Kyle Rittenhouse Ethics, Part 1

Kenosha

What a mess.

I could write about six freestanding posts about this incident, the resulting trial, and the nauseating news media spin being placed on the matter from both sides of the political spectrum. I, however, have a limited attention span for people and events this annoying. Two will have to do.

To begin with, this whole fiasco arose out of the Kenosha, Wisconsin, Black Lives Matter rioting, easily the least defensible of all last summer’s uprisings over presumed racism where there was none. It’s a close contest, with the Briana Taylor riots in Louisville and the Atlanta rioting over the jerk killed at the Wendy’s after he tried to shoot a taser at a cop, running close behind. But the riots over the shooting of Jacob Blake were even less justified than these, and no rioting is ever justified. Blake was a felon, he was in the act of a crime, he was harassing his alleged rape victim, he was armed, and he was placing children in peril. He should have been shot, and his race was irrelevant. Never mind: both the NBA and Major League Baseball allowed players to engage in one-day strikes over the incident, though they didn’t know the facts. Ugh.

Rittenhouse, meanwhile, deserves some sympathy, but not much. He is a teen, and teens, males especially, have malfunctioning brains (trust me, I know this). Still, even a malfunctioning brain should be able to figure out that walking into a riot carrying a rifle is literally—meaning literally—asking for trouble. He says he was protecting his neighborhood—well, he was being an idiot. That’s not his job. Too many conservatives in print and otherwise have called him a hero. Being irresponsible and reckless (as well as illegally possessing a firearm) is not heroic. Remember the Ethics Quote from yesterday? “There is no such thing as doing the wrong thing for the right reasons. It’s just the wrong thing.”

OK, Rittenhouse “meant well.” I don’t care: he still need to be punished, and the message needs to be sent, loud and clear, that anyone not a police officer deliberately intervening in a riot with a firearm will be prosecuted. (The message also needs to be sent, similarly clearly, that rioters will also be prosecuted, even if they are part of the Democratic Party’s “base.” But that’s a separate issue.)

The prosecutors breached ethical standards in charging Rittenhouse with murder. This was a political prosecution, and heads should roll for it. They ignored the evidence that strongly indicated self-defense, because Black Lives Matter enablers want Rittenhouse to metaphorically hang in the public square as a warning to anyone challenging the group’s power. The media, meanwhile, is cheering the hanging on as the current trial proceeds because the media has lost all objectivity and prudence.

I suspect that the bad guys will lose this time. That still doesn’t make Rittenhouse a hero.

120 thoughts on “Kyle Rittenhouse Ethics, Part 1

  1. I suspect that the bad guys will lose this time. That still doesn’t make Rittenhouse a hero.

    Hell no, it doesn’t, and anyone who thinks that is addled by partisanship or some kind of mental disorder.

    As a minor, he had absolutely no business there whatsoever, for any reason, and I really don’t know why his parents didn’t stop him. Minor possession of firearms is apparently a misdemeanor in Wisconsin, and illegally carrying a firearm into a riot with the stated purpose of using it for protection is public endangerment, in my view. Deliberately entering a riot zone without a demonstrated need is reckless and showed that Rittenhouse intended to act as a vigilante.

    Of course, this is a political trial as you say. There is no good outcome. If he is somehow found guilty in spite of the obvious reasonable doubt, the judge would be within his rights, an in fact be obligated, to throw out the verdict. He may even enter a directed verdict on all the serious charges even if he somehow avoids the necessity of declaring a mistrial on the clear and repeated prosecutorial misconduct.

    Many have vowed violence if Rittenhouse is acquitted. There will likely be violence if he is convicted also, as this has become a cause célèbre on the right. This is a mares nest and and a kind of legal zugzwang where all moves have bad outcomes. But this is not the fault of the law, but the fault of our current toxic political environment where any outcome demanded by one side is automatically opposed with the same passion by the other.

      • I’m not quite sure what the point is. It doesn’t matter, in my view, who made it one or why. It doesn’t even matter if it was a peaceful, “but fiery” protest.

        Rittenhouse’s stated reason for being there was to defend somebody’s business. That’s simply not a good reason for a minor to be unsupervised with a firearm in an area where he knew there was going to be trouble.

    • I’ve been watching the coverage of this case extensively, probably to the detriment of a couple of other projects I have on the go.

      I think we need to take a couple steps back and look at some of the words we’re using in this case.

      Kyle is being referred to as a “minor” or “boy”, as an example: He was a 17 year old young man. Just like many other 17 year old young men we’ve talked about over the last few years. How did we refer to Michael Brown? There is no magic switch at 18 or 21 that denotes an actual change in the person’s physiology or mental capacity, and I doubt very much that anything would have changed had he been a few months older.

      I also want to look at the word “hero” or “heroic”, and what they mean. Was Kyle being heroic? I think I’d argue more in the affirmative than other people here are. The point was made that strapping up and protecting his neighborhood wasn’t Kyle’s job. I’m not sure if that’s true either. His city was literally on fire. HIs friends and family were in danger. The police weren’t able to do anything about it. Ambulances wouldn’t go into the riot zones. Fire trucks were nowhere to be seen.

      Is it the opinion of Ethics Alarms that riots ought to be allowed to go on until they peter out, and that it is the duty of citizens to allow them to vent their rage?

      Because if it isn’t, then given all the facts on the ground, as dangerous and stupid as it may have been to do it, I’d argue that Kyle’s actions have more elements of patriotism and heroism than not. “Idiotic” is not mutually exclusive of “heroic”, and the difference between what we call idiocy and heroism is often success. I’m not sure that you’d call this a success, but I think the world needs more Rittenhouses and fewer Hubers and Rosenbaums and Grosskreutzes.

      • I also want to point out that the way warfare is basically fought basically relies on the “defectiveness” of young men’s brains. I’m not saying that the phenomenon doesn’t exist, but that society regularly finds a use for it, and the basic mindset of Rittenhouse (“Some bad shit is happening, I need to do something about it”) has some very obvious parallels to the mindset of the men that enlisted during wartime.

