The Rittenhouse verdict is in: not guilty, on all charges. At this moment, just hours after that verdict – in the cold season that is not conducive to overnight rioting – we have many hurt feelings and lots of ignorant pundits bewailing the outcome, but little else. So far, so good. But don’t go back to sleep; wars have been lost when victory was celebrated prematurely.
In early September of 2020, after the Kenosha shootings but before any charges had been filed, I posted this:
Let’s get this straight, first: 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse performed as well in the circumstances as most adults 2-4 times his age, and with far more training and experience, could hope to do. Once he found himself isolated and under attack, his decisions to retreat, his discretion in engaging only those that physically assaulted him, and his shooting leave little to criticize. https://warriorcapitalist.com/what-went-wrong-in-kenosha-on-september-1-2020-and-how-to-avoid-it/
Two things were evident as soon as we saw the videos of that night’s events. First, Rittenhouse acted in self-defense with commendable restraint. Second, he should never have been in that situation.
Rittenhouse was not a vigilante. He was volunteering to help secure private property from the arson, looting, and wanton destruction of a mob. So long as he and his armed cohorts remained on private property and within supporting distance of one another, no one got hurt (the mob slid past and did not confront them), and nothing got torched, which was a big improvement from the last several nights.
Where it went wrong was when Kyle stepped off private property, by himself, and the pursuit began, led by (as I called him last year) the “felonious pedophile.” If he did that, as appears, out of altruistic desire to offer medical care to injured protestors, we can respect the sentiment but criticize his decision making.
Here’s the crux: the right of self-defense is not voided if a person makes decisions that later appear unwise. Go to dinner or the theater in the wrong part of town? Drive through a district where a “mostly peaceful” protest has turned into a wilding? Bad call, maybe, in hindsight, but you still have the right to defend yourself. And that, in a nutshell, is where Kyle Rittenhouse found himself that night.
Justice has been served.
The take-away for the rest of us: arm yourself, legally, and train, and be prepared to defend your life and health, and others, as you go legally about your business. And if you are in a jurisdiction where you cannot expect the correct and impartial justice that Kyle Rittenhouse received, maybe it’s time to GTFO – or stand up, organize, and turn things around.
This was one battle in a long war. Celebrate victory, but keep your head and don’t go back to sleep.