It is made all the more difficult by the burden of expectations.
The intense media coverage spurred a public already sharply divided by political differences to expect a political and social message from the jury’s verdict. But the law requires something completely different: a rigorous analysis of the facts and laws of 12 ordinary citizens isolated from outside pressure.
The evidence presented during the trial put a full menu of political issues at the center, sparking a debate that divided the nation. Should Americans, including 17-year-olds, be allowed to police the streets of a town in a neighboring state when law enforcement against some proves inadequate? Was Kyle Rittenhouse acting as a vigilante when he chose to arm himself and plunge into conflict by protesters and others, claiming that his purpose was to protect property and first aid? Is this legal if he is? Is Rittenhouse looking for trouble, and should this limit his right to assert his right to self-defence? Are we headed for an America where political factions are openly armed and protesters can roam the streets openly carrying AR-15s like militias in other countries? lawless and other war-torn?
Given the complexity of the Rittenhouse case, hopes of greater symbolism from the verdict would be puzzling. If any lesson is to be learned, it is not in the outcome but in the evidence presented at trial. Whether Rittenhouse is found guilty or innocent, one thing remains clear: The trailer, introduced mainly by the prosecutor, depicts a creepy, out-of-date scene in the streets of Kenosha on the evening of August. Law and order had collapsed with heavily armed civilians, as militiamen assumed the role of law enforcement.