Kyle Rittenhouse vs. Jacob Blake

I’ve seen a lot of confusion and misinformation spreading about both the Kyle Rittenhouse and Jacob Blake cases. So I want to take a moment to address some of it. First we’ll look at some facts in the Rittenhouse case then we’ll move on to Blake’s. I’m going to also address some things that black people should know about each case and what white people should know. I realize that the issue isn’t split evenly between black and white people, but the vast majority of the split on my social media feed has appeared to be down that color line. So don’t take offense if some of what I say doesn’t apply to you.

Kyle Rittenhouse

Christian website raises almost $400K for Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse  – DeadState

-Rittenhouse is 17 years old

-He was asked by a business owner to protect his car dealership from violent protestors in Kenosha, Wisconsin

-He was chased by at least 3 protestors while running away then shot them while one of the protestors was trying to wrestle his gun from him

He was illegally yielding a firearm because he’s a minor

Here’s a video of the some of the encounter if you want to watch. Warning: it is graphic.

What black people need to know:

Rittenhouse wasn’t some cold-blooded hunter who went out of his way to hunt down BLM protestors and kill them. He was very much in a life and death situation and if the roles had been reversed and he’d been black shooting white people who attacked him, we’d be cheering him on. So posting memes of Ted Bundy washing dishes isn’t accurate. It’s not the same thing. If you watch the video, he is very clearly in danger. So(and please hear me out on this one) if and when Rittenhouse gets cleared on the grounds of self defense, please don’t lose your minds. He is not Dylan Roof. He is not James Holmes. He’s a kid who was trying to do what he thought was right and had to defend his life or be killed. He may very well be racist and maybe he even secretly wanted to kill black protestors. But in this particular situation none of that matters because his life was literally in danger. So please, save the trigger-happy savagery and give him the same grace we want white people to give us.

What white people need to know:

He was illegally possessing a firearm. You can’t gloss over that. George Floyd was killed over a counterfeit $20. Eric Garner was killed over loose cigarettes. A minor carrying a firearm in Wisconsin is a Class A misdemeanor. Another thing that’s illegal in Wisconsin? Using deadly force to protect property. You made sure we knew that Floyd and Garner shouldn’t have broken the law. We need that same energy here.

Jacob Blake

What we know about Jacob Blake, the Kenosha, Wisconsin police shooting  victim - CBS News

Blake is 29 years old

He had a warrant out for his arrest for sexually assaulting a woman in her home

-Blake’s girlfriend called the police because he wasn’t supposed to be at her house

-He was confronted by 6 armed officers 

-He was shot 7 times while allegedly reaching for a knife in his car

-Another account says officers were called because he was trying to steal a car

-He was hospitalized and paralyzed from the waist down.

-He was handcuffed to his hospital bed

What black people need to know:

Blake’s attack was undoubtedly tragic and it’s why I decided not to post his video. But we can’t gloss over the fact that he very much is a criminal. He did something to a woman I don’t even want to repeat here. The point is he’s not cool. We can acknowledge this while still demanding justice, police reform, etc., but we can’t look stupid by acting like he was a saint. In this sense you can’t compare Blake to Rittenhouse because the contexts were very different. Rittenhouse was defending himself while defending businesses from violent protesters. Blake was defending himself while being confronted for possible domestic violence. They’re not the same thing. Also, as much as I hate to admit this, apparently him being handcuffed to the hospital bed was actually procedure for whenever someone in custody is detained and needs to be hospitalized. So as bad is it looks, it might be not be racial and might just be policy.

What white people need to know:

Blake was and is indeed a criminal. However, you need to be very careful how far you take the “criminals get what they deserve” logic. There are plenty of women in prison for killing their rapists who would have loved that same energy from you.

Secondly, this same argument isn’t used as swiftly with white criminals. When Brock Turner sexually assaulted Chanel Miller, the court ruled that a prison sentence would “damage his future.” But he’s a criminal. Shouldn’t he get what he deserves? 

Thirdly, this logic is actually the same logic that allows new forms of slavery to still exist in America. The 13th amendment says that slavery should be abolished except when someone commits a crime. Why do we feel the need to remove human dignity from people once they commit a crime? As if what you do defines your humanity?

And lastly, since we’re on the topic of dignity, why was it necessary for Blake to be handcuffed to his hospital bed? Even though it was procedure, he was cuffed by his ankle. But he’s paralyzed from the waist down. Isn’t that overkill? Am I missing something? Why are black people being treated like we’re Special Forces assassins who pose dire threats even when we’re paralyzed?

I hope this has been helpful. If I missed something, please let me know in the comments below(as long as you’re willing to be civil about it). Whatever side of these cases you fall on, I hope you remember to do the research before demonizing or deifying anyone. Because we should all know by now that memes on facebook are not reliable news sources.

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