to shoot someone. Many have been talking about what the two men who were murdered may have been doing that could have provoked Rittenhouse to shoot them. Yet, it’s important to realize that even if these men were breaking the law, they deserve the right to be prosecuted through a trial in the same way Rittenhouse is, instead they were executed.

Most importantly, we must focus on the privilege Rittenhouse is receiving as a white teen who murdered two people. Kyle is often referred to in the media as a “scared defenseless teenager”, not a “thug” nor a “terrorist” in the way other darker-skinned individuals have. Likewise, after wandering the streets with a substantially large rifle, Rittenhouse was able to go home. The same cannot be said for 12-year-old Tamir Rice who was murdered by police for having a small fake toy gun in his possession. For Rittenhouse to get his charges dropped after murdering two separate people, would emphasize the roots of white supremacy that still exist within the justice system, and the lack of consequences it has for the white majority. There will forever be an absence of justice until fairness is restored in both the judicial system and this trial.

***This opinion article reflects the voice of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of The Viking Times as a whole.  Like most news outlets, The Viking Times is a non-partisan media platform.***

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About the Contributor
Analise Bruno, Editor-in-Chief

Hi, my name is Analise and I am currently a senior at Winthrop High School. I am a second year member of the Newspaper Club and I currently serve as the...

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    Christine SummaNov 19, 2021 at 11:21 am

    Bravo, Analise!
    Great reporting and honestly, I am in total agreement with you of your opinions based on what I read in the daily newspapers, and what I heard and saw on T.V.
    Rittenhouse should not have been there; a curfew was in place and at 17 years old to have a AR-15 or any gun, is an unsettling thought.