Saturday afternoon, the editorial board of the Wisconsin State Journal released a scathing editorial calling the not guilty verdicts in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial "chilling" and asserting that he should have been punished after killing two Black Lives Matter protesters.
Leaving little doubt about how the board viewed the outcome, they titled their piece: "Kyle Rittenhouse verdict sends a chilling message to Wisconsin and the rest of the country."
Getting right to the point, the editors wrote, "This wasn't the message Wisconsin or our nation needed to hear, even if the jury correctly followed the law."
"The disappointing verdict is sure to embolden militant people who seek to take the law into their own hands. It also could increase and complicate self-defense claims if more people carry — and use — firearms in the streets. That's a scary prospect," they then added.
The board decried those who are trying to turn the teen into a hero and suggested that jail time was warranted.
"Rittenhouse is no hero, as some of his defenders pretend. He behaved like a vigilante and didn't deserve to walk free, given his recklessness. Yet the law, unfortunately, skews in favor of shooters who claim self-defense. That needs to change," they wrote before claiming, "Rittenhouse, then 17, wasn't making anyone safer by parading through crowds of angry people with a semiautomatic rifle strapped to his chest and, according to prosecutors, pointing it at people before the conflict escalated."
According to the editorial, there is plenty of blame to spread around.
After writing, "If carrying an AR-15 down a crowded street isn't provocative, what is?" they added, "Rittenhouse even got off on a gun charge despite getting his weapon from a friend because he couldn't legally purchase it. Blame the state Legislature, not the judge who dismissed the charge, for that."
After providing the legislature with a roadmap to laws that need to be changed to limit a similar incident, they returned to the root of the problem.
"If Rittenhouse was justified in his actions, how does that apply if two people openly carry guns and point them at each other? Whose self-defense claim takes priority? Our state should be discouraging standoffs with guns, rather than encouraging more people to arm themselves out of fear or revenge," they wrote before concluding, "Did Rittenhouse face an unlawful threat that night in Kenosha, and was his use of force reasonable and necessary? The jury ultimately answered 'yes,' and we respect their decision — even though we don't like it. Responsible citizens who want to discourage similar tragedies should pressure their elected leaders for smarter gun laws. We the people, through our democracy, must demand that this troubling saga never happens again."
You can read more here.