Kyle Rittenhouse acquitted
November 20, 2021 4:44 AM   Subscribe

Kyle Rittenhouse verdict sends a chilling message to Wisconsin and the rest of the country [Wisconsin State Journal]

Here's what legal experts say helped acquit Kyle Rittenhouse [CNN.com]

The Rittenhouse trial could never have been what Americans wanted [The Atlantic]

Video made police injustice visible. Now that visibility is trickling up to the courts [Washington Post]
Consider the presiding judge, Bruce E. Schroeder. He has instructed prosecutors to term the dead men “rioters” or “looters,” but not “victims”; mangled his jury instructions; and allowed his “God Bless the U.S.A.” ringtone to play loudly in the courtroom. It has been difficult to watch the Rittenhouse trial and feel confident that the judge will shepherd it toward justice.

Schroeder’s antics seem tailor-made to remind the public that the vast majority of state-level judges are elected, not appointed. As one lawyer reminded me, most didn’t attain these roles after a thorough assessment of their judicial expertise. And most don’t spend all their time in office meditating on the fairest adjudication of the law: They’re fundraising, appeasing constituents, attempting not to be seen as “soft on crime.”
Of course Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted [The Atlantic]
The United States is a nation awash in firearms, and gun owners are a powerful and politically active constituency. In state after state, they have helped elect politicians who, in turn, have created a permissive legal regime for the carry and use of firearms, rules that go far beyond how courts originally understood the concept of self-defense.

These laws have made it difficult to convict any gun owner who knowingly puts themselves in circumstances where they are likely to use their weapon—that is, anyone who goes looking for a fight.
Judge Schroeder blasted over Kyle Rittenhouse verdict: ‘He ‘virtually demanded’ not guilty’ [Independent.co.uk]

What we are witnessing is a system functioning as designed and protecting those it was designed for. My heart still 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.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) on Twitter

Prosecution's closing arguments: "You cannot claim self-defense against a danger you create" [Reuters via YouTube]

Why I couldn't bring myself to watch the trial of another white vigilante [Independent.co.uk]
Of course, I did know Rittenhouse had much help in Judge Bruce Schroeder, who in the course of the trial, has been criticized for how he angrily reprimanded the prosecution, referred to a juror in a past case as a “Black,”banned MSNBC from the courtroom, and being known for being often “pro-defense.” Judge Schroeder even let Rittenhouse randomly select dismissed jurors out of a tumbler so he could feel “in control.”
Unrest in Portland as Kyle Rittenhouse verdict divides US [The Guardian]

There's nothing more frightening in America today than an angry White man [CNN.com]

(Commenters who know how to do so are invited to deal with any paywalls)
posted by CheesesOfBrazil (211 comments total) 38 users marked this as a favorite
 


Everyone's rushing to read the greater significance of the acquittal, what it means, what it portends, and how it proves whatever point they wanted to make before. Takes like, it's about how the left embraced riots and chaos, and thus is to blame for pushing Rittenhouse to become a killer. Or, it's really the media's fault for misrepresenting the victims so that people got riled up over the case for the wrong reasons. Or they'll point out the ACLU's response, and their readers will agree the ACLU is over and should be burned to the ground.

This whole case was a big swamp full of sucking mud, and anyone who put a foot in, was going to get stuck. It was ugly and it was horrible and it was like looking into a weird mirror. I think judges should be lenient! I think defendants should stop being treated with default hostility! But...like...this guy? This guy is going to become a right-wing superstar, he's going to make money off his crimes, he's going to feel justified, and others are going to see him and feel justified too. There's going to be a lot more guns at protests. The laws are going to be read really carefully, so people know what length of gun is okay to carry.

I don't see how we get past this, how this isn't a ratchet clicking forward the level of allowable right-wing violence, and suppression of any human rights protesting. Between this and the cars plowing into protestors, to have the wrong political opinion is suddenly physically dangerous in a way it hasn't really been here, at this historical moment. The options for protestors--become victims, or bring your own guns--are so stark.

We have these conversations sometimes about the country splitting up, all the left people on one side, the centrists get a chunk, the right wingers get their own territory...but that ignores that our country isn't split like that, we're all together, we're all on the same streets, and this violence, this allowable violence, happens when there's no escape.

I don't know if this was the right verdict according to Wisconsin law, I'm not a lawyer, I'm not from up there. But it was definitely the wrong verdict for our cultural sanity and safety. The message is loud and clear, and everyone has heard it.
posted by mittens at 5:16 AM on November 20 [118 favorites]


Finally, the jury instructions also helped lead to Rittenhouse's acquittal, CNN senior legal analyst Laura Coates said.

Coates said the instructions said jurors had to look at the case through the eyes of then 17-year-old Rittenhouse, not in hindsight, and assess the reasonableness of his actions.
On the one hand, speaking as a former 17 year old, I can abstractly empathize with making rash decisions with unforeseen consequences.
On the other hand, speaking as person who lives in a society, I would rather have a justice system powered by minds like RBG's and not like 17 year old minds hopped up on 2020s internet.
posted by otherchaz at 5:18 AM on November 20 [23 favorites]


(Commenters who know how to do so are invited to deal with any paywalls)

With Bypass Paywalls Clean installed in Firefox (also available for Chrome), all the paywalled pages linked above (those from The Atlantic and WaPo) are fully readable.
posted by flabdablet at 5:23 AM on November 20 [29 favorites]


It's already de facto legal for cops to murder protesters, and they want to extend that to car owners and teenagers.

They want to kill us, and they want it to be legal.

By they, I mean the kleptocrats, Trumpists, and Christofascists that have lived in their own alternate realities for the last thirty or forty years.

And by us, I mean everyone from Greta Thunberg and AOC to people in pussy hats to Mike Pence and Liz Cheney. More people are going to be killed at protests. In a year or two, it'll be as common as school shootings, maybe more.

Sorry, I know this comment is a mega-bummer, but I'm just having a hell of a time processing all this.
posted by box at 5:42 AM on November 20 [60 favorites]


On the one hand, speaking as a former 17 year old, I can abstractly empathize with making rash decisions with unforeseen consequences.

This is why any sane society would not allow children to carry assault rifles.
posted by ryanshepard at 6:08 AM on November 20 [72 favorites]


This is why any sane society would not allow children to carry assault rifles.

Children? A sane society wouldn’t allow anyone to carry assault rifles.

America is over. There’s nothing left to believe in.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:19 AM on November 20 [41 favorites]


When I was 17, I couldn’t get my mother to drive me to the mall, let alone across state lines to participate in a riot with a gun.
posted by dr_dank at 6:23 AM on November 20 [27 favorites]


No, I'm sorry, if you literally open carry a big gun into a chaotic event to which you have no connection - even if you're seventeen - you know what you're doing. Seventeen is not that young, you require a certain amount of intentionality to, like, seek out and learn to use the gun, etc. One can recognize that young people don't have life experience, etc, without alleging that bringing a semi-automatic into a chaotic mass protest situation, alone, with no social or political connection to the event except your right-wing hatred is different from thinking that you feel pretty good and can drive home safely after you've had a couple of strong drinks.

It's dangerous to come up with an empathy-story about someone who is very, very different from you. People used to do it about, eg, racism on this very website - "I could see myself accidentally saying something racist out of ignorance, that would be awful and I'd feel bad, therefore this person who is saying overtly racist shit and obviously feels great about it is sort of like me and deserves understanding".

Kyle Rittenhouse is not just you-at-seventeen but with a gun at a protest, whoops, panicked and murdered people as you do.
posted by Frowner at 6:28 AM on November 20 [94 favorites]


America is over. There’s nothing left to believe in.

Having spent my childhood being terrified of nuclear war, and then, as a teenage punk, steeping in years of an alternate education in US history focusing on genocide, white supremacy and business terrorism, mainstream US society has struck me as pretty demented from the get-go.

There's plenty of evidence that, if you use its values and behavior as your yardstick, nihilism is your only option.

But you can try, as I'm attempting to continue doing, to be in it but not of it, just for your own sanity.
posted by ryanshepard at 6:45 AM on November 20 [26 favorites]


And they will use this as justification for more guns, not fewer. It really makes me despair.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:53 AM on November 20 [3 favorites]


dr_dank: When I was 17, I couldn’t get my mother to drive me to the mall, let alone across state lines to participate in a riot with a gun.

Six myths surrounding the Kyle Rittenhouse trial debunked

I guess it's a popular misconception that Rittenhouse's mom drove him there. She apparently did drive him to the police station where he turned himself in, but not to the protest.
posted by emelenjr at 7:01 AM on November 20 [13 favorites]


I didn't realize that the three men he shot were white... and that one was using racial slurs?
posted by pelvicsorcery at 7:09 AM on November 20 [4 favorites]


A friend of mine was on a jury where this guy got into a bar fight, then went home to get a gun and came back and got into the fight with the same guy, then shot him 'in self defense'. He was convicted of murder. My friend said it was pretty obvious to the jury that the guy brought the gun with the intention of using it.

Of course there are a lot of differences from this trial:

This is not a gun-happy place (low-crime Sunnyvale, CA passed a pretty strict anti-high ammunition gun law. I think the clever proponents brought the law here precisely because no one here cares about guns, so people will see the proposal on the ballot and go 'Sure, what the heck? Makes sense to me.' There was little opposition or even press coverage).

The prosecutors didn't make critical mistakes, such as going after gun-carry violations that turned out to be non-violations.

They didn't have a judge who pretty clearly (in my opinion) was biased, which the jury can easily pick up on.
posted by eye of newt at 7:14 AM on November 20 [2 favorites]


I’m just at the beginning of Jesus and John Wayne so I can’t speak to the book’s total quality but wow the opening chapter makes a direct link between white Evangelical Christianity and the Republicans and gun-toting, militant masculinity. I’m expecting to come out if it with a better understanding of the context of this decision.
posted by warriorqueen at 7:17 AM on November 20 [14 favorites]


They want to kill us, and they want it to be legal.

The book Nixonland included a stark reminder of how content an apparent majority of Americans are to watch the "wrong kind" of young Americans be shot and killed for protesting.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 7:17 AM on November 20 [29 favorites]


I watched quite cursorily but something about the prosecutor seemed off. Appearing smug and dismissive to a judge does not seem the right look.

The charges also did not seem quite right. Not to defend Rittenhouse but "big H" homicide was probably not the right charge for a stupid asshole kid trying to be cool and getting over his head and making a bad inexcusable action. One of the commentators said that the prosecutors real job is to find truth. Rittenhouse should be in jail but for the correct charge.
posted by sammyo at 7:21 AM on November 20 [14 favorites]


I didn't realize that the three men he shot were white... and that one was using racial slurs?

Using one particular racial slur (yeah, that one) against a member of the Kenosha Guard (another white person) who was pointing a gun at him. Joseph Rosenbaum is, to put it very generously, nobody's idea of a perfect victim, and some critics think the prosecution made a mistake when they brought up the subject of Rosenbaum's medications (for bipolar disorder and depression, which he hadn't been taking).
posted by box at 7:24 AM on November 20 [1 favorite]


They want to kill us, and they want it to be legal.

I disagree, it's actually much worse. They want you to stay in your place, work for a pittance and stay meek and quiet. I don't think many want to kill, that's messy and complicated and messes up their schedule.
posted by sammyo at 7:25 AM on November 20 [15 favorites]


Nick Sandman is a previous example of left wing echo chambers being completely wrong in their narratives of him after video evidence came out that exonerated him and his fellow high school students. Kyle Rittenhouse's story appears to be where narratives about him were formed and only slightly tweaked after the video evidence came out.
posted by DetriusXii at 7:29 AM on November 20 [6 favorites]


I didn't realize that the three men he shot were white

I think a lot of people of the left just assumed this. It's is an example of the kind of reactionary assumptions we all make.
posted by Liquidwolf at 7:31 AM on November 20 [10 favorites]


Years ago, I served on a federal jury as the foreman. It was a case where a man was indicted on several counts related to the armed robbery of a convenience store. The defendant had a prior record that included firearms violations, too. But in the course of the trial, which lasted half a day, more than one witness recanted their prior statements to the police, and the only piece of evidence introduced was a receipt from the ATF acknowledging they had the gun and were going to run some tests. Defense was able to get all the other evidence, including security camera footage from that night, suppressed. When we went to deliberate, we had our notes and a copy of the ATF receipt, but that was it.

The case the government had against the guy was flimsy, and we didn't deliberate very long before coming to a decision to acquit. Obviously the Rittenhouse case is more complex, with a much higher profile, but it strikes me as a similar situation to the case I was on. Sloppy prosecution.
posted by emelenjr at 7:38 AM on November 20 [4 favorites]


Sloppy prosecution and a thumb on the scale.
posted by y2karl at 7:40 AM on November 20 [18 favorites]


Sloppy prosecution, sloppy defense, idiot biased judge.

If you have any faith left in the US justice system after today, you're naive.

We literally let fucking idiots run the show in this country.

How was any single one of these chucklefucks able to get a law degree and be considered to trustworthy enough to represent other human beings in a court of law.

Literally a kangaroo court.

The bar is set just so low apparently, that absolute fucking idiots control our courts.
posted by deadaluspark at 7:41 AM on November 20 [13 favorites]


Sloppy prosecution, sloppy defense, idiot biased judge.

Normally prosecution is really sloppy with the judges helping them out along the way. PD Twitter points this out a lot. Judges putting their thumb on the scale is what drives a lot of incarceration in this country.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 7:45 AM on November 20 [25 favorites]


I was expecting this, and unhappy about it, and unhappy about being unhappy.

The problem here is that Kyle Rittenhouse did a bad thing, entirely of Kyle Rittenhouse's making, for which he deserved to be punished. But this law as written did not apply to the bad thing he did. There needed to be a different law, and there wasn't. There also needed to be a different judge and prosecution team, but even so it would probably have shaken out this way, because there you were.

Many, many years ago, it was everywhere believed to be a good thing to avoid the influence of popular passions on a verdict. Thing is: sometimes the popular passions are telling the world about something very important that the law is set up to ignore, like structural racism. I have been questioning my personal belief in the structure of Anglo-American statutory and common law in the past few years because of this, which to me has been like questioning a tenet of religion. I used to believe in it fervently, if only because it was the least worst way of doing things, but I am thinking differently now.

How was any single one of these chucklefucks able to get a law degree and be considered to trustworthy enough to represent other human beings in a court of law.

Having been to law school and practiced law, I was constantly amazed at the dipshittery to be seen among practicing professionals when the classes and the bar were so damned hard.
posted by Countess Elena at 7:48 AM on November 20 [65 favorites]


Judges putting their thumb on the scale is what drives a lot of incarceration in this country.

I'd argue that judgmental jury pools are a big part of it, too. I could have fought a case in court in front of a jury, when it came to entrapment for marijuana (before it was legal in my state). It was fairly cut and dry and my lawyer thought we would win, but I went for a plea deal to take probation and reduced charges because I didn't want to risk a jury that would just judge me for marijuana use and ignore the cops entrapment. Because that is SUPER common, to have people on the jury who are just idiots and think you're guilty simply because you were arrested, as though that's all the proof they need.
posted by deadaluspark at 7:48 AM on November 20 [14 favorites]


[ed.: I removed "other" from "other practicing professionals" to avoid the suggestion that I could not possibly be a dipshit myself]
posted by Countess Elena at 7:51 AM on November 20 [11 favorites]


Using one particular racial slur (yeah, that one) against a member of the Kenosha Guard (another white person) who was pointing a gun at him.

Pointing a gun at someone who believes you are going to use it is assault. There is at least as good a case that Rosenbaum was acting in defense of himself and the others in the crowd as Rittenhouse.If you want to actually maintain 'law and order," you need to punish the people who escalate to lethal violence, otherwise the situation is going to keep escalating to lethal violence.
posted by Zalzidrax at 7:52 AM on November 20 [18 favorites]


You know that white supremacists don't like white "race traitors" very much either, right? Internet nazis have a whole discourse about degeneracy and race mixing and the kind of white people who hang around people of color, etc etc. "He shot a white person therefore race doesn't play into it and we have to assume that the white guy kind of deserved it" is bad analysis. White people who have gotten mixed up in anti-racism have gotten killed many times in the history of this great nation - the Portland stabbing victims were white, there have been a bunch of other white victims of Nazi violence over the years, and of course mentioning the Greensboro Massacre is to dot a pretty large i.

There is this semi-conscious idea in America that when white people do anything anti-racist it's frivolous naive virtue signaling and they're just a bunch of stupid fake hippies or whatever, and therefore they aren't "really" hated or attacked by the right, because of course the right holds them in the same contempt that the center does. But actually, no, the right hates anti-racist whites and views them as a threat to white supremacy. They don't look around and say, "there are just college kids with a wild hair, they'll be running hedge funds and moving to gated communities in no time" the way the center tends to.
posted by Frowner at 7:54 AM on November 20 [96 favorites]


He should have faced gun charges, and crossing a state line to commit a crime. The prosecution should have predicted he would walk on the murder charges, and at least leave him with a record that precludes him ever being an intern in the House, or a police officer. He was mentored by the hate web, now he will be mentored by the congratulating backslappers, who applaud his acts. And yes, the civil war is on. Who will teach him that what he did is wrong, without causing him to end himself?
posted by Oyéah at 8:03 AM on November 20 [19 favorites]


I know the idea of having to pass intelligence tests and mental health assessments to vote or hold office is a big taboo because of how it could negatively impact minority groups, who tend to have less access to education, but...

All the access to education in this country hasn't helped any of these racist white asshats who can't think beyond themselves, which is why they think running around with guns and killing with impunity is fine.

No, it's not a savory idea, but I don't really have any other good ideas on how to eject these kind of idiots from public service and keep them out. (Regarding the judge, prosecution, etc)

It's starting to feel like that at certain point, allowing fools access to the levers of power in the name of equitable democracy harms more people than it helps.

If anyone else has better ideas on how to remove such small, hurtful minds from the powers of policy, please share them, because I know why mine is a bad idea. Including how it's been astutely pointed out that the bar is very hard and yet these people managed to pass it somehow, so they could probably pass IQ tests.
posted by deadaluspark at 8:05 AM on November 20 [4 favorites]


I disagree, it's actually much worse. They want you to stay in your place, work for a pittance and stay meek and quiet. I don't think many want to kill, that's messy and complicated and messes up their schedule.

One of the things that lets the ultra rich and a lot of other terrible people grow old is the unwritten social compact of the state's monopoly on violence. In place of violent coercion in the enforcement of contracts and social behavior, the state agrees to do it. If the state is going to abdicate that responsibility? All bets are off. If I was a billionaire or a war criminal I'd be using all my power calling up every Republican asshole telling them this shit has to stop. Because for all the money, power, and influence one person can hold, it can't give them back their life after it's been taken.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 8:09 AM on November 20 [7 favorites]


I was constantly amazed at the dipshittery to be seen among practicing professionals when the classes and the bar were so damned hard

the idea of having to pass intelligence tests and mental health assessments to vote or hold office is a big taboo

Stupidity is almost completely unrelated to problem-solving speed. From which it follows that requiring an IQ test or anything like it to be passed before gaining public office wouldn't help even slightly.
posted by flabdablet at 8:11 AM on November 20 [14 favorites]


Nick Sandman is a previous example of left wing echo chambers being completely wrong in their narratives of him after video evidence came out that exonerated him and his fellow high school students.

What the fuck are you talking about? Rittenhouse is a killer, and nothing about his acquittal exonerates him, and Sandmann is a disgusting person.
posted by ambrosen at 8:17 AM on November 20 [33 favorites]


The prosecutor in his closing flagged half the courtroom with an assault rifle finger on the trigger, in front of a jury that probably approached 100% familiarity and comfort with guns between hunters, veterans, and their close family members ... and had to, in order to return a conviction, believe the prosecution's theory of what firearms behavior was reasonable or not.

I don't know that it lost the case, but it was emblematic of an extraordinarily poorly prepared prosecution case that evident at many points. For all that people talk about a judge being biased in favor of the defendant, there are many trial judges, including liberal anti-gun judges, who would have directed a verdict of not guilty before it ever got to the jury.
posted by MattD at 8:26 AM on November 20 [6 favorites]



It's starting to feel like that at certain point, allowing fools access to the levers of power in the name of equitable democracy harms more people than it helps.


The US is far outside the norm when it comes to electing people to public offices (eg. Some places elect dog catchers and tax collectors). As a Canadian you know what races I vote in? Federal Member of Parliament; Provincial Member of Parliament; city council and mayor; school board. That's it. We don't determine a head LEO by voting. We don't vote for judges. We don't vote for prosecutors. Having to be popular to get these positions is a serious sop to the status quo and entrenched white supremacy.
posted by Mitheral at 8:29 AM on November 20 [40 favorites]


For all that people talk about a judge being biased in favor of the defendant, there are many trial judges, including liberal anti-gun judges, who would have directed a verdict of not guilty before it ever got to the jury.

You don't seem bothered about this.
posted by ambrosen at 8:29 AM on November 20 [4 favorites]


Re the competence of lawyers, I've only served on one jury, and it was a short trial in a very rich area (Marin County, California) so the demographics of the jury were likely skewed, but we got into deliberations and were asking each other "so was this some sort of intern training exercise?" The (presumably Public Defender) defense attorney was better than the prosecutor, but both had very disjointed arguments that didn't do much in the way of logical connection from one bit of evidence to the next.

And when the prosecution can't make a coherent argument, the obvious answer is to vote to acquit.

If the prosecution's heart isn't in it...
posted by straw at 8:29 AM on November 20


Re the competence of lawyers

I, a layman, once had to explain how NYS's criminal procedure law works to an ADA while discussing a filing.
posted by mikelieman at 8:37 AM on November 20 [2 favorites]


Mod note: Wow, everybody crank it back QUITE A BIT. Several deleted. Telling other users "fuck you" is a temp ban. There is a lot to be appalled by in this case, but attacking other mefites does nothing to either discuss the case and its ramifications OR to fix a systemically-racist US justice system.
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 8:42 AM on November 20 [41 favorites]


I am bothered that the prosecution didn't put up a better case. This was a case of immense public importance, and I have seen dime-bag buy-and-bust cases prosecuted more competently.

I am not bothered when trial judges direct verdicts of "not guilty" when prosecutors present shitty cases. That is 100% what they should do, and do more often, because prosecutors should not have the backstop of, or defendants the necessary fear of, jury randomness or bias convicting defendants on insufficient evidence.
posted by MattD at 8:44 AM on November 20 [11 favorites]


There is at least as good a case that Rosenbaum was acting in defense of himself and the others in the crowd as Rittenhouse.

Rittenhouse and Rosenbaum both showed up to the festivities with loaded weapons. I thought that killing someone during the commission of a crime would be some version of homicide other than self-defense. Bringing a loaded gun to the event was patently stupid, but was it illegal? I don't know. The actual charges brought against Riggenhouse were baffling, and the judge was a portrait of inanity.

I commend all those who gathered about the courthouse for their composure. However, regardless of the jury's decision, nobody could be happy with the verdict because the trial did not address the overarching issues that propelled that fatal confrontation.
posted by mule98J at 9:00 AM on November 20 [2 favorites]


This was a horrifically mishandled case. Symptom of an empire in decline. I don't know how anybody could possibly think that a charge of murder 1 would fly here but it was obvious to anyone who watched the video that it wouldn't. There were multiple ways to effectively punish Rittenhouse here and the prosecution declined to pursue them, and everything from their glaring unfamiliarity with firearms (that picture of the lawyer with his finger fully curled around the AR-15 that he assures the courtroom isn't loaded, according to his assistant... ridiculous) to their witness strategy (bringing up the guy who said that one of the victims aimed his firearm at Rittenhouse first) spoke to what basically amounts to incompetence.

Don't get me wrong, I think Rittenhouse belongs in jail, and if he was shot dead instead of the other guy, then that guy would belong in jail in his place. But unfortunately the USA doesn't seem to have a legal system that can grapple with the fact that a 17 year old can attend a protest with a rifle, obviously escalating the violence of the situation merely by standing around, and then, like the child that he is, bring lethal force to bear against people who scare him.
posted by Cpt. The Mango at 9:11 AM on November 20 [31 favorites]


The right is routinely using the judiciary to roll back voting rights, legalize vehicular manslaughter against protestors, and enshrine the principle that if you're paranoid enough about living in a heterogeneous society, you can shoot and kill anyone anytime you like. But sure, go ahead and blame a prosecutor for not holding a gun properly during a trial.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:12 AM on November 20 [27 favorites]


As a non-US North American, I'm not entirely clear - I seems that in many states you could theoretically show up to a child’s sporting event carrying a loaded weapon in your hands and no one could legally touch you until you had actually shot a child or two. Is that correct?

I pieced together the news yesterday from a hipster-ish neighbour in my crummy suburban Toronto apartment building who was walking behind me, talking on his phone about how “…there could have been way more people shot. The kid showed amazing trigger discipline”.
posted by brachiopod at 9:12 AM on November 20 [10 favorites]


Legal experts interviewed by the CBC are unsurprised about this, seemingly less because the prosecution, defence, judge or jury did or did not do a good job, and more because legal and cultural systems favour this kind of shit. Which seems to line up.

I bet a lot of people on this site would assume that one would only take a big gun into a chaotic situation out of a desire to be "forced" to use it. I'm comfortable saying that was probably Rittenhouse's motivation, and possibly that of one of the people he shot. You'd have to be unbelievably stupid to think that's reasonable, but it seems like a lot of Americans do, and that stupidity is reflected in the system. It doesn't seem like legal systems deal well with fuck-around-find-out scenarios at all.

But what do I know? I just can't penetrate the kind of brain that would be wormy enough to be able to justify actions like Rittenhouse's, and were I a juror on that case, the fact that I couldn't return a reasonable verdict on his conduct (rather than the charge I was instructed to consider) would be incredibly frustrating.
posted by klanawa at 9:14 AM on November 20 [16 favorites]


The prosecution didn't fail. They threw the case, just like they were supposed to.
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:14 AM on November 20 [26 favorites]


Tonycpsu: Well, yes, the right didn't have to do anything in this case but smilingly point to the long-enshrined right to self-defense, and refute the charge of murder 1. To do this they simply had to prove that Rittenhouse was not, with premeditation and malice of forethought, planning on killing those two specific men. There were many, many other charges that could have been levied against a 17-year old deploying lethal force to get himself out of a situation that he inserted himself into, which the prosecution declined to pursue. The entire thing sickens me but it's facile to pretend like this is the result of anything but a broken legal system.
posted by Cpt. The Mango at 9:19 AM on November 20 [10 favorites]


The entire thing sickens me but it's facile to pretend like this is the result of anything but a broken legal system.

Sickens me too, but I learned right here on Metafilter: the purpose system is what it does.
posted by sainttoad at 9:26 AM on November 20 [3 favorites]


The broken legal system that's tilted toward defending oppressors from the oppressed didn't fall from the heavens. The conservative movement and the gun manufacturer's lobby created that legal system case by case and judicial vacancy by judicial vacancy. The legal system is a symptom, not a cause.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:27 AM on November 20 [24 favorites]


Well, we agree there.
posted by Cpt. The Mango at 9:27 AM on November 20 [6 favorites]


@brachiopod: It would be up to the sporting event owners to set rules in place whether someone can attend their sporting event carrying a weapon. The sporting event owners would then be able bar entry to the gun holder. Not regular patrons. US Citizens don't have the right suspend's someone else's right to carry. (I'm not progun and their use escalates any anger related situation).

@Cpt. The Mango: From what I recall, he was invited by his friend to be at the gas station. The protestors were not conducting business with the gas station, so they had no right to be there. He had more of a right to be at the gas station than any of the protestors as a gas station is not public property like a park or city street is.
posted by DetriusXii at 9:30 AM on November 20 [1 favorite]


Farhad Manjoo at the NY Times talks about the gun culture issues that played such a big role in this awful situation.
posted by PhineasGage at 9:32 AM on November 20 [1 favorite]


The normalization of right-wing violence is a depressing harbinger for democracy.
posted by Lyme Drop at 9:43 AM on November 20 [14 favorites]


Rittenhouse actually admitted being a party to a serious Federal crime during his testimony. He was not eligible to buy the gun due to his age. So some adult bought it for him, thereby committing a "Straw Purchase". Apparently the seller (presumably a Federal Firearms Dealer) knew this but went ahead with the sale. Kyle, purchasing adult and seller all were party to the crime. So the ATF can move on these facts.
posted by shnarg at 9:43 AM on November 20 [26 favorites]


prosecutor noted he was also prosecuting the guy who bought the gun for the murderous kid; hopefully he'll do a better job on that one. ... or be replaced by one who will.

couple days ago in floor debate about rep. gosar censure, house minority leader expressed ... solidarity ... with the defendant, namechecking him as "Rottenhouse," apt as to both the gunchild and the house of representatives.
posted by 20 year lurk at 9:57 AM on November 20 [1 favorite]


One of the first things we need to do is, as a society, agree that open carry is an act of violence, and that every action committed against a person open-carrying is de facto an act of self defense.

The second thing we need to do is agree that there is no such thing as an accident with a gun, ever, in any circumstances, and that all possible actions performed with a firearm are premeditated, and adjust our laws and punishments accordingly
posted by JohnFromGR at 10:15 AM on November 20 [24 favorites]


The prosecution didn't throw the case.

They got in over their heads, and drowned.

I'd guess they assumed that Rittenhouse wouldn't be able to post bail, his family would panic, or he'd have bad counsel, any one of which would have led him to take a serious adult manslaughter plea (10+ year term.)

Instead, Rittenhouse raised millions of dollars, had his family hardcore behind going to the jury notwithstanding the charges, and got very lucky in hiring a good legal team and not the alt-right grifters that were circling him and would have led him straight off the cliff.
posted by MattD at 10:17 AM on November 20 [13 favorites]


I didn't realize that the three men he shot were white

I think a lot of people of the left just assumed this.


Huh? No one I know was confused on this point.

See also: what Frowner said re: how white supremacists have always treated people they see as race traitors.
posted by eviemath at 10:23 AM on November 20 [10 favorites]


Hey MeFi, I think what's making me sadder than anything else right now is seeing all the people in this thread who basically agree with each other letting their emotional state about the trial get the better of them.

I'm furious, too. Let's try to direct our anger at something constructive, and not the people who generally agree with us but quibble on a few points. Let's try to be charitable in our interpretations today, because the reality is that MeFi is a heavily left-wing site with a mix between extreme left and center-left users. There's a smattering of conservatives, sure, but they are in the minority and the ones who stick around tend to not be the thoughtless Trump-loving kind.

This whole thing is rage inducing, it makes sense for all of us to be on a hair trigger about this shit, but let's remember this is MeFi and for the most part, we probably generally agree that shit needs to change and that this was a net bad outcome, even if we quibble on details.

Let's not lash out at each other today. I'm just as guilty of lashing out fruitlessly as anyone else on my worst days over the things that get me the angriest. I know it never helps, even when I can't manage to hold it together. Which is why I always want to be better and not let it consume me, even when the world is so horrible I feel like I have every right to let the rage consume me.

In this moment of absolute tragedy, we should be trying to find compassion for each other in what is going to be a very dark future where we will genuinely need each other for Mutual Aid, and fighting amongst ourselves will just damn us all.
posted by deadaluspark at 10:51 AM on November 20 [43 favorites]


Welcome to the age of privileged, consequence-free, vigilante tourism.

*Terms and conditions may apply, please consult your skin color before booking a trip.
posted by Godspeed.You!Black.Emperor.Penguin at 11:27 AM on November 20 [8 favorites]


Welcome to the age of privileged, consequence-free, vigilante tourism.

As someone who is living in one of the cities where vigilante tourism is thriving, it's really terrible to feel like there are many days where I just have to cower inside my apartment hoping no stray bullets happen to come my way.

There is actually a somewhat similar case that's been a catalyst in my city for a while now. Proud Boy Tiny Toese got shot in the ankle after tromping around downtown looking for local journalists to brutalize. Literally following people around downtown, antagonizing them, attacking them, harassing them with violently threatening speech. Of course they got shot in retaliation, they were literally threatening to beat defenseless people and had the weapons to do it (bats, guns, etc)!

Yet of course the charges are filed against the person running from the Proud Boys because they brandished and shot a gun while the Proud Boys were, oh, also brandishing weapons while chasing them.

The whole thing is a mess all over the country. Pretty sure Tiny and the Boys were back in town for the Rittenhouse verdict yesterday, hoping to stir up shit, but thankfully not much went down.

EDIT: Not only that, this is the area where Michael Reinoehl was gunned down, too. Cops are absolute shit everywhere and so are the courts.
posted by deadaluspark at 11:33 AM on November 20 [21 favorites]


We don't vote for judges. We don't vote for prosecutors. Having to be popular to get these positions is a serious sop to the status quo and entrenched white supremacy.

On the other hand, having those positions appointed means those people have to be deeply cultivating favor directly with the power-brokers entrenched and pulling the levers at the top of the status-quo/white supremacy dung heap. Pick your poison, I guess.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:34 AM on November 20 [8 favorites]


Pick your poison, I guess.

Sortition and a draft?
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:54 AM on November 20 [7 favorites]


those people have to be deeply cultivating favor directly with the power-brokers entrenched and pulling the levers at the top of the status-quo/white supremacy dung heap

I've lived in a few European countries, and (although no legal expert) at a guess I would say... no. Of course, you get the occasional weird judge, but the professionalisation of these groups means that somebody as outre as the Rittenhouse judge would bring the whole group into disrepute, and force/allow the government to change a bunch of judges. I've even known a few people who have similar positions in the UK (not at this level of legality) and they were all interesting, smart people. The American system seems to favour kooks and weirdos at a lower level, owing to the weird voting system that means you vote for every government official including your dog catcher. In short: don't judge other countries by the standards set by American precedent.
posted by The River Ivel at 11:56 AM on November 20 [12 favorites]


I've lived in a few European countries, and (although no legal expert) at a guess I would say... no. Of course, you get the occasional weird judge, but the professionalisation of these groups means that somebody as outre as the Rittenhouse judge would bring the whole group into disrepute, and force/allow the government to change a bunch of judges. I've even known a few people who have similar positions in the UK (not at this level of legality) and they were all interesting, smart people.

I mean, sure, I would generally agree, but I don't believe for a second that there's not other ways to infect the courts over there. Just watching the case against The Pirate Bay unfold back in the day was a big one, how a US company brought its heft to a foreign court and essentially made into a US style trial including the judge with very convenient business connections.

I don't remember that European court getting thrown into disrepute despite massive amounts of evidence of the influence of US companies and in particular the RIAA on the whole case.
posted by deadaluspark at 12:02 PM on November 20 [4 favorites]


On the other hand, having those positions appointed means those people have to be deeply cultivating favor directly with the power-brokers entrenched and pulling the levers at the top of the status-quo/white supremacy dung heap.

This is true as far as it goes, and currently the judiciary mostly represents the status quo, which is white and big-L liberal. But on some occasions, either out of cynicism or genuine good intent, the power structure appoints female, indigenous and non-white judges (etc.). The material effect is that now those people are part of the judiciary, and they can't be booted out. Change in those systems is slow but persistent and if it's going in the right direction (is it? I don't know), it'll tend to keep going in that direction. But if your judges are elected and the whims of voters change like the weather, nothing can be counted on.

Six of one, half a dozen of the other, I guess.
posted by klanawa at 12:03 PM on November 20


This is America.
posted by NoThisIsPatrick at 12:06 PM on November 20 [7 favorites]


This is America.
posted by NoThisIsPatrick


So which is it, America or Patrick??? I'm so confused!
posted by deadaluspark at 12:07 PM on November 20 [40 favorites]


Ugh, missed the edit window, posted the wrong link in my comment re: European Courts & The Pirate Bay:

"how a US company brought its heft to a foreign court and essentially made into a US style trial including the judge with very convenient business connections."
posted by deadaluspark at 12:12 PM on November 20 [1 favorite]


Mod note: Fixed.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:15 PM on November 20 [2 favorites]


I have been avoiding all of the media reports about the verdict on the case because I knew it was going to turn out wrong and I didn’t want to deal with it. I figured MetaFilter would cover it, which it is. I ignored all the article links and just read all the comments. The fact that this guy will be walking free is wrong of course. Mostly I am thinking about how hard the verdict is on protesters, past and future. I don’t know what to do with all these feelings but I’m glad there’s still a place to share them. Thank you to the OP and thank you to everyone who has commented. Sending virtual hugs to anyone who could use them.
posted by Bella Donna at 1:17 PM on November 20 [12 favorites]


Here’s the WaPo link, unpaywalled. (I’m a subscriber, so I was able to gift the article.)

I really, really wish this verdict surprised me.
posted by SisterHavana at 1:20 PM on November 20 [7 favorites]


Reporting in from gun enthusiast America:

It's pretty well understood among gun owners that if you're carrying a concealed firearm and have to use it in self defense, you have to say that you carry routinely. You NEVER say that you brought the gun because it was dark/a bad part of town/a sketchy situation etc., because the courts see this as evidence of premeditation. If you thought the situation was dangerous enough to need a gun, the prosecutor will supposedly say, and the jury will supposedly agree, you should have simply not gone there. To intentionally take a gun into a dangerous situation is to go "looking for trouble," your NRA-approved concealed carry class instructor tells you.

The impression one gets is that there is a mountain of precedent for this principle. I simply cannot fathom how grabbing one's pistol to walk down a dark alley to the liquor store is looking for trouble and premeditated homicide, but one can illegally buy a rifle for the EXPRESS PURPOSE of crossing state lines and pointing it at angry protesters and claim self defense.

Whether or not this is actual legal wisdom, it's very much a part of gun store oral tradition. Every right wing gun nut hollering about "self defense is a human right" is consciously keeping their mouth shut about this.
posted by Krawczak at 1:37 PM on November 20 [34 favorites]


As stated upthread.

This is what America has become...
posted by Windopaene at 1:44 PM on November 20 [1 favorite]


Yes, we are in a really ugly place and the nature of this entire situation points to some very terrifying years ahead.

But do take this as a reminder to get to know the people in your community, and around you where possible. I know it is cheesy but find a way to help. Doing something local can be grounding. This verdict and the reality of it means many things, but it also should be an encouragement to you to share your gifts or time to make things better where you can.

We need to be practiced in taking care of one another, here and in the real world.
posted by glaucon at 2:17 PM on November 20 [11 favorites]


The problem is that police watched a teenager walk into a tense situation, one likely enough to erupt into violence that they were out there en masse, with a big-ass rifle in his hands and they approved of him and sent him on his way.

The problem is that a teenager can walk around in public with a big-ass rifle in his hands.

The problem is, generally speaking, almost anyone can.

If, of course, they fit the visible profile of "someone here to help" instead of "an out-of-control rioter.". And, by and large, "which side are you on" is usually a color chart. If your skin is lighter but you're supporting The Wrong People.. good luck to you.
posted by delfin at 2:28 PM on November 20 [14 favorites]


It's been kind of hard reading the coverage of this, as a lawyer, former public defender, and liberal person.

Don't get me wrong--I absolute believe what happened is Rittenhouse's fault in a moral sense. And I hate that the right wing media is going to turn this fucking idiot into a hero and push the narrative that showing up at protests heavily armed to "defend property" is a thing people should be doing. I hate that Rittenhouse was probably brainwashed into believing this by whatever shit turned up in his Facebook feed and is now going to be rewarded instead of facing any consequences or being given any reason to realize that he actually did something wrong.

But he had a fair trial. The jury applied the law to the facts. Criminal defendants are presumed innocent. The prosecution didn't prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he wasn't acting in self defense. There was enough evidence that was enough to undermine confidence in a guilty verdict--the guy testifying that it was only after he pointed a gun at Rittenhouse that he shot him? The videos? I absolutely believe the people who came after him were very likely trying to stop Rittenhouse because they reasonably saw he was a threat. But the actual facts were a fucking mess, and the jury isn't supposed to reach a verdict based on the societal implications of the verdict. It would have been serious misconduct for anyone to imply to the jury that they should consider anything other than applying the law to the facts. And if you don't see the value in saying the jury shouldn't be allowed to consider the consequences of their verdict, remember that it's usually a rule that protects disadvantaged people, so the prosecutor doesn't get to fearmonger and say you should lock this monster up because of rising crime rates.

