How to commit violence using only your words


Remarkable. Judge Bruce Schroeder is doing a fine job demonstrating the power of systemic bias.

That trial is going to be a real shitshow, isn’t it?

Comments

  1. says

    Republicans have been laser focused on getting control of the courts, something too many people in the actual center and on the left have hand-waved away. These are the fruits of the conservatives’ labour.

  2. raven says

    The judge has already disqualified himself.
    They might as well declare this a mistrial and start over somewhere else without a predetermined outcome.

    Can the lawyers call the two people who Rittenhouse killed, “dead people”, “the deceased”, the “no longer living”, or “residents in forever boxes”?
    They are after all, no long alive and breathing.

  3. christoph says

    @ Raven, # 2: You beat me to it. The judge needs to recuse himself, or someone needs to recuse him.

  4. Pierce R. Butler says

    C’mon, somebody has to say it: the people Rittenhouse allegedly shot to death are just pining for the fjords!

  5. davidc1 says

    Talking of guns and Americans fondness for killing one another ,a guy in Florida shot his neighbour for letting his cat wander on to his property .
    Good news ,the cat was fine .
    Hard to keep up ,but is KR the moron who killed his victims during the BLM protests ?

  6. robro says

    davidc1 @ #8 — Yes

    Tabby Lavalamp @ #1 — Indeed, controlling the courts has been a major part of the Republican agenda for a long time. They’ve garnered support from the general population based on wedge issues like “right to life” (overturn Roe v Wade) although their larger agenda has clearly been to thwart corporate accountability. However, while I don’t know many people “in the actual center and on the left”, the one’s I do know have been well aware of this agenda. That’s one reason we hold our noses while voting against Republicans and vote for Democrats who are only slightly different. Perhaps that’s “waving hands” in your judgement, but I’m not sure what we would do…except wave firearms which puts us in the same place as Kyle.

  7. says

    Perhaps it’s good I’m not a lawyer. I’d wind up calling the victims increasingly elaborate synonyms involving uncontested facts.

    “The people who were alive prior to the actions of the defendant”, “Those who died from the defendant’s bullets”, “The protestors whose protest ended in the ultimate silencing”…

  8. Akira MacKenzie says

    @1

    …something too many people in the actual center and on the left have hand-waved away.

    That’s a huge problem and not just regarding the ideology of the judiciary. The center, and even the left, have gotten complacent assuming that the fight against the far right was won. Open and violent racism is a thing of the past! No one in their right mind could possibly support white supremacist, gun-toting, conspiracy mongering of the militia kooks? Certainly, no one who wants to become a judge would sympathize with it, right? RIGHT???

    Sorry, there is no “arc of history” much less one that reaches for progress. You have to fight tooth and nail to beat decency and compassion into the greedy, selfish, superstitious masses, and afterward you must be on constant guard to make sure they don’t slip back into bigotry and savagery again. You can’t just assume will get better. You have to make it better and keep it that way.

  9. PaulBC says

    What does it actually take to have a judge removed due to bias? (I’m guessing a lot.) This is so blatant I’m speechless. How the hell are you not a “victim” if you die by a bullet, no matter the source?

  10. flexilis says

    I wrote elsewhere that if the injured and deceased can be called rioters, then it is only fair to call the defendant a vigilante.

  11. says

    How about calling them “the human beings whose lives were ended as a direct result of the actions of the defendant”?
    None of that is in dispute, right?

  12. david says

    Next up: don’t call Kyle “the defendant”, because that could negatively influence the jury. Call him “hero” or “patriot”.

  13. ekinodum says

    Well, actually….
    It’s upsetting to those that already believe that he did it, but we do have a presumption of innocence in our system, and although it seems pretty clear to us that Kyle shot these people, until it’s proven in a court of law that Kyle shot them and it was a criminal act, it’s not appropriate to presume his guilt. And referring to these people as “victims” in this high-profile circumstance certainly seems loaded to me. None of this has been proven in court, and until it has, he’s innocent and the state should treat him that way in court.
    IANAL, but my Twitter feed (I follow lawyers) is notifying me that this is not all that uncommon, and sometimes the prosecution and defense will agree to this arrangement beforehand. Don’t flame me, I’m just a messenger.

  14. birgerjohansson says

    “Operator of weapon that took people’s lives”?
    “Bullet-launching by pulling trigger person”?

  15. Rob Grigjanis says

    ekinodum @19:

    until it’s proven in a court of law that Kyle shot them and it was a criminal act, it’s not appropriate to presume his guilt.

    Sure, but according to the judge, it’s OK to presume the guilt of the people he killed;

    The judge says “victim” is too “loaded” but will let lawyers call them “rioters, looters or arsonists.”

    Not loaded at all! Fucking Americans. Fucking loons.

  16. rrhain says

    It is not completely beyond the pale for a court to insist that “victim” not be used precisely for the reason @ekinodum states: It leads to the presumption that a crime was actually committed. From the National Crime Victim Law Institute (which actually favors using the word “victim”) (https://law.lclark.edu/live/files/21940-use-of-the-term-victim-in-crim-proc11th-edpdf):

    Defendants and courts have voiced concern that the use of the term “victim” may prejudice a defendant. For this reason, some courts suggest using terms such as “alleged victim” or “complainant” to identify those who meet the relevant jurisdiction’s constitutional and/or statutory definition of victim.

    It then lists some cases. The first is State v Frey (https://casetext.com/case/state-v-frey-11) where the court found:

    We find the record in this case adequate to rule on Travis’s claim that his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to object to the use of the term “victim” during trial.

    For the next one, Commonwealth v Alves, I can’t find any motion regarding the use of the word “victim” and the verdicts I do see don’t seem to have a problem using it, so I don’t know what the point of the reference is.

    It also refers to : State v. Cortes and Talkington v. State as the ” only two cases in which the reviewing court found use of the term “victim” so prejudicial as to warrant a new trial.”

    It also points out that while many courts don’t have a problem with this, many others suggest that the term be avoided.

    So this is not new, though it is a bit unusual.

    To which I say, fine.

    Let’s call them “innocents.”

    The “innocent targets of the defendant’s actions.”

  17. John Morales says

    Isn’t the charge homicide?

    So the prosecution can say ‘victims’, and the defense can say ‘rioters’. Everyone will know to whom those terms refer.

    Or, to be neutral, both parties could just say “the people Rittenhouse killed”, that being purely factual.

  18. PaulBC says

    rrhain@23

    It leads to the presumption that a crime was actually committed.

    Except that you can be a victim without a crime. Is a hurricane a crime? Yet there are hurricane victims. Nobody questions that Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber died from gunshot wounds, nor even that the bullets came from Rittenhouse’s firearm. Even an accidental discharge, which it was not, would leave victims. Even if a gas line had exploded during the demonstration and it was determined that no one was at fault (e.g. standard maintenance had been followed in good faith), the dead would be “victims.”

    The presumption of crime is an absurd standard to apply to the word “victim.” And needless to say, it is not merely “loaded” but actually dishonest to use “rioters” to describe a group of demonstrators. Rittenhouse is charged with a crime. The word “rioter” is inappropriate unless used for someone who was at least charged.

    Have Rosenbaum and Huber been charged with any crime on the night Rittenhouse killed them? They are members of the public who were killed by gunfire in the process of trying to disarm a suspected assailant. Sure as fuck sounds like victims to me. You better call me a victim if that ever happens.

  19. PaulBC says

    I guess in the US, the presumption of self-defense only applies to the person who shows up in a public square armed. Polite society indeed.

  20. PaulBC says

    Can we call them “Rittenhouse’s targets”? He aimed at them, right?

    But this kind of misses the point. There should not be word games. This judge has shown he is incapable of holding a fair trial.

  21. says

    @ekinodum

    You can in good faith insist that the word victim not be used for the reasons you cited but you cannot couple that insistence that the people killed can be referred too as “rioters” and “arsonists” as that primes the jury to buy the self-defense claim the defense is going to run with.

    @William Brinkman

    The left needs to start using gun culture and stand your ground laws against people like Rittenhouse. Read into that what you will.

  22. Jean says

    The American justice system is as fucked up as their democracy. And both serve the same masters with very little of what their name suggest. And the US will go to war claiming to bring both to other countries which would be laughable if it didn’t bring so much destruction and suffering.

