‘It hurts’: KIRO Radio hosts react in wake of Kyle Rittenhouse verdict
A jury acquitted Kyle Rittenhouse of all charges on Friday, after he pleaded self-defense when he killed two men and wounded a third during a protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in the summer of 2020.
KIRO Radio’s Gee & Ursula Show was on the air shortly following Friday’s verdict, with the hosts providing their reactions.
Rittenhouse had been charged with homicide and attempted homicide with reckless endangerment. His attorneys claimed he was chased by a protester who had allegedly attempted to grab the then-17-year-old’s AR-style rifle, and that he had acted out of fear for his life.
As Gee & Ursula Show co-host Gee Scott pointed out, prosecutors in this case had a tough hill to climb to prove otherwise.
“Emotions and feelings do not hold up in the court of law,” Gee said during Friday’s edition of the show. “When it came down to it, this all boiled down to the law in the state of Wisconsin — Wisconsin is an open carry place, and the prosecutors, they failed to prove that illegal possession of weapons would bar his claim of self defense.”
Despite that, there’s still room to be frustrated with the end result of the trial, Gee noted.
“Man, it hurts,” he continued. “For me, it hurts — it hurts because as we continue on in this country, all these laws in this country haven’t been for everyone. When they say ‘serve and protect,’ some people in this country are served and protected, and others are policed. There’s a difference.”
Co-host Aaron Mason — filling in this week for Ursula Reutin — expressed further concerns over what Friday’s acquittal could mean for others who may feel empowered to arm themselves during protests.
“What worries me is not the nuts and bolts and the intricacies and the minutiae of a court case here,” he said. “It’s what is sort of the overall impression, the feeling, the vibe? And my initial reaction, is this feels like a stamp of approval on what (Rittenhouse) did.”
“I’m just really worried about the potential encouragement of folks who want to do what he did, because he, according to this verdict, didn’t do anything wrong,” Aaron added. “That concerns me.”
For producer Andrew Lanier, it also speaks to a widening political divide becoming more and more dangerous by the day.
“I’m tired. I’m really tired, and I’m sad,” he said. “Last summer, in the wake of some horrific police killings, you had protests across the nation. You also had riots going on alongside of those. You had legitimate protests. You had rioters. And you had armed militia groups showing up. The rioters and the militia are like two warring gangs, and I am sad that those factions showed up.”
“I am sad that there was a narrative that BLM is burning America, and that narrative drove people like Kyle Rittenhouse to go down to Kenosha to protect businesses, because they were told that there were Black people destroying the country,” Andrew continued. “… This looks like people arming up against warring factions within society.”
You can listen to the discussion at this link, or stream it below.
Listen to the Gee and Ursula Show weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.