So there is a huge double standard and lots of bias in the so-called criminal justice system. But the problem isn't Rittenhouse getting the fair trial that the constitution entitles him to. He deserved it.

The problem is that lots of people deserve it and they don't get it, and that's almost always because they are poor and often because they are not white. People get stuck in jail because they can't pay their bail, so they are pressured into a plea to get out of jail sooner. Or the judge is actively biased and hostile towards the defense, which, in my experience, is much more likely to be the case than the other way around. Or prosecutors fail to turn over exculpatory evidence, or rely on seemingly important-sounding junk science. People are churned through the courts with quick guilty pleas and carted off to for-profit prisons. It sucks.
posted by Squalor Victoria at 3:02 PM on November 20 [42 favorites]


Rittenhouse and Rosenbaum both showed up to the festivities with loaded weapons.

Rosenbaum, the first one shot, did not have a weapon. He had a bag of personal effects because he had just been released from a hospital after a suicide attempt. He was a mentally ill man who had been in prison for much of his adult life who was wandering the streets homeless and unmedicated. Most of us will have an unsettling encounter with a street person in our lives, but most of us won't react by shooting.
posted by LindsayIrene at 3:07 PM on November 20 [19 favorites]


It wasn't about "I was in fear because he also had a gun," because he shot someone armed with a skateboard.

It wasn't about "the people that I shot were bad people with criminal convictions and one was a sex offender," because that doesn't matter in the slightest.

It wasn't about "I was defending my home," because it wasn't his home, nor his place to be there defending it.

It wasn't about "I was there to clean up graffiti and provide first aid," because he didn't need an AR-15 for that. Nor would almost anyone have deliberately confronted him if he _was_ simply providing first aid and being non-confrontational himself.

It wasn't about him defending himself in a tense situation. It was about him inserting himself into a tense situation, carrying a weapon guaranteed to escalate the situation, and police allowing him to do so because he appeared to be on "their side."

It was about the laws leaning in the direction of people like Rittenhouse, the police leaning in the direction of people like Rittenhouse, and both leaning away from the communities they have frequently wronged in the past.
posted by delfin at 3:18 PM on November 20 [57 favorites]


Well, they're (Proud Boys/conservative protestors) back again today and throwing themselves into the street in front of the capitol trying to get people to hit them or something. Christ. They've really been emboldened by this.
posted by deadaluspark at 3:49 PM on November 20 [2 favorites]


One of the first things we need to do is, as a society, agree that open carry is an act of violence, and that every action committed against a person open-carrying is de facto an act of self defense.

Context matters. Which is why before the recent descent into madness most states made it illegal to open carry in a city. And usually had much more reasonable self defense laws that didn't all but reward escalation unless maybe you were actually in your home at the time.

The gun manufacturers and their paid shills and useful idiots have twisted the law in a way that protects gun owners and themselves from consequences. What's maddening is that while people of color do sometimes see the "benefit" of these changes in law (assuming they make it to court rather than being shot dead in the street), white people are two to three times more likely to be successful in their claim of self defense once it does make it to court.

It's stupid policy, but I can live with that. I have to be able to live with stupid policy since there are so many stupid and self defeating policies in this country. What enrages me is the blatantly racist (and to a lesser degree sexist) outcomes.
posted by wierdo at 3:53 PM on November 20 [5 favorites]


Squalor Victoria: “The prosecution didn't prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he wasn't acting in self defense. ”
If the law says you can point a gun at someone and then kill them in "self defense" when they see this a a mortal threat and react accordingly, then what use is the law?

It means there's no such thing as the rule of law. Only the rule of the gun.
posted by ob1quixote at 4:13 PM on November 20 [26 favorites]


IANAL, but if I remember that one law class I took long ago, "self defense" is an affirmative defense, meaning the burden of proof is on you.It is a defense that requires the defense to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that their actions were justified.

No justice was done here.
posted by Zalzidrax at 4:15 PM on November 20 [8 favorites]


The one consolation I take from all this is that his infamy lead him to being sucked into the right-wing grievance army. He will spend the rest of life with the worst and dumbest people on earth. It's not jail but it is at least some small punishment.
posted by srboisvert at 4:17 PM on November 20 [5 favorites]


If the law says you can point a gun at someone and then kill them in "self defense" when they see this a a mortal threat and react accordingly, then what use is the law?

This is only true if "you" means "anyone."

And I assure you that it does not.
posted by delfin at 4:28 PM on November 20 [4 favorites]


The one consolation I take from all this is that his infamy lead him to being sucked into the right-wing grievance army. He will spend the rest of life with the worst and dumbest people on earth. It's not jail but it is at least some small punishment.

what a punishment, to end up with all the money in the world and a clear conscience
posted by OverlappingElvis at 4:29 PM on November 20 [5 favorites]


"From what I recall, he was invited by his friend to be at the gas station. The protestors were not conducting business with the gas station, so they had no right to be there."

You are speaking from a place of deep ignorance of American law, and you are doing so in a venue where there are many American attorneys, some of us in the 7th Circuit, some of us (although not me) in Wisconsin. People can tell you're repeating right-wing talking points without any knowledge of the underlying law. You are also wrong on the facts.

It's also one thing for attorneys or legal commentators to say, "Here are the technical reasons why this case failed" (which, I knew it was gonna. I'm nauseated, but not surprised). It's super-gross for someone who doesn't understand the law to repeatedly insist that it's TOTALLY COOL for a 17-year-old to cross state lines with an assault weapon to play at vigilante justice and murder some people. Because you are not making anything remotely in the neighborhood of a legal apologia for why the case failed on technicalities, so you are clearly making a moral argument that literal children should go murder people whose politics they disagree with. That's incredibly gross.

I actually slightly socially know one of the defense attorneys (one of the actual attorneys, not one of the right-wing political fundraisers who technically passed the bar, who are not licensed to practice in Wisconsin -- although I actually know one of those fundraiser pretend-attorneys involved in this case too, he sucks as much as you'd think), and he does not think actual justice was done -- just that the law (a bad law!) was followed. I also know a few other defense attorneys who were approached by his team, who were willing to take on the case (if the Fox News TV lawyers got off it). Everyone considers this an appalling miscarriage of justice, even though the law was followed.

In no sane universe does a 17-year-old child pick up an assault weapon he is not allowed to own, cross state lines, and fire at protestors. Not to defend property, not to defend himself. He had no business being there. He had no business with the gun. He had no business making a decision about what the law allows or does not allow, in either Illinois or Wisconsin. He is a CHILD, a child who has been fed a steady diet of Fox News and Rambo and thinks that guns and violence are heroic. That's not "the law" -- that's an obscenity. It's a human rights violation. Incredible violence has been done against THIS CHILD, by allowing him to ever come CLOSE to this point.

His political defenders called him a "citizen-soldier." He was a CHILD, which makes him a child-soldier. Regimes that use children as soldiers are horrific, immoral, human-rights-violating monsters. To MORALLY defend what Rittenhouse did is to defend child soldiers, and to stand with his political defenders is to agree with their defense of him as a citizen-child-soldier. Is that what you're defending? You think children should take up assault weapons to engage in political violence, and be legally protected when they do so? Because that's disgusting, and if you find yourself in a place where you are defending children carrying assault weapons and engaging in organized violence, you are SO far in the wrong that we can't really even have a conversation.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 4:32 PM on November 20 [99 favorites]


But he had a fair trial. The jury applied the law to the facts. Criminal defendants are presumed innocent. The prosecution didn't prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he wasn't acting in self defense. There was enough evidence that was enough to undermine confidence in a guilty verdict--the guy testifying that it was only after he pointed a gun at Rittenhouse that he shot him? The videos? I absolutely believe the people who came after him were very likely trying to stop Rittenhouse because they reasonably saw he was a threat. But the actual facts were a fucking mess, and the jury isn't supposed to reach a verdict based on the societal implications of the verdict. It would have been serious misconduct for anyone to imply to the jury that they should consider anything other than applying the law to the facts. And if you don't see the value in saying the jury shouldn't be allowed to consider the consequences of their verdict, remember that it's usually a rule that protects disadvantaged people, so the prosecutor doesn't get to fearmonger and say you should lock this monster up because of rising crime rates.

I have to question how "fair" this trial was if the presiding judge placed several conditions upon the prosecution which may have greatly affected how they presented their case (not allowing the prosecution to refer to the victims AS victims, just for starters). And I further have to wonder if that is why the prosecution could not prove their case, or whether the jury had all the facts as a result.

If that was a fair trial then I am Marie of Romania.

Perhaps the next move is to take a really hard look at the presiding judge and review all his cases, to see if there are any other cases which may have been influenced by his particular whimsy.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:33 PM on November 20 [20 favorites]


@Eyebrows McGee: The weapon didn't cross state lines. You used wordplay to say it did. You are repeating it several times.
posted by DetriusXii at 4:59 PM on November 20 [5 favorites]


One thing I keep trying to remind myself is that the armed vigilantes generally do not actually travel in extremely large numbers. They may still have weapons that can maim and kill, but if we really do start growing communities and mutual sid groups, it won't matter if they have weapons if 30 of them are faced in the streets by 300.

At a certain point, some of them will stop, re-asses what they're doing, and realize they've turned into bandit raiders when local mutual aid groups are standing up to them en masse.
posted by deadaluspark at 5:00 PM on November 20 [2 favorites]


"The weapon didn't cross state lines. You used wordplay to say it did. You are repeating it several times."

Yes, you are correct, in my description of the crime, I elided the location and transportation of the gun; he only transported himself across state lines. He illegally bought the gun in Wisconsin and illegally stored it at a friend's house in Kenosha, with the clear intent as testified by both men at trial that they would transfer it to Rittenhouse in Illinois when he turned 18 and it was legal for him to own the weapon. THAT'S SO MUCH BETTER, it's evidence of multiple felonies!

Rittenhouse's friend may very well end up with multiple felony convictions for buying the gun and holding it for Rittenhouse, even while Rittenhouse is acquitted.

So correct my statement from: "In no sane universe does a 17-year-old child pick up an assault weapon he is not allowed to own, cross state lines, and fire at protestors." to "In no sane universe does a 17-year-old child cross state lines, pick up an assault weapon he is not allowed to own, and fire at protestors."

But you have taken my entire comment and focused on one tiny grammatical/rhetorical misstatement about where the gun was stored; you have completely ignored the actual issues of child soldiers, violence, justice -- and the facts at YOU are totally incorrect about, and seem in no hurry to correct, although I am happy to clarify mine. You can't clarify yours, because it would undermine your false arguments. This sort of meretricious, eristic argumentation does not actually advance your point; it makes you seem more and more committed to an ideological POV and to making crappy, ideological arguments in defense of that POV. This is a common right-wing strategy, and we all know it. If your arguments had any substance, you'd respond to the moral points. They don't, so you can't, so you wind up for a good old-fashioned Gish Gallop.

I decline. I'm too old to gallop.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:16 PM on November 20 [84 favorites]


>The prosecution didn't prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he wasn't acting in self defense.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised that this line of... let's call it "thinking," for the sake of argument, seems to have been widely accepted, at least on the internet where I get to see people's opinions. My hot take would be that if you take an assault rifle with you to a place where you intend to confront people who you regard as your ideological enemies, what happens next might be a lot of things but "self-defense" is not one of them.

I wish I could envision a future in which this sniveling, murderous weasel is not elected to public office.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 5:38 PM on November 20 [7 favorites]


the way i see it, you can be found not guilty and still be a blubbering teenaged psychopath
posted by pyramid termite at 5:50 PM on November 20 [8 favorites]


My hot take would be that if you take an assault rifle with you to a place where you intend to confront people who you regard as your ideological enemies, what happens next might be a lot of things but "self-defense" is not one of them.

The instant that the survivor testified that he'd had a gun out when he was shot, I knew that Rittenhouse would walk on all charges. That not even recklessly endangering safety would stick. Why? Because the jury's hot take from that moment on was a simple one. Well, THEY had guns, so he was entitled to defend himself. Fair is fair.

Which is both a gross oversimplification of the events and a distortion of the law, but is also the kind of gut feeling that makes a prosecutor slowly lower their head to their desk.
posted by delfin at 5:50 PM on November 20 [3 favorites]


You're accusing him of being a child soldier, but women carry pepper spray too not to go about assaulting people, but to defend themselves against potential attacks. Should women stop carrying pepper spray with them? Are they immediately guilty?

yes pepper spray in the bag is exactly the same as an AR15 carried in full display

[drooling intensifies]
posted by lalochezia at 6:02 PM on November 20 [19 favorites]


>The prosecution didn't prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he wasn't acting in self defense.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised that this line of... let's call it "thinking," for the sake of argument, seems to have been widely accepted, at least on the internet where I get to see people's opinions.


Even during the trial no small number of responsible journalists & legal scholars noted that Wisconsin's current self-defense laws leave a big loophole here - see this Politico article by a prof @ GWU Law as just one example.

However absurd it may seem, those were the constraints the prosecutors were working under. They genuinely did have to prove exactly that.

Which I'm sure the Wisconsin GOP legislators view as the system working as intended.
posted by soundguy99 at 6:03 PM on November 20 [6 favorites]


I have to question how "fair" this trial was if the presiding judge placed several conditions upon the prosecution which may have greatly affected how they presented their case (not allowing the prosecution to refer to the victims AS victims, just for starters).

Because if you refer to them as "victims" during the trial, you are presuming that a crime was committed, meaning presuming that the defendant was guilty. So yes, that's part of a fair trial, and this is standard in most cases, and from what I understand standard in that judge's courtroom even for defendants that we on Metafilter would probably feel more sympathetic towards.

I guess we could debate the presumption of innocence (I mean, I won't) but I should maybe specify that I was not saying "fair trial" in a colloquial sense, (didn't think that through) basically fair trial means that the defendant got his basic fundamental due process rights. Presumption of innocence, reasonable doubt, right to silence, etc.

Constitutionally speaking, victims and the public don't have a right to a "fair trial." The rules are theoretically, idealistically supposed to protect defendants, who are otherwise at huge risk of being convicted for a crime because we don't like them or for political reasons, etc.

Also, someone asked about self defense as an affirmative defense. The answer is that it varies by state, but in this case, the law was that once the defense raises self defense, the prosecution was required to prove it wasn't self defense beyond a reasonable doubt. And reasonable doubt is the absolute highest burden under the law. We might think we don't want it that way because Rittenhouse sucks and our gun culture sucks, but you would want it that way if you were charged with a crime.

Also: there are so many shitty horrible judges whose behavior doesn't come to light, from what I read nothing this judge did is at all inappropriate and it got oversimplified and selectively reported by the media. I would love to see some of that scrutiny directed at some judges who deserve it.
posted by Squalor Victoria at 6:07 PM on November 20 [11 favorites]


You are also assuming a crime was committed if you refer to them as rioters or looters. The bias is in disallowing one but not the other.
posted by eviemath at 6:13 PM on November 20 [19 favorites]


>The prosecution didn't prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he wasn't acting in self defense.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised that this line of... let's call it "thinking," for the sake of argument, seems to have been widely accepted, at least on the internet where I get to see people's opinions. My hot take would be that if you take an assault rifle with you to a place where you intend to confront people who you regard as your ideological enemies, what happens next might be a lot of things but "self-defense" is not one of them.


Your hot take is not unreasonable!

However, this isn't "thinking" that has been "accepted on the internet," it's just what the law actually was in this case. Not my personal point of view about what Wisconsin's self-defense law should be.
posted by Squalor Victoria at 6:18 PM on November 20 [8 favorites]


That may not be the case, but at the time of the first shooting, he was being chased by Rosenbaum [10]. He may not have actually had permission to be on the property, but then nobody else did either.

This is the part of the whole case that sticks out for me. Why was Rittenhouse the only one of the people on the property being chased by Rosenbaum? Why of all the people on the street that night, only two were killed, both by Rittenouse? There were plenty of people with guns out that night, both legally and illegally, trained and untrained, yet KR is the only one killing people. Why, if he was there to help people, didn't he give first aid to the people he shot?

I honestly don't know the answers here, this is what just sticks out to me.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:18 PM on November 20 [11 favorites]


Right, Brandon, it was supposedly so incredibly dangerous but somehow the only people shot that night were all shot by KR. Weird.
posted by JenMarie at 6:20 PM on November 20 [8 favorites]


You are also assuming a crime was committed if you refer to them as rioters or looters.

One--the judge's ruling was actually "you can refer to them as rioters or looters if and only if the evidence shows they are rioting and looting." I 100% understand why this may seem like it was not treating both sides equally if you don't spend all your time arguing about the rules of evidence, but it's a reasonable decision, not a sign of judicial bias.

To sound very callous, the victims weren't on trial, so there's nothing at risk with having the defense insinuate they were committing crimes. (Yes, unfortunately the victims are dead, which is way worse, but the fact is that they aren't the ones who have constitutional rights to protect at the trial.)
posted by Squalor Victoria at 6:25 PM on November 20 [7 favorites]


Mod note: Some comments and replies deleted. Big ol' nah to this Debate Me! routine, DetriusXii; give the thread a rest.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:32 PM on November 20 [10 favorites]


from what I read nothing this judge did is at all inappropriate and it got oversimplified and selectively reported by the media.

Read more. The judge made many inappropriate moves.
posted by tiny frying pan at 6:33 PM on November 20 [6 favorites]


From that noted right-wing rag Slate, "Don’t Blame Judge Schroeder if Kyle Rittenhouse Goes Free."

Listen, I am as upset about this awful, unjust situation as everyone here, but it would be great if we could not engage in amateur legaling.
posted by PhineasGage at 6:38 PM on November 20 [3 favorites]


Metafilter: Nick Sandman is a previous example of left wing echo chambers being completely wrong in their narratives of him after video evidence came out that exonerated him

---

It's true that having a community of people who respect each other and humanity enough to make telling someone to fuck off out of place is a good thing.

Respectfully, and aware of the consequences, I do also have to say that it's true that racists should be told to fuck off.
posted by bootlegpop at 6:38 PM on November 20 [19 favorites]


If they lived in a state of open carry, then yes, you can't immediately start attacking someone for open carrying a weapon.

If we're going to talk about self-defense for the defendant, we should also talk about it for the victims. Earlier the day of the shooting, a Kenosha militia put out an invitation for members to show up armed on the streets. With some veiled and not-so-veiled threats attached. It was a serious enough threat that it made the national news. I remember reading about it on Google News, and I'm over a thousand miles away.

Seeing armed conservative white guys on the street was going to make everyone nervous. Tensions were high. This is the situation that Kyle walked into. Where he somehow thought it was a bright idea to carry a gun. What did he say? What did he do to incite someone armed with nothing more than a skateboard?

On preview, I see I'm responding to a comment that was probably deleted, but I'm going to leave this up anyways. Mainly because I never ever see the militia announcement mentioned by Kyle's defenders, and how it set the mood that night.

And Kyle's defenders never seem to want to address exactly why someone armed only with a skateboard, and maybe a chain too, would want to assault someone with a gun. In the US at least, this doesn't happen very often. The few times it does happen is when the person without the firearm feels like there's no other option. They're doing it to save themselves or to save others.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 6:45 PM on November 20 [7 favorites]


From that noted right-wing rag Slate, "Don’t Blame Judge Schroeder if Kyle Rittenhouse Goes Free."

Ah, this is what I was looking for, before I peace out of this thread. I personally am not amateur legaling, but I think my point of view as a defense attorney has been adequately shared and going back and forth with people more is not going to be helpful to anyone.

Remember we're all on the same side. Please don't tear each other to shreds! :-)
posted by Squalor Victoria at 6:56 PM on November 20 [14 favorites]


Respectfully, and aware of the consequences, I do also have to say that it's true that racists should be told to fuck off.

I agree very much with this. Despite all our differences, this has got to be the lowest bar. No?
posted by ipsative at 6:59 PM on November 20 [5 favorites]


Just in case i wasn't clear above, I very much agree that it's fair, good, just and necessary to tell racists to fuck off, here and everywhere.
posted by ipsative at 7:23 PM on November 20 [2 favorites]


> I appreciate the clarification, but...

We might think we don't want it that way because Rittenhouse sucks and our gun culture sucks, but you would want it that way if you were charged with a crime.

No, no I do not. Not in the case of self defense. I do not want the law to advantage the person who shoots first and therefore lives to spin the story. I do not want anyone to be in Gaige Grosskreutz's place. Apparently what he did wrong under Wisconsin law is hesitating in using his pistol to splatter some 17 year old kid's brains all over the pavement: Then he could be the one pleading self defense and have the courts need the highest burden of evidence to convict him of anything. And the dead, as has been helpfully pointed out, have no constitutional rights. They don't get to tell their side of the story. So instead of what would be a pretty straightforward "yeah already he'd killed two people and I feared for my life" defense, this guy gets a bullet in the arm and declared a violent looter while the guy who shot him walks.

Having a law written that way is a serious moral hazard.
posted by Zalzidrax at 7:37 PM on November 20 [26 favorites]


Despite all our differences, this has got to be the lowest bar. No?
Based on this thread, that's a very clear 'No,' and that terrifies me.
posted by schmod at 8:01 PM on November 20 [2 favorites]


The case never seemed like a slam dunk, at least to me. A few weeks ago I got curious enough to look up the Wisconsin statute concerning age limits and possession of firearms. It's IMO pretty poorly drafted, but it appears as though anyone over the age of 16 can walk around with a firearm, provided it's not a short-barreled weapon or they're not violating any of a number of fairly specific hunting laws.

The general assumption a lot of people online made, which was of course Rittenhouse couldn't just legally wander into a protest with a rifle, doesn't seem to have actually been the case at all. Maybe it should be, but the law and common sense are only tangentially related at best.

And once you take on premise that Rittenhouse was within his rights to be where he was, when he was, armed as he was, the result doesn't seem especially surprising. The apparent inadequacy of the prosecution and the bias of the judge are just icing on the cake.

It seems like the door is still open for a case in Federal court dealing with the way the gun was acquired (an apparent textbook straw purchase), and the interstate transportation aspect, though. So the dude could perhaps still end up being a felon, if some US Attorney wants to do their job.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:20 PM on November 20 [7 favorites]


i didn't watch the trial, but i did watch closing arguments (and, with half an ear, some of the discussion of jury instructions preceding). it seemed to me that dropping the firearms misdemeanor (for vagueness of some technicality within the exceptions to the wisconsin gun statutes) ceded the question of the *legal* propriety of his presence there with that weapon: no longer could it be sustained that his armed presence created the threat to which the people he alleged later to feel threatened by were reacting, specifically Rosenbaum. in closing arguments both prosecution and defense counsel -- deploring that he wasn't around to speak (or be tried) for himself -- went at him pretty hard, the former likening him, several times, to a yapping dog, and the latter as a confrontational dangerous guy. there was lots of footage of Rosenbaum, sufficient to give me the impression that i would be uncomfortable around him whether he were on my side or among the opposition. not that i'd have shot him for it.
anyway there was video that was purported to show either the child pointing his weapon at Rosenbaum's associates, or him running past the associates with the weapon at (is it) safe-ready(?), whereupon Rosenbaum gave chase, throwing the bag and precipitating the shooting. this is the drone video -- itself subject to some questionable handling/sharing as an item of evidence subject to disclosure that i don't thoroughly understand; in closing arguments it was shown several times, but not with the granular frame-by-frame detail with which i would presume it was introduced and examined as an item of evidence in the trial proper. so, i couldn't really tell what i was looking at until the thrown bag tells me who is who, and accordingly cannot attest to knowing with my own eyes whether he did point his gun at the people. (somebody else, "the man in the yellow pants" had, in other video evidence, asserted to the gunchild that the gunchild had pointed the weapon at him). both the prosecutor and the defender took the opportunity to heft and swing the murder weapon -- which i suppose now is just personal property to be eventually released back to the exonerated gunchild -- around the room; to illustrate something about posture on the part of the footage i couldn't clearly see.
(there is some evidence that during the chase, nearby, the armed party among Rosenbaum's associates at whom the child may have pointed his weapon may have discharged his handgun over on the other side of the lot for some unrelated reason...)
so yeah. he shoots Rosenbaum (four times?) as Rosenbaum appears to be lunging toward the end of the barrel.
it is stupid that an armed person can be *legally* justified in using lethal force against an unarmed person who is trying to disarm them.
after that, the gunchild sort of reeled for a few moments, running free and stopping right in the middle of the lot where the bag had been thrown. someone else came to Rosenbaum's aid. gunchild clearly dithered for a couple moments and decided to run for the police line some blocks away.
some time later a person strikes at the back of his head, knocking off his headwear. counsels differed on the severity of this strike. then Huber makes some sort of contact with the skateboard, dropping and chasing it in the process. gunchild runs a bit farther -- the camera is obscured -- and then he turns as though to look behind him and falls over backwards, whereupon "jump-kick man" did his thing (variously characterized) during which gunchild shoots and misses, and then Huber was back, not really bludgeoning with the skateboard so much as pushing the flat of the deck into the gunchild's face or across his chest and face. they roll over a bit. and then it seems Huber is reaching for the barrel of the gun. gunchild shoots him and he stumbles off and dies. at that shot Grosskreutz, who had been charging in with a gun in one hand and maybe a phone in the other, stops charging with his hands in the air. then there are a couple moments during which the gunchild maybe does something with the weapon and Grosskreutz steps forward again, either reaching for the barrel or bringing his own gun purposely forward (per respective counsel). and gunchild shoots him.
the frame-by-frame analysis that i should think both parties must have presented at trial might settle some of those ambivalent points, above, to my own seeing-is-believing satisfaction.

i think we, here, should be able to reasonably consider, in parallel or superposition, the legal technicalities, the personal and moral significance, and the larger sociopolitical ramifications (and whatever other facets a community of goodwill may elect to consider). i have valued the evident authority -- as to the law -- of Squalor Victoria and Eyebrows McGee, as well as many of the other perspectives and admired several expressions, variously, of doubt and moral certainty. go on, metafilter!

as to the gunchild: i feel kinda lewinskiian about him insofar as my attention cannot possibly to him or me any good now, so i should wait and see if he'll allow himself to be further groomed by the reactionary authoritarians of pseudonationalism or disappear into the study and practice of nursing, as his attorney (who, do i correctly understand, allowed fox videographers to be embedded in the defense team?) says he will. here's hoping.

and while we're hoping (or semi-ironically, quasi-stoically gazing with approval toward the more-favorable outcome), let's turn our attention to the trial of the murderers of Ahmaud Arbery, where, just this week, one of the murderers testified that, having grabbed is gun, chased a stopped an unarmed jogger at gunpoint, he felt threatened enough when that unarmed jogger reached for the gun that was being pointed at him that he was justified in killing him. i don't think he wept when he testified so, but don't really know. (also, if fox embedded vidographers in the rittenhouse defense team, why not with the actual lynch mob also?)

not sure i could bear an acquittal in that case or its sociopolitical ramifications. pretty such there is not much constructive i can do about it but wait, fret, hope and watch. and not so sure watching is a great application of my attention.
posted by 20 year lurk at 11:23 PM on November 20 [4 favorites]


I was puzzled as to how the charge of "Possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under 18" could possibly have been dismissed. That seems to be the one charge that would be an absolute slam dunk.

So I went to the bother of looking up the actual statutes. Summary below.

TLDR: Judge was right, per Wisconsin state law, 16-17 year olds are allowed to wield a rifle all they want in Wisconsin. The law seems to have been made with the intent of allowing 16-17 year olds to hunt with rifles but is actually drawn up and written in such a way as allow any/all use of rifles by 16-17 year olds.

The law:
948.60  Possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under 18.

(1)  In this section, “dangerous weapon" means any firearm, loaded or unloaded; any electric weapon, as defined in s. 941.295 (1c) (a); metallic knuckles or knuckles of any substance which could be put to the same use with the same or similar effect as metallic knuckles; a nunchaku or any similar weapon consisting of 2 sticks of wood, plastic or metal connected at one end by a length of rope, chain, wire or leather; a cestus or similar material weighted with metal or other substance and worn on the hand; a shuriken or any similar pointed star-like object intended to injure a person when thrown; or a manrikigusari or similar length of chain having weighted ends. . . .

(c) This section applies only to a person under 18 years of age who possesses or is armed with a rifle or a shotgun if the person is in violation of s. 941.28 [shotguns and rifles have a minimum barrel length and weapons with a barrel length shorter than the minimum are prohibited] or is not in compliance with ss. 29.304 and 29.593 [children under the age of 16 need adult supervision when hunting or carrying a firearm; hunter's training is required for everyone born 1973 and later]. . . .
So - presuming that the intent here is to prohibit firearm possession by people under 18 with the single exception of rifles and shotguns used for hunting - this is simply a poorly drafted statute.

Apparently they first wrote the statute prohibiting possession of firearms by anyone under age 18. But gun/hunting groups wanted to allow younger kids to hunt with a firearm, so a subsection was added to allow children 12 and up to hunt with a rifle or shotgun with various forms of adult supervision required through age 15.

But in doing so they apparently did not contemplate the notion that a 16 or 17 year old might use a rifle or shotgun for anything except for hunting. So they legalized rifle and shotgun use for hunting by also (inadvertently?) for anything and everything else as well.

Some people have argued the exception allowing rifle use is ambiguous somehow. Really, it isn't. It clearly allows rifle use by 16 and 17 year olds with just a couple of restrictions that clearly did not apply in this case. Regardless, any ambiguity you might be able to rustle up falls in favor of acquittal as any ambiguity should be/will be interpreted in the defendant's favor.

I would chalk this up as another major mistake by the prosecution. I can't believe the "possession of a dangerous weapon" statute has such a major flaw in it, and maybe the prosecutor's office couldn't, either. But two minutes review of the section makes it clear to anyone with reading comprehension that it does, indeed, have such a flaw and that a conviction on this statute in this case is going to be practically impossible, given any semblance of a defense.

That's not how it should be, perhaps, but clearly - how it actually is.
posted by flug at 12:10 AM on November 21 [13 favorites]


Here's par from The New Yorker's recent piece on the verdict. See if the same two words jump out for you as they did for me.

President Joe Biden, whose 2020 campaign used an image of Rittenhouse to disavow Donald Trump’s support of “white supremacists,” commented only that he stood by the verdict. His press secretary, Jen Psaki, told reporters that the President believes “we shouldn’t have, broadly speaking, vigilantes patrolling our communities with assault weapons. We shouldn’t have opportunists corrupting peaceful protest by rioting and burning down the communities they claim to represent, anywhere in the country.”

"Broadly speaking" - Jesus! Biden's statement can't even say he's against vigilantes with military weapons roaming the streets in American towns and cities without adding those two weasel words of qualification.
posted by Paul Slade at 1:18 AM on November 21 [10 favorites]


It wasn't an unexpected verdict, but still pretty sour. It's not against the law to show up to a protest with a rifle and wander around as if it was a magic wand of protection. Like Zimmerman he didn't need to bother with less lethal ways of defending himself because there's no judgement of how you ended up in a self-defense situation. There would be fewer dead people if they had bothered, but apparently that's not important.

Even initially the most infuriating part of this was the police bias. They herded protesters past the armed group, seemingly hoping for this sort of encounter, and stopped to hand out water and say "we appreciate you guys, we really do." when they passed them. Then despite gunshots, dead people, and Rittenhouse himself stopping, they let him go. The Reinoehl incident was just a few days later: he gunned down a Patriot Prayer in Portland, and fled to Washington. His claims of self-defense weren't very credible, but he never got a day in court. Federal agents shot him dead (with no video), and Trump in his incendiary rhetoric said "There has to be retribution when you have crime like this." and "We got him. They knew who he was. They didn't want to arrest him." There seems to be a strong right-wing bias on the scales of justice.

As far as the gun possession charge: if Wisconsin actually meant to allow 16 and 17 year old people to just freely carry long-barrel rifles/shotguns, they chose the most obtuse way possible to write the law. I don't think they were wrong to charge him on it, since it's not that unusual for courts to follow an intended meaning rather than a strict reading of the law. Hopefully they clarify the law.

One law is clear: you can't purchase a gun for someone else (unless as a gift). Mr. Black will go on trial for this soon, and it's an obvious, testified-in-court straw purchase. It would be absurd if he walks away, but I wouldn't be surprised.
posted by netowl at 1:28 AM on November 21 [1 favorite]


I work in appeals law and am not a lawyer, but I know enough to see very problematic aspects of how the judge presided over this horrible trial. It would very nice if users here didn't assume they are the only ones in the room with experience in any one area. Letting a jury member bring home jury instructions, having people clap for a witness because they are a veteran, refusing to call victims what they are, victims, letting the defendant draw out of a hat which jury members stay...these are only some of what does not at all conform to normal trial procedure. Saying he did nothing inappropriate is simply not accurate.
posted by tiny frying pan at 4:59 AM on November 21 [24 favorites]


As plenty of folks before me have noted, the unreasonable outcome of this case stems from a combination of bad laws and bad procedure/clear bias in the courtroom. I should hope that we could all agree that the outcome, regardless of whether it was the “correct” legal outcome, is morally reprehensible and unreasonable in a broader sense - that it is not in the public interest to have racist vigilantes “defending property” (that isn’t their own home, or that they have any relation to, even) and escalating already tense situations unnecessarily. I would also hope that folks understand that there is a long history of people who disagree with that ethical judgement hiding behind the legal correctness (as if laws and legal procedure were not made by people and able to be altered by people) in a weasely attempt to avoid social approbation for their unpopular or racist perspective. Ensuring that people understand the full extent of the problems that need to be solved, and that this is a problem with the laws themselves, not only an example of clear bias from the judge in the courtroom, is an important task - but it can (easily) be done without coming across as approving of the overall result. Eg. the recent comment by flug about underage rifle use in Wisconsin is an example of educating on the errors or limitations in the law without excusing them.
posted by eviemath at 6:07 AM on November 21 [12 favorites]


Three clear cases of bias by the judge that stood out to me:

- He instructed the jury to rise and applaud a witness called by the defense, after specifically identifying him

- He refused to let the prosecution zoom in on a video based on completely made-up objections involving “logarithms”

- He refused to allow the jury to even consider evidence which showed Rittenhouse, a week prior, watching a group of protestors and saying he wished he had the opportunity to shoot them

Based on the above I’m not sure how anyone can say the jury, which was 1/20 people of color in a city that’s 23% nonwhite, “applied the law to the facts” when it’s not even obvious that they were even given the chance.
posted by rishabguha at 6:26 AM on November 21 [29 favorites]


The ruling furthers Trump's legacy of ongoing normalization of right-wing violence against everyday citizens. His campaign of stochastic terrorism continues apace with the help of terrorists like Rittenhouse and Schroeder, as much as their gun-loving enablers and apologists across the political spectrum.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 6:32 AM on November 21 [8 favorites]


From a legal theory perspective couldn't the prosecution argue that if both sides are apparently entitled to self defense then that proves the situation cannot be analyzed as a self defense situation? For example the news media (including a widely circulated video of blog lawyers being exasperated), Grosskreutz pointing his gun was supposedly critically damaging for the prosecution. But there could be an objection there: it neither proves nor disproves self defense only given that someone fired before or after the other person pointed their own gun, because that's still not enough context. I just found this point confusing but the media/internet seems to have no problem understanding it.
posted by polymodus at 7:33 AM on November 21 [5 favorites]


I just found this point confusing but the media/internet seems to have no problem understanding it.

I'm gonna go out on a limb and guess that's because you're actually thinking about the subject longer than two seconds, and are actually using critical thinking to critique the issue, is where you're going wrong if you want to understand it from that perspective. It literally requires treating Kyle Rittenhouse and ONLY Kyle Rittenhouse as a human with agency and reason to defend themselves in the course of the court case.
posted by deadaluspark at 8:30 AM on November 21 [3 favorites]


> since it's not that unusual for courts to follow an intended meaning rather than a strict reading of the law

Pretty clearly the intended meaning here, though, is to exempt rifles and shotguns from the possession of dangerous weapons law for 16 and 17 year olds. You have to wish pretty hard to find even 1% ambiguity there.

Really, the only ambiguity is if you only read the first subsection and just skip the rest. Or if you don't take the time to look up the other sections referenced so you have no idea what the subsection that references the shotgun/rifle exception is talking about.

Once you put all that together - which you would expect any competent court to do - there is really no ambiguity left.

This is something that the Wisconsin legislature needs to fix. We'll see if they do.

The other point is that prosecutors should have been able to see this coming a mile away and should have adjusted their case accordingly. As others have mentioned, there must be other laws out there keeping 16-17 year olds from prowling the streets armed to the teeth.

Find them and use them. But don't let your case hinge on a law that almost certainly doesn't apply to this situation.
posted by flug at 8:33 AM on November 21 [4 favorites]


Polymodus Chicago prosecutors are grappling with the both-sides-armed situation now ... but you might not like what they are coming down on it so far, which is not to file charges.
posted by MattD at 8:39 AM on November 21 [4 favorites]


Another case in the news this week, where a Black man in Minnesota was acquitted because he shot at the police in self-defense.
posted by PhineasGage at 8:55 AM on November 21 [5 favorites]


Really, the only ambiguity is if you only read the first subsection and just skip the rest. Or if you don't take the time to look up the other sections referenced so you have no idea what the subsection that references the shotgun/rifle exception is talking about.

The other referenced subsection explicitly references requiring hunter's training. It's hardly unreasonable to declare someone who (presumably) made no attempt to obtain a hunting certification in Wisconsin as "not in compliance" with that law.
posted by Zalzidrax at 9:31 AM on November 21 [1 favorite]




😡
posted by TedW at 10:26 AM on November 21


My church is across the street from the Georgia State Capitol, and there are often protests on the steps leading to the capitol. One afternoon, I was leaving the church and there were many many white people standing on the steps with various kids of large rifles. There was not a sign of the Capitol Police or anyone else there to keep order. Certainly nobody was asking them if they had a permit for their protest. Just lots of white people with lots of guns.

As I turned the corner onto Martin Luther King Drive, a Black man stopped me and asked if I knew what was going on.
Me: They're having a gun protest
Him: Are they for them or against them?
Me: They're carrying large guns, so I think they're for them.
Him: Okay, then. I think I'm not going to walk down that way.

I have also been there for a Moral Mondays pro-union protest which included, among other unions, some Teamsters. The Capitol Police fenced us in with barricades and surrounded us on all sides in riot gear. There was not a single visible gun among the protesters, but I feared for my life if one of those cops suddenly felt threatened.

The Capitol Police are far more scared of unarmed Teamsters than they are of heavily armed pro-gun protesters. They know what is actually a threat to the existing power structures in Georgia and what serves to reinforce them.
posted by hydropsyche at 12:03 PM on November 21 [45 favorites]


Polymodus Chicago prosecutors are grappling with the both-sides-armed situation now

The details of that story appear to have nothing to do with the Rittenhouse case or the facts of him being given an assault-style gun illegally, underage, and crossing state lines with said weapon, with the intent to go kill people to defend someone else's property.

Is this now going to be a cavalcade of link dumps to stories that have marginal or vague connection to the issues at hand here, except that they all highlight how gun ownership is a cancer eating away this country?
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 1:08 PM on November 21


None of those statements are factually accurate, as has been carefully documented by others upthread.
posted by PhineasGage at 1:18 PM on November 21 [2 favorites]


explicitly references requiring hunter's training

I don't think there's any ambiguity. 948.60(3)(c) says that the underage possession statute only applies "if the person is in violation of s. 941.28 or is not in compliance with ss. 29.304 and 29.593". (emphasis mine). 941.28 is the "short-barreled" statute, and the prosecution conceded that Rittenhouse's gun was too long for that statute to apply.

And so the underage possession statute doesn't apply to Rittenhouse unless he is in violation of both of the other statutes. No violation of one, no underage possession. 29.304 and 29.593 are the youth hunting provisions, but 29.304 imposes no restrictions on 17 year olds. Rittenhouse was 17, so it is literally impossible for him to be in violation of 29.304. The analysis can end right there, but I don't see any violation of 29.593, either, because that statute lays out requirements for obtaining an "approval authorizing hunting", and I don't see any facts here to support the argument that Rittenhouse obtained any approvals. Or that he needed to.

Otherwise, I think DetriusXii's comment is right on point. You can see how prevalent the "he crossed state lines with a gun" meme is, even though it's flatly untrue. People are digesting way more hot takes than actual evidence, so these misunderstandings are all over the place.
posted by factory123 at 1:32 PM on November 21 [4 favorites]


So remember folks, when you're looking to do some killin' , come on down to Wisconsin: we got you covered.
posted by some loser at 1:44 PM on November 21 [3 favorites]


I hope that this at least helps Chrystul Kizer. For those who haven't heard, she's a black woman from Kenosha, imprisoned for killing the man who allegedly raped and trafficked her when she was 17. Her case is up for appeal soon and she's claimed it was self defense as well.
posted by peppermind at 2:12 PM on November 21 [16 favorites]


Someone can look into whether Kyles wonderful mom, bought a big insurance policy in the week before taking him to Kenosha. Taking a minor to a riot with an assault weapon is felony child abuse, I mean, isn't it?
posted by Oyéah at 2:29 PM on November 21 [4 favorites]


None of those statements are factually accurate, as has been carefully documented by others upthread.

I'm aware of right-wing talking points and the judge's careful reinterpretation of facts as we know them, yes, thanks.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 2:30 PM on November 21 [3 favorites]


Wild that it seems unlikely (given how inept Congress is) that we'll at least get a national law banning hunting riffles from cities.
posted by coffeecat at 3:30 PM on November 21


Wild that it seems unlikely (given how inept Congress is) that we'll at least get a national law banning hunting riffles from cities.

I think it's more important to get high powered semi-automatic rifles out of civilian hands. There is no practical reason for a civilian to own a semi-automatic long gun. If they need a long gun they get bolt, pump, breach, or lever action.

Small arms? I used to think semi-auto pistols should be banned but the NYPD (and probably many other big city PDs) have been using firearm possession almost exclusively against Black and Brown people on the streets. The local PD stops the person, illegally searches them, finds the piece, arrests the person. Nevermind the person carries the gun because even though their neighbourhoods are ridiculously overpoliced, they're still ridiculously dangerous. Wonder why that is? Could it be because crime stems from socioeconomic factors that can't easily be solved by racially prejudiced shows of force? 🤔

I don't think de-escalation from semi-automatic pistols isn't going to be an easy thing, at least to do in a manner that won't result in basically the criminalization of a new generation of Black and Brown people. Stopping new sales of them should be a start though. Limit the sale of new weapons to revolver action only would be a start. Guns to plowshares with governments buying them back from within communities along with community leaders leading disarmament among factions. That being said, none of this will be even a remote reality while the police are allowed to treat their jurisdiction like warzones and the people they're supposed to serve as enemy combatants.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 4:00 PM on November 21 [4 favorites]


Wild that it seems unlikely (given how inept Congress is) that we'll at least get a national law banning hunting rifles from cities.


There will be no new national laws banning guns from anywhere any time soon. You are welcome to quote me on that.

In a potentially related story, a red SUV drove through a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin this evening, causing widespread injuries. As with any breaking news story, it is best to be wary of what you hear and from whom about this, to be cautious about social media that may contain graphic footage (some of which I have seen already), and take reports of "shots fired" and "this guy was the driver" and "black and/or Arab men in the vehicle" with grains of salt until more than word-of-mouth accounts emerge. Those who want to Google that stuff can do so.

But the usual sources are already painting this as "BLM/Antifa retaliation for Rittenhouse," so whether there is any truth to that or not, know that that narrative is out there and that if you are anywhere near protests or rallies tonight, be careful. People who do believe knee-jerk conservative narratives may be even more agitated right now than usual.
posted by delfin at 4:39 PM on November 21 [3 favorites]


I'm probably in the minority, but I think we should eventually (over time, much like Your Childhood Pet Rock suggests, not all at once) actually ban and get rid of all handguns, including the ones cops use.

I can see, like you do, that something like bolt, pump, or lever rifles are fair and can be used for hunting and are possibly (but not easy) to kill other people with.

I just feel like pistols, handguns of any sort, just make it too easy to kill, period, even though the person who caused the most carnage was indeed the person with the biggest gun in the case of Rittenhouse.
posted by deadaluspark at 4:39 PM on November 21 [7 favorites]


From a legal theory perspective couldn't the prosecution argue that if both sides are apparently entitled to self defense then that proves the situation cannot be analyzed as a self defense situation?

I was going to say that civil suits could play out more like this, but it looks like Wisconsin applies civil immunity in cases of self-defense. Could a lawyer comment further?
posted by michaelh at 6:16 PM on November 21 [1 favorite]


Righties, Trumpies, Gun lovers, Qs, Proud Bigots and all them folks see this as vindication. That this child will have no consequences for obviously wrong and illegal actions makes no sense at all. Explanations and justifications, blah blah. This is a very bad event that will have bad effects.

My 1st thought: How are we going to avoid Civil War? There is a well-armed militia that wants white supremacy, fascism and, most of all, violence, and somebody with money is keeping them fired up.
posted by theora55 at 7:27 PM on November 21 [4 favorites]


something like bolt, pump, or lever rifles are fair and can be used for hunting and are possibly (but not easy) to kill other people with.

Only about 38% of US gun owners say that hunting is their primary motivation for owning a firearm.
posted by Kadin2048 at 7:41 PM on November 21


somebody with money is keeping them fired up

By sheer coincidence, Rittenhouse is off in Florida today, in the town where pardoned felon Michael Flynn makes his home to also continue to foment violent revolution.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 7:45 PM on November 21 [2 favorites]


Stop allowing open carry.
posted by ryoshu at 11:36 PM on November 21 [1 favorite]


I don't think we're ever going to get to a gun ban of any additional types, other than the ones already existing (not with this SCOTUS anyways). I think the only possible route open is shifting more of the costs of owning guns that are now borne by gun victims and society at large, to gun owners and the gun industry, e.g., requiring that gun owners buy insurance for every gun they own, hiking up taxes on purchaes of guns and ammunition, etc. But again, SCOTUS is the determining factor here. And with the current makeup of the court, there could be another Sandy Hook every week of the year and these justices would most likely reject additional restrictions shifting responsibility of the costs of gun ownership to gun owners.

If we want to solve this problem, we're going to have to expand SCOTUS.
posted by longdaysjourney at 5:23 AM on November 22 [1 favorite]


Question: In various photos and videos posted, Rittehouse is shown with the AR15 and wearing blue hospital gloves. It's not just him though, there are several other gun toting people those gloves also.

Is this some sort of thing in the gun culture, when out on "patrol" or something? If so, what's the rationale behind it?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:25 AM on November 22 [2 favorites]


what's the rationale behind it?
Keeping proof that you fired off your hands and the weapon, I assume. Seems like a good precaution if you're going out murdering.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 6:33 AM on November 22 [6 favorites]


I think a lot of the gloves is just being tacticool -- cops often wear them, to avoid bodily fluids and/or tainting evidence, and gosh do preppers love talking about not leaving your fingerprints places.

But guns (and specifically, ammunition) are CHOCK FULL of lead and you can give yourself lead poisoning handling them. It's pretty normal to use disposable gloves to avoid it, and to be real careful about touching your face while/after cleaning your gun. If you know anybody who hunts deer, ask them about gloves/sanitation/lead ammunition -- lead poisoning from venison is a big topic among deer hunters.

The oils in your hands are also not great for the metal parts of the gun, but I don't know how much of worrying about that is "my personal experiences of gun care come from museums with Civil War artifacts" and how much is "an actual thing all gun owners worry about."
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:50 AM on November 22 [7 favorites]


MeFi favorite (LOL) Bari Weiss has a guest columnist on her Substack today, progressive University of San Francisco law professor Lara Bazelon, who talks about all the big issues we have been discussing above and argues "Progressives Have Been Obsessing Over the Wrong Trial."
posted by PhineasGage at 8:14 AM on November 22 [2 favorites]


Stop allowing open carry.

I'm not sure if Trump judges have explicitly ruled that brandishing guns is protected political speech yet, but, if not, I expect it's coming soon.
posted by thelonius at 8:28 AM on November 22 [1 favorite]


"Progressives Have Been Obsessing Over the Wrong Trial."

I'm struggling to find a link right now, but how about the 16 year old black girl who is facing life in prison for murdering the man who was sex trafficking her and other underage young women.

Considering these freaks get all up in arms over pedophilia, we should have been focusing on a young woman's agency and right to defend herself.

Life in prison for protecting herself and others.

EDIT: Found it: https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/local/child-sex-trafficking-murder/
posted by deadaluspark at 9:01 AM on November 22 [10 favorites]


A lot of people, not necessarily in here, are upset about the whole “bringing guns to a protest/riot” thing. The federally-aligned Proud Boys have been bringing guns to their own protests (read: their invasions of liberal cities) since 2016, and they have mostly gotten away with it. In fact, there have been several times they’ve had their guns seized by police, who have figured out the guns are loaded, then they’ve been released within minutes, sans weapon. They constantly open carry. In fact, as I’ve crowed upon way too many times here, during one rally in 2018 there was a group of men who were caught with long rifles perched on top of a building overlooking the counter-demonstration. The police walked them back to their cars and instructed them on how to properly store their rifles.

Portland Police Found Right-Wing Protesters With a Cache of Long Guns Atop a Parking Garage. Why Didn’t the Mayor Know?

"Prior to the start of the scheduled demonstrations, police discovered individuals who had positioned themselves on a rooftop parking structure in downtown Portland with a cache of firearms."


(I’ll answer the question about the mayor: the police were caught coordinating with right-wing groups such as the Proud Boys and Patriot Prayer. See: Portland Police Lieutenant Jeff Niiya. So either the mayor knew and didn’t say anything or he didn’t know at all.)

In fact, the last time they were here, there was an open gun battle in downtown Portland.

None of this is surprising to me. During the protests last year there were multiple moments in which Proud Boys or random right wingers would attempt to bulldoze crowds and then would fire shots off in the air. Albert Swinney is one of the only people who has been charged after he openly pointed a .357 revolver during a literal brawl, in which the police stood back and did nothing. But, that’s to be expected when the police and federal government are in alliance with their right wing paramilitary groups.

I have two things to end this with, and people here are not going to like one of them, but tough shit::

1) Learn first aid, learn CPR, learn how to use a tourniquet, learn how to use QuickClot Celox gauze. Carry an IFAK (individual first aid kit) and have things in it for dealing with gunshot wounds.

2) Learn how to use a gun, how to maintain a gun, the fundamentals of guns, everything you can about using a gun to defend yourself. I am not saying bring a gun to a protest or a riot. It is time to quit moralizing about guns. They have guns. We can’t afford to sit here and say “well they are bad people and they have guns therefore I don’t have a gun because I am not a bad person”. It is time to use the tools available for self-defense.

This is the world we live in. I’ve lived in it since 2016.

✌🏻
posted by gucci mane at 2:37 PM on November 22 [13 favorites]


Geeze, gucci mane, no judgement on you (I don’t live in the US) but that comment epitomizes why most of us living in non-gun culture countries think the USA is completely bonkers. I can’t imagine even thinking like that, much less having to rationalize like that.
posted by fimbulvetr at 4:27 PM on November 22 [6 favorites]


m8 there are probably plenty of anti-fascists in countries like Hungary, Turkey, Italy, Ukraine, etc. who have been in the same position as me but for much longer and probably with even more at stake. It ain’t all terrible, but it comes with the territory. I could choose to move away and not ever have to deal with this stuff ever again, but where’s the fun in that?! I love my city and my friends and I refuse to let the feds and their paramilitaries treat us like this 😎
posted by gucci mane at 6:12 PM on November 22 [1 favorite]


Not sure how that translates to a universal "own a gun if you want to be as hardcore antifa as me", though, especially given that the person you're responding to is not American, and probably knows more about their own circumstances than you?
posted by sagc at 6:23 PM on November 22 [1 favorite]


Better to have the gunshot wound kit and never use it than to need it and not have it. I mean, I've had narcan that's sat around and expired and been replaced, but I'd hate to come across an OD (and I live somewhere where that could happen) and not have it.

I think this is mostly advice for people who plan to go to the spicier kind of protest....for now. Better to prepare yourself now so that you're ready if things get worse in general than to regret later. Also, think about how wildly worse things are now than they were in, eg, 2010 or so. Like, I have lived in the same house since then and my street is full of homeless people and syringes, the city is just incredibly, incredibly fucked up, the cops are a lot worse and more heavily armed. For a long time, Minneapolis didn't really have a nazi problem because we had a history of running nazis out of town on the end of a rail and now that's shifted because the tide of nazi-ism nationally is too strong. I look back on how relatively peaceful and low-key things were ten years ago and I can hardly believe it.
posted by Frowner at 6:23 PM on November 22 [12 favorites]


One additional thought: over the past decade of mefite-ing, I've been in many, many conversations where things that seemed fairly reasonable to me, activism-wise, were criticized as too hardcore, just posturing, etc. On occasion, I made this kind of criticism. Basically all those things have been shown to be good predictions and prudent readings. It's so, so easy to think that things aren't getting worse, or that things will never get that bad or that if you prepare for things to get worse you'll make them get worse. But at this point, my feeling is "take advice while you have it".