  23. indianajones says

    I think that if you are the prosecutor why not meet absurdity with absurdity and refer to it thus:

    ‘It is alleged that this cutesy wootsy wabwador puppsy wuppsy* cuddle giggled** the EVIL GOD HATING COMMUNIST SJW’s*** till they fell asleep****’

    *Insert definition here
    **Ibid
    ***Ibid
    ****Ibid

  24. jimjamjim0 says

    This case is a waste of time. Obviously it would have been better if the kid hadn’t turned up armed, but he was helping people earlier in the day and the shootings are blatantly in self defence, what was he meant to do let himself be murdered by the rioters?

  25. Kagehi says

    @14

    Problem with using vigilante is that “some” idiots would then think of Batman, or “super heroes”. And that is worse than the existing bias by the judge that merely “implies” that he was one, by demanding his victims be called criminals (without having had a trial, or evidence).

    And also @35 – really? So, the fact that every case, on video of violence breaking out was do to either cops, or idiots like the defendant, inciting a riot, then claiming they where merely “defending” something (or themselves), after the fact would make this what? Because, only in the world of Faux News, and politicians, and lying cops, is there actual evidence that these “riots” ever started out violent, and where not escalated, or started, by outside provokers. Odd that…. Its almost like the “intent” in every case was peaceful, and “other people” made it violent….

    But, sure.. Lets pretend that someone intentionally showing up, armed, with military style weaponry, to a protest, which “somehow” gets violent, is the “victim” here, and not someone poring gasoline on a building, then blaming the guy that lit a cigarette nearby for “causing a fire!”

  26. says

    I understand that it may be custom to avoid the word “victim” in such case.
    However I am not aware that people whose life ended that night were in fact looting or commiting arson – isn’t that a loaded term?

    If we try to show the deceased from the perspective of defendant (maybe he saw them as looters, arsonists and rioters) then we must admit, that from the perspective of other people rittenhouse looked like mass shooter.

    By that logic, next time someone will go into school with weapon and point it at people until someone will try to stop him and then start shooting, will he be acting in self defence instead of being mass shooter?

  27. John Morales says

    jimjamjim0, um, everything I’ve read indicates the shootings were blatantly culpable.

    what was he meant to do let himself be murdered by the rioters?

    Not illegally getting hold of a firearm and becoming a vigilante would have been a wiser choice. He went to the protest looking for trouble, he found it.

    Hopefully he will face the consequences of becoming a murderer.

  28. jimjamjim0 says

    Not a chance he does, its right there on the video. The rioters don’t own the streets.

  29. cartomancer says

    To be fair, I don’t know how a country where anyone, let alone a teenager, is legally able to acquire a deadly military weapon can sensibly process anything with words. I’m not sure human language has the expressive capacity to accurately describe anything that happens in the US anymore.

  30. raven says

    The rioters don’t own the streets.

    Neither did Rittenhouse.
    You are not allowed to murder people in the streets.because you don’t like them.
    No one went after Rittenhouse until after he had already shot one other person. At that point, he was just another right wingnut mass shooter.
    And, that is all on video too.
    Who brings an AR-15 to “help people” anyway? Only right wingnut extremists who can’t tell fantasy from reality.

  31. stillacrazycanuck says

    It’s odd how worked up we get about misinformation about the 2020 election or vaccines, etc, yet fall victim to it ourselves when the misinformation resonates with our beliefs.

    The judge did not actually rule that the defence can call the victims rioters or looters or anything else semantically loaded……until closing submissions and then only if there was evidence of their conduct that would support those words.

    IOW, the defence can’t, as PZ’s post implied, routinely use semantically loaded terms during the evidentiary portion of the trial and can use such language in closing argument only if there has been evidence suggesting such descriptive language might be appropriate

    Now, personally I think that a level playing field should allow the prosecution to refer to the victims as victims in the same phase…closing argument…but I gather (I’m not an American criminal lawyer) the actual ruling is not particularly unusual.

    We mock anti-vaxers and others fooled by misinformation for not checking the truth of what they’ve read and fallen for. Irony bites, doesn’t it? (Trigger flames)

  32. raven says

    BTW, the first guy wounded by Rittenhouse isn’t being charged with the crime of murder or any other crime. Neither are the two people he killed.
    Rittenhouse is the one out on bail. Rittenhouse is the one charged with murder. Rittenhouse is the one going to trial.

    Even in a state as messed up as Wisconsin, the police, the district attorney, and the prosecutors all think there is enough evidence to charge and bring to trial…Kyle Rittenhouse.

  33. PaulBC says

    jimjamjim0@35 Thanks for the “brilliant” trolling.

    Let’s see. A guy with creepy-looking gloves and a large gun shows up in a crowd of unarmed demonstrators. A few of them act quickly (though unwisely) in an attempt to disarm him before he shoots anyone. Who the fuck was acting in self-defense? Nobody intended to kill Rittenhouse except in his teenage wingnut fever dreams.

  34. stroppy says

    jimjamjim0

    …the shootings are blatantly in self defence…

    According to his assessment of the situation, and yours too apparently.

    No, let me rephrase that: According to his fear-based, trigger-happy, arrogant and deluded assessment of the situation…

    He clearly showed up hoping for trouble and to make a name for himself. It’s right there in the video.

  35. PaulBC says

    I said this years ago (I think after Trayvon Martin was murdered) that as far as I can tell, I have a license to kill in some US states based on my physical weakness, poor reaction time, and inability to handle a firearm.

    All I need to do is acquire a gun and walk around armed. At this point, nearly anyone approaching me poses a threat, because they will probably be able to disarm me and use my weapon on me if they get within a few feet. If I shoot at an approaching person from 6 feet away, I am merely “standing my ground.” I mean, I don’t know their intent, but I do know that I had better not let them get any closer.

    This works, right? Note: IANAL.

  36. stroppy says

    I’m not sure human language has the expressive capacity to accurately describe anything that happens in the US anymore.

    Trumposis.

  37. PaulBC says

    If I ever leave the US, which isn’t entirely hypothetical, it won’t be because of a single election, but because of our insane gun laws. There are already large parts of the country that I’ll skip, thanks, though I might have been happy to take a trip there a few decades ago.

    I don’t know if the increasingly intense worship of a confusingly written ink blot (the 2nd amendment) is just American stupidity or there is actually a plan afoot to set us up for a charnel house dwarfing former Yugoslavia in the 90s. (But there are enough dumbass Americans including in the federal judiciary that it may be enough explanation.) These guns aren’t useful for defending against trained military, but they will come in handy once we’ve turned into the inevitable failed state many people seem to be planning for.

  38. PaulBC says

    Serious question, since other people have probably read the news accounts a lot more closely than I had. Was anyone in the vicinity of Rittenhouse when he killed Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber ever charged with rioting? Disturbing the peace? Doing anything other than participating in a demonstration? (which is not a crime so you can’t be charged with it)

    As far as I know, there is no case for calling any of these demonstrators “rioters” or even “alleged rioters” unless they were charged.

  39. PaulBC says

    Sorry for not collecting this with my above comment, but this contemporary news account https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/two-men-killed-jacob-blake-protest-identified-authorities-n1238630 says nothing about a riot. If anyone had been charged with rioting (near Rittenhouse, and not just assumed present due to property damage elsewhere in the city) that should have bene reported. The event was the “Jacob Blake protest” (not a riot) and Rittenhouse entered a crowd of unarmed demonstrators posing a credible threat to them (the last is my subjective assessment, but can be backed up by witnesses).

    This article was written before the concerted character assassination of Anthony Huber, but there is no reason not to reach the obvious conclusion that he was disarming someone who was potentially there to shoot at the crowd.

  40. PaulBC says

    stillacrazycanuck@42

    yet fall victim to it ourselves when the misinformation resonates with our beliefs.

    (Italics mine.)

    A loaded term indeed. What crime was committed in misinforming us thusly? Have we prejudiced the jury against ruling the misinformation was accidental?

    marner@51

    Well written.

    Nope, not really. Just a lot of both-sides BS.

  41. says

    Cross posted from the Infinite Thread.

    Wonkette: “Judge Not Sure If Men Kyle Rittenhouse Shot Are Victims Or Satisfied Bullet Recipients”

    Judge Bruce Schroeder, who’s presiding over Kyle Rittenhouse’s double murder case, set some ground rules on how lawyers can refer to the men Rittenhouse forcibly evicted from existence last summer. After the prosecution and defense made their last-minute motions, Judge Schroeder ruled that no one can refer to the three men Rittenhouse shot as “victims.”

    From ABC 7 Chicago:

    “The word ‘victim’ is a loaded, loaded word,” he said. “‘Alleged victim’ is a cousin to it.”

    “Victim” isn’t a loaded word. What’s loaded was the assault-style rifle he used to shoot three people. “Alleged victim” is literally the point of the trial. Rittenhouse is alleged to have committed first-degree intentional homicide, first-degree reckless homicide, and attempted first-degree intentional reckless homicide. (He’s also charged with violating the city’s temporary 7 p.m. curfew.) These charges, excluding the curfew violation, require victims, human beings who’d still be alive and/or unmaimed today if not for Rittenhouse.

    So, how can the prosecution and defense refer to the people Rittenhouse mowed down like dogs? Judge Schroeder is fine with rioters, looters, and arsonists. Those descriptors apparently have no negative connotations. […]

    The judge said, “If more than one of them were engaged in arson, rioting, looting, I’m not going to tell the defense you can’t call them that, “ to which I must retort, “Huh?” How can the defense prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the victims (fuck you, your honor) had committed these crimes? The jury came to see The Trial Of Kyle Rittenhouse. This is an entirely separate production the judge is trying to greenlight.

    It’s one thing for a defendant to testify that they felt their life was in danger, but Rittenhouse isn’t qualified to conclude that the people he shot were criminals. It’s arguably irrelevant because actual police officers (in theory) can’t summarily execute “rioters, looters, and arsonists.” […]

    public defender Olayemi Olurin at Legal Aid NYC had this to say:

    Prosecutors call every single complainant in every case, a victim. Even when there’s no allegation of violence and they’re talking misdemeanors. Now all of a sudden that’s too loaded a term to describe 2 people who were shot and killed by a white supremacist, wow.

    Perhaps even more appallingly, Judge Schroeder agreed to allow testimony from the defense’s use-of-force expert. The prosecution argued against this on the grounds that the teenage Rittenhouse isn’t a police officer. The judge will also let the jury see video that shows local police enthusiastically greeting Rittenhouse and armed militia members. The cops even gave RIttenhouse a bottle of water, because the last thing you want is a dehydrated murderer.

    “If the jury is being told, if the defendant is walking down the sidewalk and doing what he claims he was hired to do and police say good thing you’re here, is that something influencing the defendant and emboldening him in his behavior? That would be an argument for relevance,” the judge said.

    The fact that the police openly pal around with gun-toting vigilantes and white supremacists isn’t exculpatory. That evidence should be introduced during a separate internal affairs hearing.

    Rittenhouse never should’ve been in Kenosha that night and certainly not armed with a gun he wasn’t legally allowed to carry. Nonetheless, he’s expressed zero remorse over his actions and has seemingly embraced his newfound celebrity as a conservative darling.

    […] I have the sneaking suspicion that he’s going to walk, and escaping justice isn’t likely to humble him. […]

    Link

  42. raven says

    Was anyone in the vicinity of Rittenhouse when he killed Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber ever charged with rioting? Disturbing the peace? Doing anything other than participating in a demonstration? (which is not a crime so you can’t be charged with it)

    No.
    Being a protester or demonstrator is not a crime.
    What the police did is trap the demonstrators between themselves at one end of the street and the armed right wingnut thugs at the other end of the street. They couldn’t escape and had no where to go.

    from Lynna at #53

    The judge said, “If more than one of them were engaged in arson, rioting, looting, I’m not going to tell the defense you can’t call them that, “ to which I must retort, “

    The judge has already disqualified himself and this is already a mistrial. They might as well just start over since an acquital will be appealed on the basis of a clearly prejudicial judge.

    There is no evidence that the Victims were engaged in arson, rioting, or looting. The judge is making accusations and then stating that these are facts. They aren’t arsonists, rioters, or looters until they are convicted in a court of law.

    And oh yeah, neither the police nor self appointed vigilantes are allowed to summarily execute people who are in the street committing crimes. The police usually just you know, arrest people first and then book them.

  43. PaulBC says

    Lynna, OM@53

    “If the jury is being told, if the defendant is walking down the sidewalk and doing what he claims he was hired to do and police say good thing you’re here, is that something influencing the defendant and emboldening him in his behavior? That would be an argument for relevance,” the judge said.

    This seems precisely backwards. One thing I remember from the time I got closest to being on a jury was being asked whether I would trust police testimony more than any other witness. I assume the point was to identify bias in favor of law enforcement and potentially eliminate jurors. A witness is a witness and just because a police officer says something doesn’t make it so. Since then, I’ve come to believe that in many cases they are more likely to lie than a randomly selected witness. They have a vested interest in the crime occurring as in the police report as well as to protect other police officers.

    If the police treated the defendant’s behavior as a “good thing” that implicates them as co-conspirators. I mean, they’re not on trial, so technically they’re not, but it is the conclusion I would reach.

    I have the sneaking suspicion that he’s going to walk, and escaping justice isn’t likely to humble him.

    I hope there is a recourse in civil lawsuits. He’s a dumb kid and in another situation, I might not be as eager to ruin his life as I am now. But he seems to have no comprehension that he committed murder, and something has got to knock that into his head before I have even the slightest sympathy.

  44. raven says

    This judge is clearly prejudicial and prejudging this case. He should be removed from the case now, not after a mistrial is declared on appeal.

    He says you can’t call the 2 men killed and one wounded “victims” because that is a biased term.
    But you can call them “arsonists, rioters, and looters” even though this hasn’t been proven and is, in fact, incorrect.

    So “victims” is a biased term but “arsonists, rioters, and looters” is not.
    This judge has contradicted himself.
    Not impressed with Wisconsin justice.

  45. notaandomposter says

    grrr

    I’m hoping the prosecutor is honest/competent- they should be able to get around the defense calling the folks Rittenhouse hunted and killed being called ‘arsonists’ or “rioters’ as those that were shot ARE NOT ON TRIAL HERE – the defense would have to present evidence that the specific people shot were committing those crimes (or at least that a reasonable person would believe so) —just to use the word looter/rioter/arsonist. On the other hand, the prosecution has a (IMHO) a much more straightforward task. Rittenhouse isn’t from Kenosha, he wasn’t ‘protecting’ his own property or that of a family member- he (and /or the militia he was with) saw an an opportunity to act, got their guns, and drove across state lines and went HUNTING

    not ‘victims’ ? a loaded term? no, the people Rittenhouse shot were prey
    I hope he’s found guilty
    I hope they slap weapons charges on to of the murder charges
    I hope his enablers get charged as accessories
    I hope the ‘militia’ he’s affiliated with gets charged with federal weapons trafficking charges
    I hope he, and his militia buddies get sued, just like the organizers of Charlottesville are being sued
    “but you can’t get blood from a stone’ you say? yea all that gofundme $$ that Rittenhouse got should go to the families of the folks he hunted

  46. bcw bcw says

    Comments from lawyers suggest that the press is misdescribing the situation. The judge has prohibited weighted terms from both sides during the evidence presentation.
    The issue is that the defendants are claiming self defense, thus, if the judge allows “victim” he is allowing a term that prejudges the self-defense claim. This would be grounds for an appeal.

    The evidence should pretty well demolish the self defense claim but the judge isn’t supposed to say that now.

    Weighted terms are allowed in the summary because that is not part of the evidence presentation.

  47. John Morales says

    An implicit endorsement:

    No. I’m not going to. I’m not going to explain ANY decision where a judge says “you can’t use this word” during trial. I’ve tried too many times. It’s pointless. You don’t want to know why. You want to be mad and you’ll be unsatisfied with the answer. EVERY TIME.

    https://twitter.com/Popehat/status/1453157750683308034

  48. says

    “The judge has prohibited weighted terms from both sides during the evidence presentation.”

    Obviously not … “rioters”, “looters” and “arsonists” are all extremely weighted. The judge said “If more than one of them were engaged in arson, rioting, looting, I’m not going to tell the defense you can’t call them that”–but even if they had been convicted of those crimes, and they haven’t. that would be prejudicial.

    “if the judge allows “victim” he is allowing a term that prejudges the self-defense claim. This would be grounds for an appeal.”

    This isn’t true.

  49. says

    @19

    Complete and utter bullpucky. “innocent until proven guilty” applies to members of the law enforcement system acting in their official capacities, because of the immense asymmetric power of the state and the consequences to the accused. It does not apply to discourse among rational agents, who are entitled to make inferences to the best explanation from the evidence available. And I don’t “presume” his guilt, I infer it. But when it comes to presumptions, you are the one presuming that, if certain people are the victims of a shooting, then Kyle Rittenhouse is guilty of a crime. That does not follow at all. He did shoot them, they are victims of the shooting, and the legal question is whether he committed a crime in doing so.

