I have tracked what’s going on with the Rittenhouse trial (which is in day two of jury deliberations). I’ll be up front and say that I think it was self-defense.
Were there other things Kyle Rittenhouse shouldn’t have done? Maybe, but they don’t matter in the context of the charges, and some of the arguments come really close to (and probably cross) a “blaming the victim” line. (Yes, I am saying Rittenhouse was, in aspects, a victim.)
But the reason for this post is that, during his trial, many seemed to have switched from the principled, historical side of “erring on the side of letting a guilty man go so as not to convict the innocent” to “erring on the side of locking him up as long as we have even a tenuous way of blaming him.”
Flipping “innocent until proven guilty” to “guilty until proven innocent.”
Flipping “must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt” to “convict him if you have any doubt about his innocence.”
You may be all fine and dandy with that, if it has the outcome you hope for. However, once abuse of justice has been accepted and institutionalized, don’t think it won’t come for you.
Of course, that selfish reason to stand up for Rittenhouse’s rights shouldn’t matter. We should stand up for his rights out of principle, even if it would never benefit us personally.
Update: John Di Leo susses out the “he shouldn’t have been there” version of “blame the victim” a bit: