So far in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial, one of the prosecution’s defining arguments had hinged on the logic of “you don’t bring a gun to a fistfight.”
The 18-year-old Rittenhouse is facing five felony counts: one count of first-degree intentional homicide for the death of Anthony Huber, one count of first-degree reckless homicide for the death of Joseph Rosenbaum, two counts of reckless endangerment for firing a gun near others and one count of first-degree attempted intentional homicide for the wounding of Gaige Grosskreutz, NPR reported.
Meanwhile, Rittenhouse’s defense is arguing that he was defending himself against violence. One such instance was when Huber allegedly swung a skateboard at Rittenhouse’s head.
Defense attorney Mark Richards argued this was an attempt on Rittenhouse’s life.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I would love to be able to hold up that skateboard in front of you as evidence today, because then you could see it,” Richards told the jury, according to the Independent. “You could see the weight and the heft of what a skateboard is, and what that skateboard would do if somebody takes it in their hand and swings down on somebody’s shoulder, head, and neck, trying to separate the head from the body.”
The prosecution continued to argue, however, that Rittenhouse was not acting in self-defense.
“You don’t bring a gun to a fistfight. … What the defendant wants you to believe is that, because he’s the one who brought the gun, he gets to kill,” prosecutor Thomas Binger said, NBC News reported.
However, a skateboard can kill a person. In 2015, a man died in California after being struck in the head with a skateboard.
On Nov. 24, 2015, a fight broke out in a Santa Ana Starbucks, KABC-TV reported.
Ozro Lee, a 50-year-old, was reported to have been acting strangely and then got into a fight with a younger man who “quickly stood up and struck Lee in the head with his skateboard in what witnesses described as an act of self-defense,” according to WLS-TV.
Lee was taken to the Orange County Global Medical Center, but succumbed to the blow and was pronounced dead on arrival.
So it is not unreasonable for the defense in Rittenhouse’s case to take the threat of a swinging skateboard seriously.
The defense explained that Huber has swung his skateboard directly at Rittenhouse and “tried to take his head off,” NBC reported. In fact, a criminal complaint explaining the struggle said that Huber’s skateboard “made contact” with Rittenhouse’s shoulder.
If the blow of a skateboard can be so harmful, and even fatal, Rittenhouse was acting in self-defense.
“Kyle Rittenhouse protected himself, protected his firearm so it couldn’t be taken and used against him or other people, from Mr. Rosenbaum who’d made threats to kill, and the other individuals who didn’t see that shooting, attacked him in the street like an animal,” Richards said, according to the Independent.
The prosecution argued it was Rittenhouse who provoked the whole scenario.
“That is what provokes this entire incident … When the defendant provokes the incident, he loses the right to self-defense. You cannot claim self-defense against a danger you create,” Binger said, according to NBC.
The prosecution also leaned on the argument that evidence shows that there was chaos and violence all over Kenosha, yet Rittenhouse was the only one who killed anyone.
But no matter what the prosecution claims, it should be made clear that a skateboard can be a weapon.
Sure, it is not the equal of a gun, but to make assumptions that the assailants could not possibly have seriously harmed Rittenhouse is not entirely accurate.
Skateboards are not simply harmless. Ozro Lee is dead proof of it.