        • Does anyone else have the problem where they have a fully functional vocabulary, but once you’ve used a word once in a comment, you are “basically” more likely to use that word or derivatives of it multiple times in a post? I do this, I don’t know why.

          • Everybody here is really big on the Second Amendment, i.e. the ability of citizens to arm themselves to protect themselves (and certainly their property and community). Isn’t what transpired simply a guy exercising a constitutional right exactly as the framers contemplated?

            • Wisconsin does not allow you to shoot someone to protect property. Self-defense is acceptable, unless you’re protecting yourself at a riot, then you should just die because you could have stayed home.

              • See… What’s sad is that because I don’t know you, I’m not sure whether that is dripping with sarcasm, or just your point of view, because if that was meant seriously, you wouldn’t be the first person I’ve seen make almost word for word that point. (Although, I think in context, it’s probably sarcasm.)

                • It’s definitely sarcasm…driven by hearing the “he could have stayed home” comments on repeat. I point out the rioters could have stayed home, they could have left the kid with a rifle alone, they could have left the rioting to join the “mostly peaceful” folks. Hindsight is 20-20, but it’s hard to fault the people trying to protect the area.

                  • It’s… I mean, it isn’t weird, because progressives routinely trample over their own “principles” the moment it’s politically expedient, but it’s maybe a reversal of norms in this case because the saying that “he could have stayed home” is a form of victim blaming.

                    Sure, he could have stayed home. It would have been safer for him. But so could have your average rape victim. We know that’s not the point, right?

              • He didn’t shoot anyone to protect property. He shot people who were attacking him. Watch the video. The segment involving Grosskreutz shows him pointing his rifle at Grosskreutz when he is running up on him, lowering it when Grosskreutz backs off, and firing only when Grosskreutz advances on him again while pointing a gun at his head from three feet away.
                P.S. Thanks, Humble. I’ve been thinking a lot about Jack’s take on it. You got in before me. While I’m generally vehemently against vigilantism, I don’t know what the alternative is when the Police won’t/can’t stop lawlessness and every other major institution seems to be cheering it on. The vast majority of people in this country hated this violence and destruction. Who’s going to stop it when those who’ve been sanctioned to do so won’t? I was struck by the video showing the violence taking place along Sheridan Rd. There are houses on that street. It looks like my neighborhood. I wondered what I would do our feel if that was happening in front of my house with the police refusing to intervene while my fellow citizens, while sympathetic, could only wring their hands because standing up to it would be “idiotic” and “looking for trouble”.

            • I think the tendency to try to mitigate the good aspects of someone like Rittenhouse comes from either a lack of familiarity with the situation or an overabundance of “fairness” (ie. where people are Solomaning the baby to appear more reasonable to an audience that was never in danger of treating you reasonably). And I’m not sure where it’s coming from, Jack et al was nowhere near as equivocal over the McCloskeys, and the only really material difference between the McCloskeys and Rittenhouse was that their deterrence worked.

                • It might be if we were just talking about the risk, danger and stupidity of doing that… But you explicitly said that Kyle needed to be punished;

                  “I don’t care: he still need to be punished, and the message needs to be sent, loud and clear, that anyone not a police officer deliberately intervening in a riot with a firearm will be prosecuted.”

                  So is that the point where Kyle gave up his right to self defense? You tell me, at what level of vicinity to rioters do people lose their second amendment rights? At what point did Americans entirely fork over their ability to protect their communities to the state?

                  • If what Rittenhouse was doing is illegal, what’s the point of the Second Amendment? If standing up to rioters isn’t the equivalent of forming a militia to counter abusive British Troops, what is? Even a die-hard lefty trying to limit the Second Amendment to Minutemen, isn’t Rittenhouse THAT case?

                    • No, of course not. He put himself into peril…in that respect, it’s like the Georgia case. The Second Amendment doesn’t empower citizens to go looking for trouble, and that’s what KR did.

                    • The record is clear: Kyle went to clean graffiti, put out fires and administer first aid, and he brought the rifle for protection, which he only used when there were imminent threats to his life present. The only part of this that was illegal was his posession of the rifle. And it’s amazing how hyperfocused people are on that, seeing as how it would have been entirely legal if Kyle had the proper carry permit and not having the correct paperwork to carry that gun is a misdemeanor charge.

                      This would uncontroversially be a second amendment case if Kyle were 18 and properly papered.

                    • If Kyle was 18, we wouldn’t be have many of these conversations. Wisconsin allows open carry at 18, no papers necessary. He could not have a concealed carry permit until he was 21, so that point it years away from being made. From a legal standpoint, he is guilty of an open carry by a minor violation, a misdemeanor in Wisconsin.

                    • The reality is that common citizens ARE the ones that are responsible for keeping their communities safe. The fact that we delegate this responsibility to a group of people that are more or less well trained (we can call this group “Police”) does not mitigate our own individual responsibilities. I agree that Kyle is closer to hero than to villain, but I would not call him a hero anyway.

                      In addition, the WI laws concerning the age at which someone may carry a rifle are so opaque that the judge ultimately has not allowed the prosecution to present that charge to the jury.

        • Right there with you. I do tend to think that Rittenhouse should have either stayed home OR stayed partnered with an older, more experienced person — we do put 17 year olds under older commanding officers in war when they’re allowed to participate — but the situation was at least community minded and he was acting under the virtues we want to encourage. Because of the lack of humility that caused him to not recognize his lack of experience I don’t go so far as to call him heroic, and maybe I’d call him dumb (as most 17 year olds are.) But that intelligence and experience will hopefully come in time and his sense of ethical responsibility was in the correct direction.

          He didn’t do the wrong thing for the right reasons, he did the right thing for the right reasons in a way that lacked wisdom. But that’s the only way most 17 year olds are ever going to do the right thing.

      • I get the impression that those arguing that Kyle deserves to be severely punished either have not been following the trial closely and/or are unaware that authorities are routinely leaving large sections of cities to the tender mercies of mobs.

      • Humble Talent wrote:

        Kyle is being referred to as a “minor” or “boy”, as an example: He was a 17 year old young man.

        Excellent point. Speaking only for myself, my reference to him as a minor is intended only in the legal sense. I don’t dispute your point about his physical maturity, but from a legal standpoint, his age has major implications and it was those factors that I intended to explore in my comment.

        The point was made that strapping up and protecting his neighborhood wasn’t Kyle’s job. I’m not sure if that’s true either.

        Well, my understanding is that Rittenhouse is from Antioch, Illinois, 20 miles from Kenosha, Wisconsin. So calling Kenosha his “neighborhood” seems to stretch the meaning of that word too far. In fact, Rittenhouse wasn’t even from the same state.

        To your point about whether or not it was Rittenhouse’s “job” to protect Kenosha, I suppose that in a sense, it is all our jobs to protect others from violence. Of course, that’s why we have police departments. The fact of the matter is, it was the job of those police departments, both federal and state, to protect the residents from violence. The local and state police were unwilling and or unable to do so, which provides a prima facia justification for armed citizens to take up the slack, and it is into this gray area Rittenhouse thrust himself.

        However, I think crossing state lines to purportedly defend a business that is apparently unrelated to Rittenhouse’s interests is too far removed from the fact pattern to be justified. Rittenhouse, as a legal minor had to 1) illegally obtain a firearm, 2) transport said firearm across state lines, 3) Enter into a situation known to be dangerous despite a lack of age and experience in such matters, and 4) place himself directly in the path of danger without any support to dissuade the lawless from attempting to injure or kill him.

        To me, the sum of all these factors auger against a “hero” designation. He lacked the training and experience to do the job he was determined to do (stipulating fully his good intentions) and could not, in fact, do that job within the constraints of the law. He also lacked the nexus to the neighborhood he intended to protect that would mitigate such actions. To me, summing up, it looked like pure vigilantism informed by his youth, inexperience, and emotional immaturity.

        Is it the opinion of Ethics Alarms that riots ought to be allowed to go on until they peter out, and that it is the duty of citizens to allow them to vent their rage?

        I can’t speak to Ethics Alarms, but my response would be “no.” I would extend my remarks further to point out that in this case, it was the job of Kenosha citizens and the citizens of the state of Wisconsin to enter into civilian civil defense actions if such actions were necessary, and I agree with you that they were. But it is not the job for minor young men from out of state who are unable to legally possess, let alone be sufficiently trained in the use of, firearms.

        • Just to clarify a couple of points. KR worked in Kenosha, and his dad lived there. It was just as much his neighborhood as his mom’s neighborhood in IL, and likely more so his neighborhood than a good percentage of the rioters.

          He did not cross state lines with the rifle, it was already there in Kenosha. He could not legally open carry the rifle, that was the law broken, and it’s a misdemeanor in Wisconsin.

          He went to the area after work, helped clean up graffiti, and ended up staying to help a friend guard some property just outside the riot zone from the previous day. He also was not there alone, and was chased into the riot area.

          Wisconsin law does not prohibit a minor from owning a rifle or shotgun, so the fact that he had one does not automatically mean it was illegally obtained.

          • If he was on the property he was guarding, how could he be chased into the riot area? That would require someone on the property to chase him. This part of the story has never made sense. If I’m on my property with a gun, guarding my home, and there’s a riot outside my property, how do I end up off the property in the riot, except by my own choice?

          • Thanks for that, I clearly didn’t have it all quite correct, and I appreciate the correction.

            In the end, though, I think my point is still well-supported even with the correction. Even if we did consider it “his” neighborhood, which I consider somewhat questionable even in light of your correction, it still did not justify his participation from another state.

            Put succinctly, this was really not his fight, and he was the wrong person to be fighting it in my opinion.

            • I can agree he wasn’t the best choice for this fight, although even with that I’m much closer to being on the fence than you seem to be.

              I disagree that he was participating from another state. That argument negates his job in Wisconsin, and his parent in Wisconsin. Also the EMT training he was doing in Wisconsin. If your argument is based solely on his mom living in IL, that seems a fairly one dimensional view.

              I can agree that if he hadn’t left work in Wisconsin, gone to clean up graffiti, and stayed to protect property, he wouldn’t have had to defend himself. Isn’t hindsight always 20-20? There were other armed people there, both rioters and those protecting property. Are we holding everyone to the same standard? Had the rioters not been there, armed (with guns and other items), breaking curfew, and attacking another human being, they wouldn’t have been shot.

              In my opinion,, KR should get applicable punishment for open carrying underage, and be sent on his way. That is the law here, and he broke it. The curfew law should only apply to KR if the others were also charged with the same offense.

              • I disagree that he was participating from another state. That argument negates his job in Wisconsin, and his parent in Wisconsin. Also the EMT training he was doing in Wisconsin. If your argument is based solely on his mom living in IL, that seems a fairly one dimensional view.

                Stipulated. I withdraw the argument.

                I can agree that if he hadn’t left work in Wisconsin, gone to clean up graffiti, and stayed to protect property, he wouldn’t have had to defend himself.

                It’s the “staying to protect property” part that I have trouble with. In our society, we have charged the police with that responsibility, questionable as that decision may be in hindsight.

                Now, I’ll be the first to agree that we have a right to protect our own property during civil unrest, and even allow others to volunteer to assist. What is much more suspect is for us to enlist others to defend our property without being there ourselves. Even more suspect is for us to allow other minor males to defend property with deadly force without adult supervision.

                The question of whether or not Rittenhouse was asked to defend the property appears to be in dispute, but regardless, defending property with the threat of deadly force is 1) often problematic in state law 2) a very bad idea for a callow, untrained youngster and 3) even more legally problematic for civilians without the presence of the property owner.

                My point is that he should not have been there for all those reasons, and others. It was that decision that partially created the circumstance where armed self-defense was necessary. Further, he did not simply go to that property and stay there as a reasonable person defending the property would do, which I attribute to his youth.

