An acquittal in a local case involving exclusively white males is cited as proof of the country’s inherent white supremacy and the need to completely abolish our current system of government. The left also discovers a new right of retreat: If you are attacked, you must first try to escape to their satisfaction prior to using force. Surely, that won’t embolden criminals…
Last Friday, Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted on all five charges including first and second degree homicide by a jury of his peers in Kenosha, WI. From the reaction in much of the media and among progressive politicians, one would swear a card carrying member of the Ku Klux Klan who assassinated a black family in cold blood was given a ticker tape parade, presided over by Donald Trump himself in Grand Dragon regalia. The charge of “white supremacy,” applying to both Mr. Rittenhouse himself and the country at large, was liberally applied, even though both men who died and the other who was injured were all white. Rarely, if ever, have we seen a tragic incident that doesn’t involve race at all be twisted into one that is entirely about race, or a local trial with no national implications be extended into an indictment of the entire country, but first I’d like to be as clear as possible about my own opinion on the matter: Personally, I don’t believe 17-year old kids should be carrying guns into potentially dangerous situations without adult supervision, but this doesn’t mean that same 17-year old is automatically guilty of murder if the situation ultimately spirals out of control.
Of course, I’m not a lawyer or an expert in self defense laws, but it has always seemed to me that the crux of this case was pretty simple. How Mr. Rittenhouse, Mr. Rosenbaum, Mr. Huber, or Mr. Grosskreutz, who was shot but not killed, arrived in Kenosha is irrelevant, as are their political beliefs because all four were on the scene for hours without incident. If Mr. Rittenhouse were a crazed sniper or “school shooter” as he’s been characterized in some quarters, he had ample opportunity to open fire in advance of the shootings. Further, he’d received training from both the local fire department and EMT, strongly suggesting he believed he could help, even as a 17-year old isn’t likely mature enough to fully understand the risk involved in these situations. Therefore, all that ultimately matters is that sometime late in the evening of August 25, 2020, an altercation between the four men occurred, two of whom were armed, Mr. Rittenhouse and Mr. Grosskreutz.
The important question then becomes: Who started the altercation? Progressives would like you to believe that a lone 17-year old boy intentionally provoked three adult men, between the ages of 26 and 36, all with an established history of both mental instability and violence, for no reason save a difference in political beliefs, rather than the other way around. Obviously, I wasn’t there, but I find that scenario almost impossible to believe, especially as witnesses reported Mr. Rosenbaum threatening Mr. Rittenhouse and his friend, saying “If I catch you guys alone tonight, I’m gonna fucking kill you,” before the incident. The jury, who heard all of the facts of the case in excruciating detail, concluded that Mr. Rittenhouse wasn’t the aggressor, and the force the three men used against him, including pointing and firing a gun, and beating him with a skateboard, justified his killing them in self-defense. Could the jury be wrong? Of course, the court system is fallible like everything else, but otherwise there are no obvious national or racial implications, save what has been foisted upon the tragedy by progressives for their own political ends.
In this regard, their desire to proclaim the country forever steeped in white supremacy and to continue to erode any rational right of self defense is paramount. Thus, progressives politicians and pundits turned quickly to an indictment of our entire system of government. Socialist firebrand Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was downright mild compared to her fellows in “The Squad” when she proclaimed on Twitter, “What we are witnessing is a system functioning as designed and protecting those who it was designed for. My heart breaks for the communities and families whose grief now compounds, and the countless others who will be denied and deprived in similar scenes across the country.” Ms. Ocasio-Cortez seemed to be referring to the widespread belief that were Mr. Rittenhouse black, the jury would have reached a different verdict. Van Jones, writing for CNN, makes this point explicitly, “But what if armed Black men decided to ‘take the law into our own hands’ — and started storming buildings and killing civilians in the name of our vision of justice? It’s inconceivable. US society allows only White men on the right to behave this way.”
Needless to say, we will never know what might have happened in this specific circumstance were the races of the parties involved switched, but is it really true that black people don’t have the same right to claim self-defense as white people? A recent verdict in Florida seems to suggest otherwise, where a jury found Andrew “A.J.” Coffee IV not guilty of second-degree felony murder, three counts of attempted first degree murder of a law enforcement officer, and one count of shooting or throwing a deadly missile. Mr. Coffee IV claimed self-defense when he started shooting at a SWAT team that had broken into his house and detonated a flashbang device. His girlfriend was killed in the incident. Mr. Coffee IV maintained he believed he was being robbed and responded by firing a .45 caliber pistol in self-defense. The jury concurred, and Mr. Coffee IV’s attorney noted they “found that he was defending himself and [his girlfriend] Alteria and that he needed to do this,” believing the sheriff’s department had created “the situation that triggered” the death of the girlfriend. Though Mr. Coffee IV has a criminal record including four felony convictions, and drug paraphernalia was found on the scene, he was convicted only of a gun charge. This case somehow escaped the notice of just about everyone in the mainstream media and their sympathetic politicians.
