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Perspectives are commentaries produced by and for WNIJ listeners, from a panel of regular contributors and guests. You're invited to comment on or respond to any Perspective on our Facebook page or through Twitter (@wnijnews), in keeping with our Discussion Policy. If you would like to submit your own Perspective for consideration, send us a script that will run about 90 seconds when read -- that's about 250 words -- and email it to NPR@niu.edu, with "Perspectives" in the subject line.

Perspective: Not guilty and not innocent

via Wikimedia Commons
Site where Anthony Huber was killed, Kenosha, Wisc.

Last week a Wisconsin jury found Kyle Rittenhouse not guilty of all charges. Yet, he was not found innocent.

In a Fox News Interview, Wendy Rittenhouse said, "There were two people that did pass away and families have grieved.”

Hmmm. The two people who “did pass away,” were killed by then 17-year old Kyle Rittenhouse. They did not pass away; their lives were taken away. And, “families have grieved.” The families of the two dead victims will grieve forever. Their grief is terminal, especially the younger man. The death of a child at any age, breaks hearts in ways unimaginable.

Perhaps to assuage her guilt and to make herself feel better, Wendy’s words were chosen to significantly soften her son’s actions.

Yet here’s the thing -- words matter. Nothing Wendy says will soften the fact that two people are dead, killed by her son.

Long after books are written and after the moment of fame on talk shows fades, no matter what path Rittenhouse chooses, the facts remain unchanged. Rittenhouse shot and killed two people. They are dead and their families are grieving.

Rittenhouse may have been found not guilty of the charges -- yet is he innocent? I think not.

I’m Lou Ness and that’s my perspective

Corrected: November 24, 2021 at 2:20 PM CST
An earlier version of this Perspective said Wendy Rittenhouse drove her son to Wisconsin. Kyle Rittenhouse testified that he drove himself to Wisconsin the day before the protest and shootings.