                In my opinion, KR should get applicable punishment for open carrying underage, and be sent on his way.

                I think we agree on that. My view was never that Rittenhouse committed the felonies of which he is accused, but rather that he had no business whatsoever getting himself into the situation which required self-defense. He had no rationally defensible business in Kenosha with a firearm that night.

                Regardless of that, he had every right not to be assaulted under threat of murder, and defending himself against those deadly threats was justified under law.

                • “It’s the “staying to protect property” part that I have trouble with. In our society, we have charged the police with that responsibility, questionable as that decision may be in hindsight.

                  Now, I’ll be the first to agree that we have a right to protect our own property during civil unrest, and even allow others to volunteer to assist. What is much more suspect is for us to enlist others to defend our property without being there ourselves. Even more suspect is for us to allow other minor males to defend property with deadly force without adult supervision.”

                  And to clarify further: He was at the Car Source properties, on which and between which all of these events took place (referred to as “Car Source 1”, “Car Source 2” and “Car Source 3” at trial) because he had been invited by the owner of those properties to do so. They had the keys to the buildings, and had access to several cases of fire extinguishers and a commercial sized pressure washer in case they needed them, because they were primarily concerned about the fires.

                  If you think that the brothers who owned the Car Source properties should have been there with them… Take that up with them, I suppose. But most business owners don’t double as their own security.

        • “To me, summing up, it looked like pure vigilantism informed by his youth, inexperience, and emotional immaturity.”
          Exactly. And that’s why “teen” or “minor” is more informative than “young man.” There are good reasons why you have to be 18 to vote (and 21 was a better standard, drinking too.) My son is a smart and usually careful person, but a few month past his 18th birthday, he impulsively tried to elude a police car and ended up in a high-speed chase that could have gotten him or someone else killed. It loused up a lot of his life so far—he was interested in law enforcement or the military; he can’t get a passport and travel (for a while), and he spent time in jail. It cost a lot of money too. Today, at 27, he can’t figure out what the hell he was thinking. Well, he wasn’t thinking like a young man then. Now he is.

        • “Well, my understanding is that Rittenhouse is from Antioch, Illinois, 20 miles from Kenosha, Wisconsin.”

          20 Miles from Kenosha Wisconsin, where he worked, and where half his family lived, including his father, with whom re regularly visited. Kyle drove down the street those shootings were on five days a week on his commute to work. See… This is why I think Kyle’s case is so strong, and people are underestimating it… The facts aren’t being reported. I’m going to assume that you didn’t know about Kyle’s ties to the community, because the alternative is that you knew it and knowingly distorted the facts, so assuming you didn’t know… Why do you think that is? Why don’t you know this? You don’t know it, I think, because no one is reporting it, and no one is reporting it because it damages the narrative. A week of watching this trial has been AMAZINGLY illuminating, and yet another coffin nail in the mainstream media’s coffin of credibility.

          “Rittenhouse, as a legal minor had to 1) illegally obtain a firearm, 2) transport said firearm across state lines, 3) Enter into a situation known to be dangerous despite a lack of age and experience in such matters, and 4) place himself directly in the path of danger without any support to dissuade the lawless from attempting to injure or kill him.”

          1) The firearm wasn’t illegally obtained. His sister’s boyfriend legally purchased it, stored it, and allowed him on occasion to use it.
          2) He didn’t transport the firearm, the sister’s boyfriend did. The charge, if one is to be made, would be unlawfully possessing a firearm once it was in Wisconsin, which is different.
          3) This is… Novel. Heroes aren’t heroes unless they’re trained and mitigate their risks?
          4) There are literally hours of video on file, and none of it matches your take. Rittenhouse was in a large group and when they broke up they were always groups of at least two, until the half hour or so when he became separated from his pair. He called his buddies, asked where they were and the shootings happened when he was on his way to rejoin them.

          “He lacked the training and experience to do the job he was determined to do (stipulating fully his good intentions) and could not, in fact, do that job within the constraints of the law.”

          Yes he was and yes he could. Rittenhouse spent most of that day and night scrubbing graffiti off walls and putting out fires, he also had a first aid kit which he used to administer first aid on three separate occasions. He was trained and experienced in all three: He was a volunteer at his local firefighting station, a trained lifeguard, and had multiple first aid designations. He could do all of that within the constraints of the law. What he couldn’t do, legally, was carry the gun that he was.

          You have fallen into the trap of assuming that the gun was the point. If the gun was the point, the rest of those 24 hours made no sense. The night might have played out differently had he not had the gun, but he and his friends would have still been there. The gun was not the point, the gun was protection.

  2. OK, Rittenhouse “meant well.” I don’t care: he still need to be punished, and the message needs to be sent, loud and clear, that anyone not a police officer deliberately intervening in a riot with a firearm will be prosecuted. (The message also needs to be sent, similarly clearly, that rioters will also be prosecuted, even if they are part of the Democratic Party’s “base.” But that’s a separate issue.)

    These are far from separate issues.

    without the latter, the former is nonsensical.

  3. I don’t know how I managed to stay this uninformed. Now that the trial has begun, I am learning that the media has been identifying Rittenhouse as a White Supremacist. I was just as unaware that some conservative news sources were identifying him as a Hero. I’ve watched most of the trial, and the prosecutor has largely failed in proving the homicides & attempted homicide were not self-defense. I believe he is trying to trigger a mistrial to get another bite of the apple, and if a mistrial is declared, it should be done with prejudice; this prosecutor has intentionally crossed the line several times, even after being instructed to refrain from the exact behavior he then exhibits in front of the jury. We need to hear from the Judiciary that politically motivated prosecutions have no place in our courts. Based solely on watching the trial, I can’t imagine how the jury will explain a guilty verdict.
    But… Rittenhouse was acting as a vigilante. You don’t go to a riot with a rifle. I think even a 17 year old boy could figure out how these rioters would react to a visibly armed white man entering the fray. It was a catch 22; attending to the wounded meant placing himself into danger, so carrying a firearm for defense makes sense. That thought process should’ve stopped with realizing he had a choice to simply stay away from riots; the riots were not in his father’s neighborhood and they weren’t going to be and he chose to leave that safety and go towards the violence. I don’t know how Rittenhouse wasn’t stopped by his father from choosing to do this.
    He’s no hero; he is just an extreme version of the mindset of immortality typical of 17 year old boys.
    Even with those terrible decisions, he had the right to defend himself and should be acquitted on all charges. I didn’t hear about any charges filed against Grosskreutz for pointing his pistol at Rittenhouse. If Grosskreutz wasn’t charged, convicting Rittenhouse on a gun possession charge would be an outrageous injustice.

