A Dangerous Precedent: The Kyle Rittenhouse Trial


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With the Black Lives Matter movement still at its peak, all eyes were on the outcome of the Kyle Rittenhouse trial. It was the second major trial following Derek Chauvin’s conviction. Kyle Rittenhouse shot 3 protesters in Kenosha WI, killing 2, in what the defense called an act of self-defense. The prosecution argued the opposite. Ultimately, the jury decided to acquit him while the Judge dropped the unlawful gun possession charges. I believe there were two issues that led to the flawed conclusion to the case-the racial makeup of the jury and what the charges were against Rittenhouse.


First, the jury makeup of the trial included one person of color and 11 white people, according to NBC news; 92 percent of the jury was white. Yet, the U.S census lists Kenosha as only being 66.1 percent non-hispanic white. To be representative, the jury should have had 7-8 white jurors and 4-5 people of color. Humans are inherently biased and race does play a huge role in shaping people’s worldviews. Despite the fact that the role of the jury is to be unbiased, people still walk into the courtroom with preconceived opinions. Having proportional representation in the jury would allow for the rulings to reflect the views of the people and make the court system fairer in America. 


Another significant issue I saw in the case was the lack of a charge for carrying a gun as a minor. To carry a dangerous gun in Wisconsin, one has to be over the age of 18, yet Rittenhouse was 17. He wasn’t charged because the barrel of the gun was too big; if it was just a few inches shorter he would have been. I believe that while people have a second amendment right to bear arms, that should only apply to people over 18, not to minors. There should be some reform in the courts that intercepts nonsensical laws like this one. It does not matter the size of a gun; no one should be able to carry a gun if they are under the age of 18, period.  This is the type of loophole that sets a dangerous precedent for the future of America.


While Kyle Rittenhouse was proven not guilty, there were still many immoral aspects revolving around this case. There was a mostly white jury and an insensible ruling concerning the gun charges. While it would be challenging, I do think that there has to be some reform in the jury system in terms of representation, seen through equal representation along race lines. There should also be legal reforms pertaining to the gun law in Wisconsin. He is a minor and therefore, should not be able to carry a gun. All these issues have led me to believe that the court system in America is in need of major reform.