Thus, Representative Ayanna Pressley was even more blunt than her colleague Ms. Ocasio Cortez or Van Jones, opining that “Racism & white supremacy remain the bedrock of our legal system.” Corey Bush tweeted something similar, “The judge. The jury. The defendant. It’s white supremacy in action. This system isn’t built to hold white supremacists accountable. It’s why Black and brown folks are brutalized and put in cages while white supremacist murders walk free.” Rashida Talib echoed the theme, “Our justice system is broken. It protects white supremacy. The two people who were killed deserved justice and so did our communities who continue to be targeted with violence like this.” Progressive sports icon and activist, Colin Kaepernick, went even further, saying what each and everyone of them really thinks out loud on Twitter. “We just witnessed a system built on white supremacy validate the terroristic acts of a white supremacist. This only further validates the need to abolish our current system. White supremacy cannot be reformed.” I’ve previously written that the overthrow of our founding principles and structure of government has long been the leftist goal, but I’ll leave it to you to decide what insanity could prompt supposedly intelligent people to leap from an isolated incident in Kenosha, WI, one with no minorities involved, to an indictment of the entire system.
For now, we can consider what aspects of the system serve to “validate the terroristic acts of a white supremacist.” CNN, in an editorial by John Blake and on air by Chris Cuomo, provides some helpful insight here. Mr. Blake believes “There’s nothing more frightening in America today than an angry White man,” and that these furious Caucasian males are being implicitly empowered, in part, by out of control self-defense laws. He sets the stage, “This angry White man has been a major character throughout US history. He gave the country slavery, the slaughter of Native Americans, and Jim Crow laws. His anger also helped fuel the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol. It’s this angry White man — not the Black or brown man you see approaching on the street at night — who poses the most dangerous threat to democracy in America.” From there, he asserts that the Rittenhouse trial and other cases “represent something bigger than questions of individual guilt or innocence. They offer a disturbing vision of the future, and a choice about what kind of country we want to live in.” In addition to a “toxic” political atmosphere, thanks of course to Donald Trump and his fellow Republicans, there are “Laws that not only protect White vigilante violence but, in some cases, seem to embolden vigilantes.”
Mr. Blake is particularly concerned with self-defense laws, which he characterizes as “stand your ground,” because they fail to require that a person being attacked attempt an escape prior to responding with deadly force. According to him, at least 25 states have laws “which allow people who believe they’re facing an imminent threat to use lethal force without first trying to escape.” He asks us to “consider the potential danger of other White men — or any person wielding a gun in public — feeling emboldened to use deadly force against even an unarmed person by evoking the logic in those defenses.” Mr. Blake quotes a Second Amendment expert, Eric Ruben, who recently told The New York Times, “In other words, their own decision to carry a gun became a justification to use it, lest it be wrested away from them.”
His colleague, Chris Cuomo, completely agreed, saying that “under this law, Rittenhouse had no duty to retreat, which is huge. When you take that out of self-defense, you are creating an incredibly low bar and making it way too easy to kill.” Bizarrely, Mr. Cuomo then continues to note that “by the way, to be fair to the facts here, he did retreat. He was running away, okay?” Still, Mr. Rittenhouse had “no duty to exhaust all non-lethal means, no duty to fight them off, to kick, to try anything else. He had no duty under the law to do that.” Progressives, it seems, have stumbled on some new right of retreat, that is if you are attacked, your first legal obligation is to run rather than protect yourself or your property. Somehow, this makes it too easy to kill criminals menacing civilians. Left unsaid, of course, is why this novel concept of self-defense wouldn’t serve to embolden these criminals. If you are concerned about a potential, yet still non-existent, spike in vigilante justice driven by the Rittenhouse acquittal, shouldn’t one also be concerned about what might happen if criminals can menace people with impunity, knowing they are forced by law to flee before taking any other action?
Imagine how this might apply to an armed woman being sexually assaulted or raped. The jury apparently is no longer supposed to presume that the threat of an assailant holding her down and tearing off her clothes is enough to justify shooting him in self-defense. Instead, they are to consider whether or not the woman took adequate steps to escape the rapist’s clutches before firing her weapon. One can imagine the prosecution’s cross examination of the rape victim on trial for murder. Did you try to push the man off? How hard? How many times? Did you bite him? Kick him? Scream? How loud? How long before you shot him? You said he raped you in the middle of an open room with three exits. Did you try to squirm out from underneath him and reach an exit? Which one? If one was blocked, would you try another?
Also left unsaid is precisely how radical a revolution in the very concept of self-defense they are suggesting as if it were totally normal. Centuries of jurisprudence favors the person being attacked for obvious reasons, believing that everyone has a natural right to defend themselves in the face of bodily harm. Progressives, however, would suddenly shift this burden, turning the person who was attacked into the perpetrator and granting newfound rights to the attacker themselves, quite literally a right to attack. This, of course, is precisely backwards: The hypothetical woman described above should not have to explain why she didn’t do more to prevent herself from being raped. She should not be judged based on whether or not she tried sufficiently to escape and face life in prison if a jury decides she could’ve done just a little bit more, just one more scream for help before firing her gun. The abused spouse should not have to do the same, but this is exactly what progressives are suggesting. Criminals can stand their ground, but you can’t, and the country as a whole is a white supremacist nation until that is so. To say this is warped, strikes me as a gross and dangerous understatement, but unfortunately gross and dangerous have been far too common when it comes to all things related to the Rittenhouse trial.