  4. While Rittenhouse is NOT a hero, his trial reveals how biased media truly has become. MSM is attempting to figurately lynch Rittenhouse as it dramatically changes the underlying facts. Either Grosskreutz (who is white) was pointing the gun at Rittenhouse’s head or he was not. Either Rosenbaum (who was white) was grabbing the barrel of Rittenhouse’s gun or he was not. Such facts do not change through the CRT filters of MSM.

    MSM rightly criticized those who encouraged riots on Jan. 6. However, much of the same media talking heads offer distorted accounts of this trial. Their biased narrative is overwhelmed by the facts MSM refuses to report.

    Moreover, MSM has left citizens uninformed of the REAL legal deficiencies in the case — their false narrative is likely to drive the potential violent response to any failure to convict.

  5. I do wonder if he has a slander and libel case regardless of his trial outcome.
    As a parent of teens… “where were his parents?!” My understanding is it was a 45 minute drive from his home. Even the most cautious of parents don’t check in on their 17 year olds every hour, I would hope. I doubt he said “Hey mom, I’m taking the gun, and heading to the heat of the riots tonight to protect private property, be back by midnight.” What did you do at 17 your parents never knew about?
    My guess would be Mom/Dad:
    “Where are you going?”
    Kyle: “I’m going to drive around for a little bit, go get a soda, maybe go to (friends) place.”
    Mom/Dad:
    “Alright. Don’t go far, be safe, be back by xx:xx”
    For all we know they were working when he left and not there; 17 year olds can be left legally alone, you know. My bet is they didn’t know his plans. Being 17, that’s not exactly uncommon.
    Yes, you can “track” their phones. Not all parents do. I would guess that falls onto a parental belief in personal autonomy and anyone who has a kid who would do what Kyle did likely doesn’t track their location via phone every second. Even if they did, he could have left it at the house.

  6. OK, Rittenhouse “meant well.” I don’t care: he still need to be punished, and the message needs to be sent, loud and clear, that anyone not a police officer deliberately intervening in a riot with a firearm will be prosecuted.

    So, aside from the weapons charge, what do you think he should have been charged with?

    The other folks who were there (but 18 or over) doing the same sort of thing, but who didn’t shoot anyone — what should they have been charged with? I haven’t heard of any other prosecutions.

  7. The unlawful gun possession charge is interesting. When asked by ADA Binger why he (Kyle) didn’t simply bring a handgun with him instead of the (big and scary) AR-15 style rifle, Kyle replied that a handgun would have been illegal for him to carry. Andrew Branca over at the LI blog regards the relevant Wisconsin statutes as being ambiguous: https://legalinsurrection.com/2021/11/the-injustice-of-the-gun-charge-against-kyle-rittenhouse/

    In a world where the authorities didn’t simply cede large sections of cities to the (left-wing) mob to loot, burn, and attack anyone who stands in their way then, yes, the Kyle Rittenhouses of the world should (and would) stay home. Remember that it was when Kyle extinguished a dumpster fire that was set by Rosenbaum and pushed towards occupied police vehicles that Rosenbaum set his sights on attacking Kyle (Kyle’s actions, at least in this case, seem heroic to me). I fault Kyle mostly for allowing himself to be isolated from his group.

    I expect that a person’s thoughts on vigilantes (minors or not) would change if it was their neighbourhood that was abandoned by the police and became a “riot zone”.

    • I also honestly have to wonder about the vigilanteism, too. Yes, he was young and foolish, and put himself into harm’s way. But if the owner of the store had been the one out in front with a rifle, a first aid kit, and a fire extinguisher – facing down an angry mob while the police stood by and did nothing to help, that man would have been considered by many to be a hero. Would that man’s 17 year old son? What about his next door neighbor? There’s just something about an attitude of “I know that the cops aren’t doing it, but it’s their job to, and not yours, so sit down, track down your insurance policies, and try to keep a broom handy” that sits ill with me. And going into a dangerous situation is exactly what weapons are for. A handgun would have been illegal for a 17 year old to own, so he bought a rifle he was allowed to own, and brought it along. I’m not convinced he was a hero, but neither am I convinced he was in the wrong, either. That he was attacked and had to defend himself multiple times is unfortunate, but verges on moral luck to me. If he had not been attacked, had not shot anyone, had not done anything but put out fires and stand around looking stern, he would have gotten a handshake and then sent home once the crowds cleared.

      • I agree, Aaron. The “original” vigilantes (Vigilance Committee) came about because the legal system at the time was not doing its job. I’ve recently seen citizens who took it upon themselves to repair their own streets because their city ignored the issue called vigilantes (the “pothole vigilantes). Sooner orlater one has to “plant the flag”.

  8. Monday morning quarterback opining is easy; too easy. Yea, we’re all correct in our own opinions and from our own biases, but watching tv and listening to the crazed and dishonest media’s and politician’s positions (from both sides) is not the same as being a juror and listening to days and days of testimony and evidence while charged with the duty to decide “guilty” or “not guilty.” Remember, the issue is not whether Rittenhouse was an idiot, dopey, a fool, or a hero. The case is narrowly about the events in those few minutes, where Kyle was being chased by “bad” assailants, assaulted, hammered with a skate board, having a gun pointed at his head while being threatened with death and so on …and what he did in matters of seconds to prevent himself from being killed. For me, no matter the reason how I would have found myself on the ground being beaten and threatened, you can bet I would have used my gun to save my life.

