Kyle Rittenhouse was a vigilante, not a gun rights hero

Sean Krajacic-Pool / Getty Images. Kyle Rittenhouse is on trial for shooting three people, two of them fatally, amid the chaos of pro...


kyle rittenhouse at trial

Sean Krajacic-Pool / Getty Images.

Kyle Rittenhouse is on trial for shooting three people, two of them fatally, amid the chaos of protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin following the police shooting in Jacob blake. The teenager has become a famous cause in some conservative circles, with his self-defense claim adopted by Second Amendment advocates, but Rittenhouse is an extremely poor hero for the gun rights cause.

Rittenhouse was accused with intentional first degree homicide, reckless first degree homicide and attempted first degree intentional homicide for his alleged actions on the evening of August 25, 2020. According to CNN:

The events of that night, almost all captured on video, are hardly disputed: Rittenhouse, armed with an AR-15 style rifle, shot Rosenbaum – who was chasing the teenager and threw a plastic bag at him – then shot three other people who confronted him. Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber were killed, and Gaige Grosskreutz was injured…

Rittenhouse fired his rifle a total of eight times during the chaotic protests that followed the police shooting against Jacob Blake. He shot Rosenbaum four times; shot twice at a stranger who tried to kick him; fatally shot Huber, who hit him with a skateboard; and shot Grosskreutz, armed with a rifle, in the arm.

Only seventeen at the time of the shooting, Rittenhouse resided in Antioch, Ill., About 30 minutes south of Kenosha. He said he had seen videos on social media showing uncontrollable protests in Kenosha, escalating into vandalism, arson and violence. He did not have a valid driver’s license at the time.

During cross-examination of the prosecution, Rittenhouse admitted that he knew he had no legal right to own the rifle he used in the shootings, and had given money to his friend Dominique black buy the gun for him in May 2020 and keep it with Black’s stepfather until Rittenhouse is 18. The young man also testified that he chose this particular style of weapon because it “looked cool. “

Rittenhouse and Black joined several other young men who traveled to Kenosha for the stated purpose of helping to defend the property from rioters. Rittenhouse had also previously worked as a lifeguard and participated in a police cadet program, obtaining first aid training. He was neither hired by any of the owners nor invited to come, but when interviewed on video by The daily caller Richie McGinnis several hours before the shootings, he claimed his “job” was to “protect this business” and “help people”:

So people are getting hurt, and our job is to protect this business. Part of my job is also to help people. If there is anyone injured, I am in danger. That’s why I have my gun, because I have to protect myself, of course. I also have my medical kit.

Additional video clips from that day showed Rittenhouse pretending to be an EMT, a false statement which the prosecutor made him admit that he knew it was false.

In addition to Rittenhouse’s own testimony, his defense attorney called several witnesses in an attempt to establish that Rittenhouse was acting in self-defense.

Without getting too deep into the weeds of criminal procedure and rules of evidence, the details of how and why Rittenhouse illegally obtained the rifle, illegally drove without a valid license across state lines, and voluntarily walked away. placed in the middle of a scene of unrest and violence are unlikely to negate his claims of self-defense, and the possibility that he may be acquitted of one or more charges has already angered many. It is likely that Rittenhouse could convince the jury that he had a reasonable fear for his life at least during the initial confrontation with Rosenbaum, his first gunshot victim, and be held legally not guilty.

However, Rittenhouse remains morally guilty, despite how his actions have been praised by a disturbing number of commentators, mostly on the right. Fox News’ Greg Gutfeld is one of the most remarkable examples, going so far as to praise Rittenhouse for doing “what the government should have done” to prevent “those violent and disgusting bags of dirt” from “wandering the streets”. For a much more cautious contrary opinion, Quin Hillyer written for the Washington Examiner that Rittenhouse was a “vigilant” and “clearly responsible for the two deaths” he caused, having surrendered to Kenosha “expecting trouble, and he severely exacerbated the trouble he found”.

A gun is a tool that humans can use, and I won’t be the first to compare guns to automobiles: both require training and practice to function competently, have legal restrictions on their use. use by minors and, most importantly, can be dangerous, even fatal, when misused. Anyone using a firearm or driving a car must be mentally and emotionally calm, in good physical health (including eyesight and hand-eye coordination), free from the influence of drugs or alcohol, and know how to use that specific model of gun or vehicle.

I have attended several Conservative conferences, political debates, and campaign events over the years when guns were a hot topic of debate; attended gun shows and shooting events, and attended concealed porterage courses in Texas and Florida. I have repeatedly heard critical messages about gun safety: the importance of properly maintaining a firearm, getting proper training and practice, being responsible for the storage and possession of firearms; and to be extremely careful about the potentially fatal decision to point a gun at another human, let alone pull the trigger.

The NRA has been rightly criticized for their bizarre messaging efforts and that of the organization blatant financial mismanagement, but they have developed a nationwide network of certified firearms trainers, and the lessons these trainers teach have a strong safety focus. Anyone handling a firearm in an NRA classroom should treat it as if it was always loaded, never point it at another person or anything other than the designated target, exercise a strict trigger discipline and simply maintaining mindfulness and control over the weapon at all times.

This post is in direct conflict with everything we know about Rittenhouse, how he got his gun, why he decided to go to Kenosha and his actions that fateful night.

Rittenhouse bought his rifle because his friend had one and he thought it looked cool. Since he was not legally allowed to own it, his friend held the gun for him. With the weapon purchased in May before the August shooting and being kept out of the way and impractical for Rittenhouse’s access, he hadn’t had much time to familiarize himself with it. He described how he bought the strap for the AR-15 so he could walk around with the gun strapped to his back.

He had seen video of the riots in Kenosha, knew there had been arson and violence. Despite that, he still decided to drive around town and walk around with that very obvious big gun. Being only 17, and not actually a police officer, and not actually an EMT, his outward appearance was a man with a big gun and a fanny pack. Showing up like that in the middle of a riot made him the proverbial game, willingly throwing himself into a vat of gasoline. His own illegal actions, dishonesty and poor decision-making made an already chaotic situation worse.

Even if we accept for the sake of argument the argument advanced by Gutfeld and others that the local authorities in Kenosha had failed and that citizen action was necessary and justified, we do not call the children to fight our battles.

We do not enlist children to join the military; it is literally a war crime. We do not allow children to become police, firefighters or paramedics. Rittenhouse playing the apprentice cop role in a cadet program was an educational opportunity for high school students; cadets are not sent to arrest criminals or respond to emergency calls.

There were real, very serious problems in Kenosha last year – millions of dollars in property were destroyed, people injured and even killed – but an Illinois child was not the solution.

In closing, I might be more inclined to be more charitable towards the efforts to make Rittenhouse a Second Amendment rights poster if there hadn’t been such a appalling hesitation from these same neighborhoods to speak for the rights of the second amendment of Philando Castille, was in fact a legally licensed gun owner.

This is an opinion piece. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.



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Newsrust - US Top News: Kyle Rittenhouse was a vigilante, not a gun rights hero
Kyle Rittenhouse was a vigilante, not a gun rights hero
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