  50. PaulBC says

    I’m always willing to concede I may be missing information, but how does “victim” undermine a claim that the defendant believed he was acting in self-defense? The person who died in the process is still a victim. They showed up at the demonstration expecting to return from it alive. In fact, they died (for whatever reason). Hence, a “victim”. QED

  51. PaulBC says

    Beating a dead horse here, but…

    Accidental cause of death doesn’t mean you aren’t a “victim.” Death in an act of self-defense doesn’t either. Even a legally sanctioned killing can result in a “victim” or so one would conclude from this WaPo article from 1979:

    Outside the loved ones, and those who worked to save him, Spenkelink will be remembered as a cause and a lost cause. He is America’s first unwilling victim of capital punishment since death penalty laws, as then written, were cast aside 12 years ago as allowing cruel and unusual punishment.

    (Italics mine.)

    And yes, I get that terms can be “loaded” and prejudice a jury even if I pedantically insist that the dictionary says otherwise.

    I’m not a lawyer. I have incomplete information. So who knows? But this is just a novel restriction on the term “victim” as far as I’m concerned. Somebody who was expecting to be alive and is in fact dead can be described as a “victim” in nearly any case I can come up with.

  52. says

    “Schroeder indicated he would allow evidence of bad behavior that night by the men Rittenhouse shot because it could speak to how dangerous they would have seemed to the teen. Prosecutors failed to convince the judge that the defense wanted to sully Rosenbaum’s reputation so the jury could more easily justify the shooting.

    “This is an attempt to tell the jury that Mr. Rosenbaum was a bad guy who deserved to die,” Binger said. “That’s really what’s going on here, your honor.””

    Indeed. None of the allegedly “dangerous” “bad behavior” was directed at or a threat to Rittenhouse, so this is not relevant to a self-defense argument.

  53. PaulBC says

    Jim Balter@66

    “This is an attempt to tell the jury that Mr. Rosenbaum was a bad guy who deserved to die,” Binger said. “That’s really what’s going on here, your honor.””

    I was going to post something similar (though the above is more to the point).

    In my view, the most serious way in which the jury could be prejudiced is if through some phrasing they were led to believe that the deaths of Huber and Rosenbaum were inconsequential or somehow deserved, neither of which is the case. Tiptoeing around a word like “victim” in reference to young men who died suddenly leaving friends and loved ones behind will have exactly that effect (which I ungenerously suppose is the effect intended by the judge).

    E.g., Osama bin Laden was the victim of an attack by Navy SEALs. I mean that’s a plain statement of fact without judgment on the legitimacy of the operation. It is also not a word that would typically be used. And the likes of Fox News would be falling all over themselves to call someone a traitor for phrasing it this way. They also coined the absurdity “homicide bomber” to describe a suicide bomber–suicide being the defining characteristic, so that’s the idiots at Fox News, but maybe the rest of us can use words for what they mean. If you go out of your way to avoid saying “victim”, then you are the one attempting to prejudice the listener.

    Huber and Rosenbaum showed up at a demonstration, broke no laws doing so, expected to leave alive, and did not. It is also clear (though unproven) that they believed they were defending the crowd by disarming a shooter. In fact, it was reported unambiguously like this for days before the RWNJs managed to invert the narrative. They do no service to Rittenhouse, who is a young man possibly capable of remorse and rehabilitation. Instead, they prop him up as a confirmed vigilante who now finds his allies among white supremacists. This is a tragedy on many levels.

  54. birgerjohansson says

    PaulBC @ 46
    I am not certain it has not already been mentioned, but something like this was done by South Park, where Cartman blatantly shoots Token and claims he was just ‘standing his ground’ .
    Black people in USA have been living inside an absurd South Park episode since long before Trump became president.
    2016 is just when white folks caught up with the situation.

  55. says

    @jimjamjim0 35 and 39:
    Please explain, EXACTLY, what Rosenbaum (the first person killed by Rittenhouse) did to Rittenhouse; and whether or not his actions justify the use of lethal force against him.