  9. OK, Rittenhouse “meant well.” I don’t care: he still need to be punished, and the message needs to be sent, loud and clear, that anyone not a police officer deliberately intervening in a riot with a firearm will be prosecuted.”

    Prosecuted for what? Have you been watching the trial? What law would this fall under? What does “intervening” mean? Walking around? Guarding stores and cleaning graffiti and putting out fires? It’s also an open carry state.

    • It’s not an open carry state for 17-year-olds. That’s one violation right there. The non-murder charges are…

      FIRST-DEGREE RECKLESSLY ENDANGERING SAFETY, USE OF A DANGEROUS WEAPON
      The reporter, McGinnis, told investigators he was in the line of fire when Rittenhouse shot Rosenbaum. The charge is punishable by 12 1/2 years in prison. The weapons modifier carries another five years.

      FIRST-DEGREE RECKLESSLY ENDANGERING SAFETY, USE OF A DANGEROUS WEAPON

      Video shows an unknown man leaping at Rittenhouse and trying to kick him seconds before Huber moves his skateboard toward him. Rittenhouse appears to fire two rounds at the man but apparently misses as the man runs away.
      This charge is a felony punishable by 12 1/2 years in prison. The weapons modifier again would add up to five more years.

      POSSESSION OF A DANGEROUS WEAPON BY A PERSON UNDER 18
      Rittenhouse was armed with an AR-style semiautomatic rifle. He was 17 years old on the night of the shootings. Wisconsin law prohibits minors from possessing firearms except for hunting.
      The charge is a misdemeanor punishable by up to nine months behind bars.

      If you do what Rittenhouse did, stuff happens. And it happened to him, and others It was 100% his fault..any or all of the non-murder charges carry enough prison time to send the right message.

      • You obviously haven’t been watching the trial.
        The law isn’t totally clear if a 17 year old can carry a rifle around since they don’t specifically define hunting and other aspects of the law. Even the judge wasnt sure.

        And why are you listing the charges relating to his self defense claim?

        I’m asking you a very specific question about your claim that “anyone not a police officer deliberately intervening in a riot with a firearm will be prosecuted.”

        What law would “deliberately intervening in a riot” fall under? This is totally detached from KR.

        • The law is clear enough, unless the defense wants to claim Rittenhouse was “hunting.” I don’t think they want to go down that road, do you?

          In Wisconsin? I don’t know. In other states, it’s public endangerment. The charge of FIRST-DEGREE RECKLESSLY ENDANGERING SAFETY, USE OF A DANGEROUS WEAPON, which Rittenhouse IS charged with, consists of violating law declaring ” Whoever recklessly endangers another’s safety under circumstances which show utter disregard for human life is guilty of a Class F felony.”

          Carrying a weapon into a riot—and in this case, after a curfew has been declared–endangers everyone’s safety, and is reckless per se.

          His conduct is indefensible.

          • So you’re saying there should be law (this law doesn’t currently exist) that in an open carry state…it should be illegal to carry a weapon into a riot—and after a curfew has been declared? Because it endangers everyone’s safety, and is reckless per se?

            • There is, in fact, such a law in Wisconsin, and it may come to play in the jury deliberations. The law would apply when you create a provocation for someone to force you into a self-defense posture—as when you carry a rifle into a riot.

              • It’s not quite accurate to say he carried a rifle into a riot. He was chased into the riot by men wishing to harm him. He was protecting property close to, but not in, the actual riot.

                KR was not the aggressor, and trying to condemn him as such is what has lead to the embarrassing statements from the prosecutions witnesses. Video clearly shows him chased into the riots, fleeing from confrontation, and backing down when one aggressor put his hands up.

                  • It’s not my intent to spin this situation. He did not start the night in the riot zone. I find myself pretty frustrated by this whole situation. I agree that he could not legally open carry, and he broke curfew. I also agree that he was attacked, and had the right to defend himself.

                    The whole situation in Kenosha was handled poorly. Wisconsin watched Minnesota burn for a month, homes, lives, and businesses lost. When the same movement swept into Kenosha, there were hopes leadership would end them decisively. Of course that didn’t happen. I’m honestly surprised there was only one KR situation. He certainly wasn’t the only armed person there with the intent to protect property.

                • Michael T Ejercito asked, “What were the specific, provocative acts?”

                  Don’t you already know that based on the fact that few people in our culture ever see firearms in public the perception is as follows: anyone in posession of a firearm, whether it’s visible or not, is going to use that firearm to kill those around them therefore the mere posession of a firearm is provication enough and considered an imminent threat thus justifying physically attacking or even killing them. It’s rapidly becomming common thinking that anyone that posess a firearm in public is a terrorist or at least a white supremist out to kill black people.

                  No I’m not joking! This is really what some people think and it’s EXACTLY what anti 2nd Amendment totalitarians want the masses to think.

              • Jack wrote, “The law would apply when you create a provocation for someone to force you into a self-defense posture—as when you carry a rifle into a riot.”

                I disagree with this.

                Mere presence is not provocation. There is a significant difference between the non-threatening presence of a firearm and the threatening presence of a firearm. A person is forced into a self defensive posture not simply when a firearm is seen, even in a situation like a riot, but when a firearm is physically pointed in your direction indicating an iminent threat. There really are significant differences in why you change your iminent threat posture.

      • Jack, respectfully, read Andrew Branca’s post on the weapons law… it is linked in an earlier comment. He breas it down,including the exemptions.

      • You are a lawyer, Jack. You know damn well that reckless endangerment is only on the table in cases where self defense is in play in only the most egregious of cases. 6 hits in 8 shots only fired when people were actively attacking him has never, and should never, be grounds for reckless endangerment, and shame on you for misinforming your readers.

        • Apparently prosecutors agreed that there was no “provocation” in the mere fact that Rittenhouse appeared in the midst of the riot with a gun. That’s not what several sources reported; that’s not what I understood, and that’s not what other states would hold.

