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Self Defense or Murder? The Differences Between Rittenhouse & McMichaels

    Note: This article may contain commentary or the author's opinion.

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    The Kyle Rittenhouse trial has been all over the news, but while the trial against the three men accused of murdering Ahmaud Arbery has made the occasional splash, it hasn’t been televised or reported on to the same degree despite both incidences taking place in 2020.

    The shooting in Kenosha received immediate attention as the mainstream media appeared to do as much as they could to paint Kyle Rittenhouse as another “mass/active shooter” on a rampage on the night of August 25th, 2020. The Arbery shooting received attention only when the video was dropped online two months after it occurred on February 23rd, 2021. You may or may not know what happened in either case, so I’ll briefly summarize.

    Kyle Rittenhouse, then 17, was in Kenosha when he was chased down by rioters. During the ensuing chase wherein, Joseph Rosenbaum confronted and attempted to take Rittenhouse’s weapon up to two different times and the teen was forced to fire on Rosenbaum, resulting in his death. Rioters nearby decided to give chase. One man struck Rittenhouse in the head with a skateboard (Anthony Huber) and was shot; he also died. The third man, Gaige Grosskreutz, by his own testimony during the trial, pointed his weapon at Rittenhouse and was subsequently shot as well. Grosskreutz didn’t lose his life, but lost about 90 percent of his bicep.

    This is a video of Kyle shooting the first man, Joseph Rosenbaum.

    The video below is of Kyle shooting Anthony Huber and Gaige Grosskreutz.

    Gregory and Travis McMichael (father and son), joined and filmed by Roddie Bryan, were the ones who chased down Ahmaud Arbery in a truck, with a shotgun. The three men were attempting a citizen’s arrest on Arbery believing he fit the description of a man who’d been breaking and entering in the neighborhood. They based this evidence off the fact he’d been inside a home that was still under construction. When Ahmaud ran, he was nearly run over by the McMichael’s truck, before he tried to wrestle the gun away from Travis McMichael before being shot during the struggle.

    The video below is of Travis McMichael shooting Ahmaud Arbery.

    Many of our armchair or keyboard lawyers have stated emphatically that they back Kyle Rittenhouse but not the McMichael’s and that has left many people wondering what the difference between the two cases are? Why is one self-defense, but the other murder? Why was it okay for Kyle Rittenhouse to shoot Joseph Rosenbaum, but it was murder when Travis McMichael shot Ahmaud Arbery?

    Kyle Rittenhouse claimed that Rosenbaum tried to take his gun away twice and it was during the second attempt that he fired his weapon. This was corroborated by the coroner and other experts during his trial. The same can technically be said of Travis McMichael. Unlike Rosenbaum who lunged for the gun, McMichael was actually in the middle of a physical struggle for control of the gun with Arbery.

    It too would be self-defense, right?

    Not necessarily. Remember, Kyle was being chased, harassed and threatened by Joseph Rosenbaum. At least one witness came forward to say that not only had Rosenbaum led a charge into a gas station and attempted to start fires, but that he threatened to kill Kyle and others who were present. Furthermore, Kyle Rittenhouse was rushed and attacked by several people after he tried to give aid to Rosenbaum which resulted in two more people, both of whom were actively threatening the teenager physically, to be shot as well.

    Meanwhile, Ahmaud Arbery may have been trespassing or he may not have been. He may have been jogging or he may have been running away to avoid arrest, but one witness acknowledged many people, even contractors, go into new builds or houses just being built to look around. Arbery also didn’t initiate the confrontation with any of the three men who chased him. The 25-year-old was essentially “boxed in” by two vehicles with a man standing in the bed of a pick-up and aiming a weapon at him while another man chased and filmed him. Thanks to the camera dipping low and Travis and Ahmaud disappearing behind the front of the truck, it’s difficult to determine who made the first move.

    The question in the Ahmaud trial won’t be what Ahmaud was up to or not. It’s all about whether or not the McMichael’s and Roddie Byron had the right to make a citizen’s arrest. The citizen’s arrest laws in Georgia were changed in February of 2021 due to the killing of Arbery.

    Neither case’s outcome has been determined, though the defense for Rittenhouse did rest their case on Veteran’s Day, November 11th, 2021. The Jury is expected to begin deliberations on Monday according to Fox News.

    After weeks of jury selection, the trial for McMichael’s and Byron only began on November 5th, 2021.

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