15 days before Kyle Rittenhouse shot and killed two people in Kenosha, Wisconsin, he was sitting in a car across the street from a CVS pharmacy.
Rittenhouse observed several people in hoodies exiting the store and incorrectly – racially MIS-profiling them – assumed that they were doing something wrong.
Someone in the car was recording the scene and what sounds like Rittenhouse lamenting, Bro, I wish I had my fucking AR. I’d start shooting rounds at them.
Rittenhouse didn’t specify if his AR was at his house in Antioch, Illinois or at his friend Dominick Black’s house in Kenosha, Wisconsin, but the Smith & Wesson M&P 15 to which he referred was illegally bought for him by 18-year old Black, who is facing charges for the straw man purchase.
While that rifle is marketed to civilians, it should be noted that the M&P in the name stands for Military and Police and the weapon copies the design of the Colt M16, the standard service weapon in Vietnam.
Like the M16, ARs fire a bullet designed to do maximum damage to the human body and they can be fired as quickly as the operator can pull the trigger.
Many people see these as significant points in the Rittenhouse trial.
Judge Schroeder disallowed the video illustrating Rittenhouse’s urge to shoot people and ruled that the M&P15 Rittenhouse used to kill two people was not a dangerous weapon, thereby dismissing the charge of illegal weapon possession.
If Rittenhouse had been convicted of the illegal weapon charge, he would have been precluded from the self-defense claim. You can’t claim self defense during the commission of a crime.
The gun issue revolved around the length of the barrel of Rittenhouse’s gun, which Smith & Wesson lists as 16″, the cutoff point for a dangerous weapon in Wisconsin.
It’s a technicality for sure, but whether or not it was reasonable is debatable. No one could mistake an M&P 15 for a hunting rifle, unless they’re hunting for ground meat.
It would also be quite demoralizing to tell a Vietnam veteran that the United States Marine Corps outfitted him with a rifle that is not considered a dangerous weapon.
The prosecutors needed to point out that an AR 15 can not be considered a long gun, since it actually falls into the class of carbines, which are, by definition, short-barrel rifles.
Judge Schroeder banned the word victim from being used to describe the men shot by Rittenhouse. While that may be one of Schroeder’s quirks, he should then have also banned the words looter, rioter and arsonist from being applied to those men.
Not unheard of, but also unusual was Schroeder allowing the jury to go home during deliberations. Even more unusual was allowing one of the jurors to take home his 37-page set of instructions, something that immediately changed the status of that particular juror.
Depending on which way she was leaning, having had the instructions the previous night would give significant and outsized weight to that juror’s arguments.
However you view Judge Schroeder’s behavior during this case, you can’t say it wasn’t unusual. On Veterans Day, Schroeder led a round of applause for for John Black, a veteran and defense witness about to take the stand.
No one can definitively say that Bruce Schroeder did everything in his power to aid in the defense of Kyle Rittenhouse, but it sure seemed that way to many, as did his open hostility toward the prosecution.
One can only wonder how things might have gone if Kyle Rittenhouse had been a Black teenager at a MAGA rally, forced to defend himself against an attacking horde, armed only with one of the most powerful, hand-held, anti-personnel weapons available.
Forgive me for bringing up the MAGA rally thing, but the comparison to Judge Schroeder’s court room was, at times, undeniable. And you know me, I can resist anything but temptation.
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