          I’m not a Wisconsin lawyer. Thank God…

        • Final charges left to the jury:

          Count 1: First-degree reckless homicide in the death of Joseph Rosenbaum
          Count 2: First-degree recklessly endangering safety
          Count 3: First-degree recklessly endangering safety
          Count 4: First-degree intentional homicide OR second-degree intentional homicide OR first-degree reckless homicide in the death of Anthony Huber
          Count 5: Attempted first-degree intentional homicide OR attempted second-degree intentional homicide OR recklessly endangering safety in the shooting of Gaige Grosskreutz
          Each count carries a descriptor that Rittenhouse committed the crimes with a dangerous weapon.

          Apology accepted!

          • Isn’t that kind of a bait and switch since the charges were murder, now it’s let’s see what sticks on the wall after a week of the prosecutors slinging the shit they concocted to appease the rioters?

            • Nevermind that, the prosecution was forced to admit in court that it was actually legal for Kyle to carry that firearm in Kenosha, which is why count 6 was thrown out on Monday. The exact charge was “POSSESSION OF A DANGEROUS WEAPON BY A PERSON UNDER 18″ and while I don’t entirely understand the guts of what happened here, it was decided in a discussion about the length of the barrel of the gun. My understanding is that the statute was poorly worded, and was deemed to only apply to weapons whose barrel length was *less* than 29″ long, and the AR-15 is specced at 39”.

          • I apologize for nothing, but I’ll clarify.

            Count two is that Rittenhouse “recklessly endangered” the life of McGinness when shooting Rosenbaum, who was charging Rittenhouse and reached for his gun, because McGinness was in the same general direction as Rosenbaum after having chased both of them to scene 1.

            Count three is that Rittenhouse “recklessly endangered” the life of the unnamed individual, who kicked him in the face so hard that he spun 180 degrees on his back while prone, by shooting at him twice.

            The reason that these are left as jury questions is that the prosecution is questioning whether Rittenhouse was acting in self-defense. If he *wasn’t* acting in self defense, then he was spraying bullets and murdering people. If he *was* acting in self defense, then he is shielded from reckless endangerment charges in all but the most egregious of circumstances.

            And, I might be weird in thinking this, but perhaps you have the right to defend yourself from people actively trying to beat you while you are prone on the ground, having stumbled while someone hit you in the back with a rock while you were trying to flee towards police.

            If the jury returns convictions, particularly on counts three and four, it will be a disgusting miscarriage of justice, and will fundamentally shake confidence in the American Justice system.

            • I don’t disagree. But you see the argument that the DA was making.I quote: “I think we can also agree that we should not have 17-year-olds running around our streets with AR-15s, because this is exactly what happens,” he said. I do agree with that. I also agree with you that it doesn’t fit the legal definition of reckless endangerment.

              But it should.

              • I didn’t expect you to apologize, but I did find it amusing that you declared that Rittenhouse couldn’t be charged with endangerment, and that I misled by suggesting otherwise…and he was so charged,TWICE.

                • Oh, hell, I should clarify too: I’m talking ethics, not law, with Rittenhouse. What he did was irresponsible, reckless and dangerous. And a result that allows the message to be “See? He did nothing wrong!” will be a legal result but a destructive one. He was wrong.

                  But at this point, he has to be acquitted.

                  • Jack wrote, “I’m talking ethics, not law, with Rittenhouse. What he did was irresponsible, reckless and dangerous.”

                    I agree.

                    Regardless of his intent; the reckless and dangerous part was that he ventured away from the relative safety of the area where him and his fellow armed guards were and it appears to me from the videos that he ventured away from that safetey zone alone making himself vunerable to being attacked and his weapon being taken. It would have been less reckless and less dangerous if he had been in a group of two or more so they could watch each others backs.

                    A lone vunerable firearm bearing young man was exactly the kind of target that Joseph Rosenbaum was looking for. When Rosenbaum was confronted by a large group that had large adults in it he was nothing but a verbally accosting loud-mouthed threatening bully that backed down. Rosenbaum needed what he perceived as a weaker more vunerable target and this was evident with his criminal history and his actions before being shot. Joseph Rosenbaum was the actual root cause of this entire incident not Rittenhouse, Rittenhouse simply made some bad choices that placed him in the path of Rosenbaum.

                    Jack wrote, “But at this point, he has to be acquitted.”

                    I agree. I don’t think Rittenhouse did anything “illegal” except maybe completely leaving the area after the shooting. Rittenhouse showed the kind of restraint that’s expected of an adult that’s fully trained with firearms and when it’s appropriate to use them in self-defense and that professionally trained adult kind of restraint while under extreme stress is clearly visible in the video segment of his confrontation with armed Gaige Grosskreutz.

      • Video shows an unknown man leaping at Rittenhouse and trying to kick him seconds before Huber moves his skateboard toward him. Rittenhouse appears to fire two rounds at the man but apparently misses as the man runs away.

        So he was supposed to let himself be murdered.

        Here is a better idea.

        Prosecutors every rioter for treason and insurrection! Everyone one of those rioters were waging war against the United States!

        How can killing the enemies of the United States be murder?

  10. I agree with you here. He’s not a hero because he was stupid, but his stupidity doesn’t mean he murdered anyone. You can be stupid *and* have a valid self-defense claim. What sort of punishment do you think would be fair for him?

  11. The issue is not that Kyle had a rifle. A 17 year old in Wisconsin can be in possession of a rifle. It’s that he cannot open carry a rifle until he’s 18. That’s why the charge is a misdemeanor.

    Kyle’s dad lives in Kenosha, and Kyle’s job was also there. He met up with a friend, and went to help clean up and later protect property in the riot area. I have heard often that he shouldn’t have been there, but it seems that same argument could be made for the rioters burning Kenosha. No riots, no Kyle (and others like him), no deaths.

    While I’m not calling him a hero, I also think maybe the world needs more people willing to step up and end the “mostly peaceful” riots.

