WORDS: 1,088 — The long term effect of this trial goes way beyond the boy’s guilt or innocence, way beyond being Liberal or Conservative and taking sides on some variant of trying to live with the Second Amendment. This trial is a foretelling of one of many crossroads we will realize when we mix freedom of speech with the freedom to keep and bear arms… at the same event. Is that not a bit worrisome to you? It’s certainly very worrisome to me.
As of this writing the jury in the Rittenhouse case in Kenosha is still deliberating his innocence or guilt on a number of charges. But while the domestic world, via the media, seems caught up in the sensationalism of the personas of the individual players (from the judge down to the individual witnesses and the evidentiary videos), the politics applied to this case just follows the current Great Divide. Liberals think Rittenhouse is guilty of murder and Conservatives think Rittenhouse is the real victim given he was just exercising his (“God-given”) right to defend himself. If this is where you are at, then you might want to consider the bigger picture here.
Personally, a part of me could care less about this boy’s innocence or guilt in his being accused… as long as the rule of law was followed. This case is definitely one of those where we might cringe with a measure of disgust as to what laws are on the books to allow this sort of thing to happen… but if we believe in our democracy as reflected in our Constitution then we cannot afford to invalidate democracy by selecting what laws we choose to follow. Like it or not, Wisconsin is an open carry state as it relates to weapons casually displayed in public. Based on that application of existing law, and video evidence presented, I tend to side that Rittenhouse is not guilty of what he is being accused of having done. But that by no means should suggest in any way that I don’t think anyone was responsible for the end result.. which is the killing of two and the injuring of another.
Everyone involved in the incident… all those shot by Rittenhouse, and Rittenhouse himself, all had a legal right to be there at that riot, and a right to be there carrying weapons (and a skateboard). Therefore the application of justice does not care as to the “why” each made a decision to 1. be at the riot, and, 2. bring a firearm. Yet I contend that those decisions did in fact contribute to setting in motion the course of events that evening. But, while that may very well be true on some moral level, again, the law does not recognize that matters in this case. Yet it certainly does matter when anticipating future incidents like this will be more commonplace in our future.
I can understand to some extent the desire of some people to want to leave the comfort of their homes and dive right into some civil unrest.. a flat out riot… and witness a confrontation with police or National Guard… that’s turned into a media event. But it’s often not wise to do so…. especially if one lacks a level of life’s maturity to make a sound decision beyond just the “it’s fun” reasoning.
I was a high school junior in 1968, 17 years old… (same as Rittenhouse was in 2019) during the 1968 Democratic Convention held in Chicago. You can look up the history, but it was a extraordinarily contentious political atmosphere that spawned major anti-war civil unrest while the convention was going on. Then Mayor Daley instructed his police to bear down violently (literally batons clobbering heads) on the largely anti-war demonstrators creating, even to this day, one of the more violent demonstrations of applied police violence in modern history.. all in front of media cameras and to the angry awareness of the delegates inside the convention. As myself and my friends were watching this unfold on live TV from the comfort and safety of our far Northwest Side living rooms, I asked my parents if I could go with a couple buddies downtown to.. “witness”… the events firsthand. My mother immediately chimed up, “You’re not going anywhere near there, young man!”. In those days there was no “open carry”, much less a conceal & carry permit without an act of Congress. (I can only imagine the shock & awe if I had asked mom back then, “Hey mom… can I take grandpa’s old .22 rifle downtown to the convention demonstration at Grant Park and protect businesses from getting looted by hippies? In fact, because I have the First Aid merit badge I can even take a box of Band-Aid’s from the bathroom medicine cabinet and help people who are injured by the cops!)
Here’s What’s In Store For The Future
Someone deciding to show up at peaceful demonstration or civil unrest strolling down the street with their assault rifle over their shoulder (permitted by local law) confronts a looter with a gun… our “hero” shoots the looter, a bystander with a gun thinks the “hero” shooter is an active shooter and shoots back at him (or her)… then other people strolling by with guns begin shooting. Since no one is dressed other than random casual or in full play-SWAT or play-Army combat dress… there is no friend or foe recognition, and the gunfire gets random… and the situation, already bad, degrades even more.
Let’s go even further with all this. Militia group “A” shows up and meets militia group “B” in the street.. words are exchanged, ideologies are different… bullets start flying.. all in the name of patriotism, of course…. everyone carrying the American flag…. and all carried live by the media, around the world.
Let’s be clear on this… EVERYONE attending any demonstration, peaceful or violent, has an agenda. Maybe it’s peaceful… but also maybe it isn’t. Maybe it starts off peaceful… then deteriorates. Somehow someone walking around with a firearm does not suggest any sort of an image of peace. It DOES suggest to me… that you are there with your assault rifle in the hope that you will be able to defend yourself by killing another human being. Why do I think that? You have placed yourself smack in the middle of an unpredictable and potentially violent and explosive environment expressly because you have an agenda other than peaceful… and you think your weapon makes you safe.
Our Second Amendment at work. Are we proud yet?