    Here’s the catch: if you declare that “Rosenbaum did ABC, and his actions did justify the use of lethal force against him”, then that same standard will be applied to white people: every white person who does ABC can be killed immediately, and the killer cannot be prosecuted since they were justified. I expect mass shootings in the streets.

  56. jimjamjim0 says

    @73 Tizio, First off, I’m not denying Rittenhouse is a douchebag and its not a great idea going out armed when there’s a riot on. He evidently wasn’t the only one though.
    My understanding (from the video) of the first shooting is that he was being chased by a group again and Rosenbaum lunged at him trying to take the gun. Doesn’t matter if “Rosenbaum did ABC” or not, self defence laws are pretty clear on the matter, even if you provoke them if you’re retreating and being chased you can use equivalent force.

  57. marner says

    @73 Tizio

    if you declare that “Rosenbaum did ABC, and his actions did justify the use of lethal force against him”, then that same standard will be applied to white people

    Rosenbaum was white.
    I am uncertain if the shooting was justified. But if the defense can prove the following, I would acquit on the felony charges. Rittenhouse was trying to put out a fire made by an arsonist, angering Rosenbaum. Rosenbaum begins to chase Rittenhouse. Fleeing, Rittenhouse hears a gunshot and comes upon a barrier. Turning to face Rosenbaum, Rittenhouse aims his rifle at Rosenbaum. Rosenbaum lunges at Rittenhouse and attempts to wrestle his rifle away.
    If the defense can prove this, then sure, that qualifies people to shoot a white person (like Rosenbaum).

  58. says

    @74 jimjamjim0
    My understanding (from the video) of the first shooting is that he was being chased by a group again…
    No, you’re talking about the time when Rittenhouse shot Anthony Huber – his SECOND victim. We know this, because Rittenhouse was chased by a group of people only after he had already shot Rosenbaum. We know this because several witnesses – Rittenhouse included stated so.
    I explicitly asked you what ROSENBAUM did. Not what Huber did. Start over.

    @75 marner
    Fleeing, Rittenhouse hears a gunshot and comes upon a barrier.
    There was no barrier according to Rittenhouse. Also, you missed the part where Rosenbaum threw an empty plastic bag at Rittenhouse and stopped the chase.
    Start over.

  59. marner says

    @76 Tizio

    There was no barrier according to Rittenhouse.

    Has he gone on the record? Rittenhouse’s legal team released a video referencing Rittenhouse being pinned between two cars. They also claim that, “Directly in front of Rittenhouse, armed with bats and other weapons, a mob was forming a barricade”.
    Regardless, if Rosenbaum stopped chasing Rittenhouse and did not lunge for the weapon, then Rittenhouse should be convicted. I reiterate that I am uncertain if the shooting was justified. I do know that it’s not a slam dunk conviction. See https://apnews.com/article/wisconsin-shootings-homicide-kenosha-jacob-blake-620ad5801a29c986b658f6a74d3f9649

  60. davidc1 says

    Don’t know if anyone has mentioned this little gem from ,guess where ?
    Yes Texas ,a guy who seemed to be lost ,parked in someone’s driveway .the home owner
    came out and shot the driver dead .
    Don’t know if the fact that the guy was a Moroccan Muslim comes into it.
    The homeowner lied to the plod that the poor sod pointed a gun at him .
    no gun was found .
    He is trying to use the barmy stand your ground defence .
    If I ever set foot in America again ,the car I hire will have to come with bullet proof glass .

  61. James Redekop says

    This is being poorly reported, and isn’t quite as it seems. The Opening Arguments podcast has a good episode on this at https://openargs.com/oa538-the-rittenhouse-trial-instructions-explained/

    The whole purpose of the trial is to determine whether Rittenhouse is guilty of murder, or if the killings were (as he claimed) self-defense. I know which I think is the case, so I don’t have any problem calling Rittenhouse’s victims “victims”, but the court can’t pre-suppose the conclusion. As OA pointed out, if it was the case of a woman who’d killed an abusive partner, we’d all be up in arms if the prosecution were allowed to call the abuser a “victim”.

    Also, the judge did not determine that the defense could call the victims “looters” or “rioters”. The judge said that the defense could not call them that, unless they proved in court that they had engaged in rioting or looting. The headlines are misleading.

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