    • And no one is asking why a felon was in possession of a gun during the rioting. Gaige Grosskreutz, a convicted felon, pointed his Glock at Rittenhouse who then shot him. He was wounded but lived. He has not been charged while Rittenhouse has been arrested and it being tried. But, of course, this is not ideologically or politically motivated.

      • If Grosskreutz is a felon, it didn’t happen in Wisconsin. I suspect he’s not a felon, which is why he was never charged for the Glock.

        • My error. I should have done a records check before commenting. He is not a felon. He does, however, have a prior misdemeanor conviction for intoxicated use of a firearm in Wisconsin, online records show. He received probation in that 2015 case. However, he does not have a CCW so he was carrying his weapon illegally and not charged.

          • I cannot comment on whether or not he was carrying legally, because I haven’t been able to find anything saying where he had that Glock. Wisconsin allows open carry of a pistol or rifle. Open carry means visible from at least 3 sides, so if he had it in his backpack, he would need a CCW.

      • OK, let’s try the nuclear option.

        By extension, you’re saying that civilians trying to stop the rioters of Kristallnacht would have been wrong to do so, and should have been prosecuted?

        There were police around but they did nothing to stop the riots if, indeed, they didn’t participate in them.

  12. My view, in no particular order:

    *Weapons charge, not a Wisconsin expert, if the laws are similar to Washington State, he might be in violation or he might not it is a gray area here.
    *He was a young male, wisdom is not expected.
    *He appears to be the type of person that wants to help, lifeguard, fire cadet, police cadet.
    *He and others made monumental poor choices.
    *If he changed nothing except the carrying the firearm, he likely would be dead or recovering from grievous bodily harm. This is exactly the meaning of self-defense.
    *Charged within 48 hours of the event, means a political prosecution, Too bad it wasn’t in WA if the government charges you and you prove affirmative self- defense they are obligated to pay you lawyer and court costs. This has a good effect of keeping these kind of trials from happening.
    *IANAL what other trials have had directed verdicts in the recent times.

  13. A Wisconsin law professor, quoted by the Washington Post, had two provocative comments, saying that said people may be emboldened to carry firearms to volatile protests or riots if Rittenhouse is acquitted: “If convicted, it might make that behavior look like a riskier proposition.’

    I agree. And that’s why conviction on the lesser charges is desirable.

    He also said, “It may also give some sense of vindication to people on the left who are concerned about the messages we send about protests against police violence and racial discrimination.”

    In this case? That’s idiotic. Blake’s shooting had nothing to do with either, and this was a riot, not a protest.

    Well, 1 out of 2’s not bad.

  14. To me it’s not so much a question of whether Rittenhouse was acting ethically or not.

    If the police are going to stand back and allow riots to occur without trying to stop them, what are citizens to do? Just grab some marshmallows and wieners and have a make some s’mores?

    Whether that would be the right thing to do or not, ultimately people are going to act if the authorities will not.

    • Diego,

      Your thoughts are spot on. When police are defunded or defanged, the void it creates will be filled by someone. Tens of millions of Kyle Rittenhouses is the ultimate outcome if that happens…and all of the bloody consequences that follow.

      The woke and the Left cannot turn a blind eye to lawless violence and destruction of property while simultaneously trying to weaken law enforcement. They have seen a glimpse of the whirlwind they risk reaping. This madness needs to end!

  15. “He says he was protecting his neighborhood—well, he was being an idiot. That’s not his job.”
    “…the message needs to be sent, loud and clear, that anyone not a police officer deliberately intervening in a riot with a firearm will be prosecuted.”
    I would like to juxtapose the first of those statements against another made in the 1830s by Sir Robert Peel, the “father of modern policing:”
    “The police must maintain at all times a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and that the public are the police, the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.”
    Gross generalizations like “…anyone not a police officer deliberately intervening in a riot with a firearm will be prosecuted.” do not reflect either our legal tradition or common sense. In colonial America, the British “mutual pledge” system and the “hue and cry” were implemented In all the colonies and remained custom if not law in the States after the Revolution. Even today in many states, (including my own) the only difference in the arrest powers of police officer vs. private citizens is that police officers can arrest for crimes committed in their presence as well as make arrests based on probable cause and serve arrest warrants, while private citizens can arrest only for crimes committed in their presence. Constables (an elected office) in my state still take an oath which affirms their duty to “raise the hue and cry.” Maintaining a safe and orderly community is indeed the responsibility of every citizen. “Doing one’s part” doesn’t often require arming oneself and taking to the streets, but it does happen.
    As far as Rittenhouse’s age is concerned, according to 10 U.S. Code § 246, the militia of the United States, as spoken of in the Second Amendment, “consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and… under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States…” I have no idea how well-trained Rittenhouse is in the use of firearms, but his age is no barrier to proficiency, as proven to me regularly by several teenagers at my gun club who I taught basic rifle marksmanship and who can now outshoot me if they’re having a good day.
    Great mischief will result if our citizens are further discouraged from defending themselves or their communities, which is, I fear, one of the objectives of the Rittenhouse prosecution. The Left’s desire is that we should constantly fear being prosecuted if we defend our communities, our homes, our businesses or our lives from the predations of their SJW foot soldiers. The government can easily bankrupt most of us in fighting an unjust prosecution. The attitude of “just lock yourself in your house and let the police handle it” has been taken to the extreme already, and free people won’t long endure lawless communities. Just because Citizen A chooses to cower in his home does not obligate Citizen B to do so as well.
    Serious criminality was wantonly being allowed in Kenosha on that night, allowed by the very people whose “job” it was to stop it. The police had abandoned the area to the tender mercies of thugs like those who got shot. Rittenhouse might not be the ideal guy I would prefer to come to my aid and save my home or business from being looted and burned, but I would welcome him if he was the only one who showed up, especially if the police had already bugged out -or been ordered to stand down.
    I am admittedly biased in favor of armed citizens. During my career I had private citizens come to my aid in several situations where they had armed themselves and announced their presence and willingness to cover my six when I was in a tight spot. I was happy for the help when my backup was usually twenty minutes away on a good night, and sometimes nearly double that.

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