Quite a lot, actually.
It took personal courage: both from the judge, who will probably be the focus of left-wing fury for the rest of his life, and from the twelve men and women who sat in ultimate judgment. The jurors knew that someone would be able to identify them afterward. They knew that should their identities be publicized, little or nothing would stand between them and an angry mob. And they knew that in that event, they might have to do what Kyle Rittenhouse did on that long-ago night.
It took moral courage, too. The threats of mass violence were many and explicit. The organizers were “rallying the troops.” They made sure that supplies of bricks were pre-positioned. The AntiFa and BLM savages – and I mean that word in its exact sense — were slavering over the prospect of a fresh spell of looting, burning, and assorted other acts of brutality. But the jurors decided, against all that pressure, that they could not sacrifice an innocent young American’s life over the possibility of a left-wing backlash.
Finally, it took clarity. The judge and jurors had to be willing to see what was before them: the nature of the incident, the nature of the dead rioters, the response of the defendant, and the associated evidence. They had to see all that despite a politicized prosecution that strained to obscure every element of it. That prosecution was even caught presenting falsified and corrupted evidence in open court – with the enthusiastic support of the media. The judge and jurors had to see that, too.
Despite all the threats, the prospects for further rioting and looting, and the constant media pressure, they did the right thing.
Kyle Rittenhouse took a huge chance in going to Kenosha that night. Whether it was a heroic deed, I’ll leave for the carrion-pickers to mumble over. It wasn’t heroic of him to defend himself; that’s hard-wired into us by half a million years of evolution. But Judge Schroeder and the jurors acted heroically. The reasons are above.
I feared the worst. But I feared it in the George Zimmerman case, too – and despite all the fear-mongering and other pressures, the judge and jurors came through.
Yes, Kyle Rittenhouse is free. Yes, that’s “one for the good guys.” Just don’t forget to celebrate the heroes.