Mefite leftists who own guns aren't idiots. I don't talk about this stuff with my activist buddies because I'm the least hard-core one and I don't want people to tell me things I shouldn't know, but I assume some people I know have guns now, and I'm also confident that they are well-trained, have gun safes, don't carry to the coffee shop, etc.

Also, spicy-activism Portland sounds pretty scary - I've seen some bad stuff on twitter. I think that if you're not really familiar with the past five or six years of fascist escalation there, it's easy to underestimate how bad it is, how bad the cops are, etc. Our cops are bad enough here; I'd rather have ours than theirs.
posted by Frowner at 6:34 PM on November 22 [9 favorites]


I guess I'm more pushing back against the idea that any leftist that doesn't own a gun is somehow falling down on the job, or something, and that the conditions in Portland are not only universal across the US, but literally across the globe.
posted by sagc at 6:38 PM on November 22 [5 favorites]


I’m not criticizing, I just find it gobsmacking and depressing that runaway gun culture has led to the point where that type of advice makes sense.
posted by fimbulvetr at 6:40 PM on November 22 [10 favorites]


It might be worth noting that one can take a gun safety course without owning or intending to own a gun. Like having a driver’s license doesn’t have to mean that you own a car. Even as just a bicyclist, knowing the rules of the road for cars and having an intuitive feel for how cars work (and move, and what sort of momentum they have in different weather conditions, and the driver’s field of visibility) will increase your safety. Guns are, unfortunately, common enough in some (though definitely not all) parts of the US that gun safety training can similarly be a good idea for non-gun-owners and even dedicated pacifists as well.
posted by eviemath at 7:35 PM on November 22 [5 favorites]


If one massacre after yet another doesn't make it clear, there is no such thing as gun safety. More to the point, without a widespread culture of gun promotion across the political spectrum, left and right, that defends and apologizes for illegal behaviors across all forms of social media, including this one, Rittenhouse and Schroeder couldn't get away with what they have done.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 7:55 PM on November 22 [3 favorites]


If you’re a person in a position where you don’t need a gun, that’s great. A lot of people on the left and right don’t live in urban centers where there are protests or riots or people like the Proud Boys showing up. Great! If you’re in an urban area and a committed activist, an organizer, or a person who frequents protests/riots, especially somebody who is an “antifa” or “anarchist” freelance journalist, or even just a person who looks queer or not white or whatever, you are in danger. These guys dox people nonstop, they show up to houses, they harass people at their jobs, and now they are doubly emboldened after this. The typical Proud Boy and right wing channels lit up after this, saying that it was “open season”. It’s better to be armed and know how to defend yourself, defend your family, your friends, your community, than to not. This isn’t a matter of being “hardcore antifa”, it’s a matter of personal defense.

As for fimbulvetr’s comment about non-gun culture, my comment was a response that there are lots of activists in non-gun countries who have to deal with fascists and may own guns illegally in order to defend themselves, that’s all. Wasn’t meant to be a snide remark.
posted by gucci mane at 8:19 PM on November 22 [2 favorites]


If you’re in an urban area and a committed activist, an organizer, or a person who frequents protests/riots, especially somebody who is an “antifa” or “anarchist” freelance journalist, or even just a person who looks queer or not white or whatever, you are in danger.

I can accept that.

What I struggle with, again as somebody who does not live in a country so firmly rooted in gun culture, is the idea that having my own cache of lethal weapons - even with the training and practice required to minimize their inherent risks - could actually put me in less danger.

If somebody is determined to shoot me, then it seems to me that the only way a firearm of my own is ever going to be able to stop them from doing that is if I live in a state of constant hypervigilance, my own weapon strapped on and ready to hand at all times, in order to get the drop on any potential assailant. Frankly, I'd rather spend my personal protection dollar on kevlar and take the chance of being shot than live that way.
posted by flabdablet at 10:33 PM on November 22 [7 favorites]


I saw a documentary a while ago which featured a young Black man in an American city explaining that he always carried a handgun in his car because he needed it for self defence against racist white cops who might pull him over.

He was speaking a few months after Philando Castile had been killed in a traffic stop, so I can quite understand why he felt that way. But all I could think watching the interview was, "At what point in the traffic stop does he imagine he'd produce that gun?" Because I can't think of a single point in the process where doing so would help rather than harm his chances of survival.
posted by Paul Slade at 3:19 AM on November 23 [7 favorites]


Exactly that. The belief that guns are for "protection" is a total US cliche, but I've never understood how two dangers are supposed to add up to a safe.

The only way I can imagine carrying a gun making me even feel safer is if I had good reason to believe that any potential assailants are (a) not also armed with guns and (b) polite enough to attract my attention before attacking and then wait around for me to get it together to shoot them.
posted by flabdablet at 4:49 AM on November 23 [2 favorites]


There are quite a variety of self defence options beyond guns (though, interestingly, in my Canadian province there would only be a couple steps I’d need to take to buy a gun if I wanted to, but it’s illegal for me as an average person to own body armor?!).

But, They sucked his brains out!, gun safety training could* teach you how to recognize what type of gun someone else has (eg. toy versus pellet versus real); how to recognize whether or not a particular gun has safety features like a safety switch or trigger lock, and in some cases whether or not those are engaged or whether the gun someone else is carrying around is being carried super unsafely and could accidentally fire or intentionally be fired at any moment; how much ammunition different types of guns typically hold, thereby giving some estimate of when it might be least unsafe to try to tackle someone with a gun who is a danger to others if one is inclined to Huber-style heroics; or similar details. (*This varies ginormously by specific gun safety training programs, of course. Eg. the ones that cops take in many parts of the US seems to leave out basically all such details.) Like my bicyclist and car example, it could also potentially be useful for a non-gun-owner to know how easy or hard it is to fire specific types of guns accurately, which can affect what types of evasive behaviour would keep you safest in different situations of someone else shooting a gun at or near you.
posted by eviemath at 4:54 AM on November 23 [2 favorites]


From the other side of the country, in the middle of very gun filled culture in Georgia, our protests are still very much aware of the non-violence legacy of Dr. King. When John Lewis was still able to protest, it would have been downright disrespectful to show up armed. It still does not seem to have become a thing, thank goodness.

The only time guns appear among the left is when one of the self-styled "New Black Panthers" type groups shows up. The last time that happened in my town, it was a bunch of actors.

The "BLM 757" who showed up yesterday to protest outside of the trial of the men who lynched Ahmaud Arbery held a pro-gun rally with folks identifying as Boogaloo and Proud Boys over the summer. In Georgia, at least, I am pretty wary of everyone with guns. I don't think these people are on the side of "the left" that I am on.
posted by hydropsyche at 4:57 AM on November 23 [2 favorites]


I don't want to learn more about guns. All I need to know is the fact that if I am near a gun, if I see someone carrying a gun, I am already incredibly unsafe.
posted by tiny frying pan at 5:00 AM on November 23 [6 favorites]


The belief that guns are for "protection" is a total US cliche, but I've never understood how two dangers are supposed to add up to a safe.

In eg. home invasion or regular crime-related situations, all the data (from the US, in particular) that I’ve seen indicate that gun ownership indeed does not keep one safer. I haven’t seen specific data on the sort of situation gucci mane is talking about, but I could see it going either way there: on the one hand, more guns escalates rather than de-escalates every other situation; on the other hand, the aim of the groups with guns such as the Proud Boys is intimidation and harassment, and a lot of them are actually kind of cowards around being on the receiving end of their own behaviour.

On the third hand, there’s my personal ethical viewpoint that I don’t want to take someone else’s life regardless of the (likely, outside of trolley problem type hypotheticals) situation, though I think there can be some reasonable variation on that; and I’ve also sought out at least some de-escalation and bystander intervention training (in addition to first aid and mental health first aid) so that I have other options beyond either acquiescence or using deadly violence against an aggressor if I ever find myself in a situation where myself or someone else is being threatened with deadly violence.

tiny frying pan, that’s a reasonable judgement call if you live somewhere where you just don’t regularly encounter guns; or if you are of a gender and socioeconomic position where it is unlikely that a domestic partner would ever threaten you with a gun, or if your distaste for guns is stronger than your desire to improve your odds of survival if that scenario is one you are more likely to end up in (which is also valid!); or so long as you wouldn’t eg. call the trigger-happy, racist cops on a young black boy playing with a toy gun that you couldn’t tell wasn’t a real gun.
posted by eviemath at 5:27 AM on November 23 [1 favorite]


I live in the urban core of the fifth largest city in Canada, a fifteen minute walk from one of the poorest and roughest neighbourhoods in the city. We daily encounter poverty, homeless people living in the ravines, under bridges, and behind stores. On very rare occasions there is gang-related violence. I go on daily walks through pathways and back streets. My under 5” wife teaches at a school in that neighbourhood and walks to work every day. We do most of our shopping there, our kids have friends there, and my kids’ school mostly draws from that neighbourhood. Despite the fact it is one of the roughest neighbourhoods in my city, we have never felt unsafe or uncomfortable, much less thought a gun would somehow improve the situation.

I have participated in leftist protests and demonstrations. Never thought a gun would help.

We have never seen a gun “in the wild” unless it was carried by law enforcement or military. Pulling a gun to “protect yourself” against either of those professional armed groups would most certainly result in a quick death for you. The only other time I have ever seen guns is when I have gone out of my way to be somewhere I knew they would already be (fall hunting trips with my dad).

I think it is hard to impress how absent guns are in a non-gun culture society. You just don’t see them.
posted by fimbulvetr at 5:42 AM on November 23 [7 favorites]


tiny frying pan, that’s a reasonable judgement call if you live somewhere where you just don’t regularly encounter guns; or if you are of a gender and socioeconomic position where it is unlikely that a domestic partner would ever threaten you with a gun, or if your distaste for guns is stronger than your desire to improve your odds of survival if that scenario is one you are more likely to end up in (which is also valid!); or so long as you wouldn’t eg. call the trigger-happy, racist cops on a young black boy playing with a toy gun that you couldn’t tell wasn’t a real gun.

I live in Chicago. There are plenty of guns here.

I don't really understand your parameters with this comment - like what you are getting at, at all.

I was stating facts, that if you are near a gun, you are incredibly unsafe - this is borne out by almost all statistics I've ever seen about the matter. So learning about guns, being near them? Means you are in MORE danger than if you try to stay away. So no, I will not be learning about guns.
posted by tiny frying pan at 5:51 AM on November 23 [3 favorites]


Who says you need to be near guns to learn about them? I learned in a women’s safety course that one if someone is pointing a handgun at you in a domestic violence or unlawful confinement by a stranger type situation, that survival chances are much higher if you run away, because handguns are actually not that easy to aim when there is a moving target. Does this change if the weapon is semi-automatic or fully automatic? I don’t know, because my women’s safety course didn’t cover that, I’ve never been in a situation where I needed that info, and given where I live and my overall situation, I’m not likely to be in the near future either. But I know women who have been, for whom that info was relevant.
posted by eviemath at 6:14 AM on November 23 [4 favorites]


Whenever people talk about the need for guns for "home protection" I keep remembering the conversation my Irish friend and I had about the gun regulations in our respective countries (NB - this was in the 90s and the laws may have changed since). She said that if you wanted to have a gun in Ireland, you had to apply for a license from the police, and as part of your application you had to state why you wanted a gun - and "home protection" was rarely considered to be a valid reason, because there were so many other things people could do to protect themselves. (The particular week I was visiting Ireland, there was a news piece in the paper about a 70-year-old in Limerick who had fought off some intruders with a frying pan.) Pretty much the only time they made an exception on the "protection" front was if the applicant had informed on the IRA.

There's only been a couple times I've felt unsafe in my home; in neither occasion did I regret not having a gun. Instead I thought quickly about "okay, what do I have instead", and in both cases I figured something out (once it was a roommate's baseball bat and a locked door, another it was a different roommate's iaido swords).

There are other ways to protect yourself that do not involve guns.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:42 AM on November 23 [1 favorite]


Whenever people talk about the need for guns for "home protection" I keep remembering the conversation my Irish friend and I had

My own head goes immediately to this luminous bit from Jim Jefferies.
posted by flabdablet at 7:45 AM on November 23 [1 favorite]


"home protection" was rarely considered to be a valid reason

In the UK, I wonder if you would be lining yourself up for criminal charges if you wrote that and then ended up shooting someone.
posted by biffa at 7:53 AM on November 23


Disclaimer that what I'm quoting was from a conversation I had back in the 1990s and my memory may have enormous holes in it.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:15 AM on November 23


Gun wound?
posted by flabdablet at 8:18 AM on November 23


Pretty much the only time they made an exception on the "protection" front was if the applicant had informed on the IRA.

Definitely the data (if not the actual laws around gun ownership and use, such as stand your ground laws) in the US align with what you describe as the policy in Ireland. I think the situation gucci mane brought up might be more akin to this exception, however? (Which, again, I don’t know of any relevant data one way or the other in that case.)
posted by eviemath at 8:20 AM on November 23


As I said, people here were not going to like one of my two paragraphs. That’s fine, you can disagree and you can post statistics about average Americans. I know people who have been stalked by right wingers. They’ve taken self-defense classes and bought guns and carry knives, mace, etc in order to defend themselves and their families as much as possible. Some of them, on top of doing those things, also quit going to protests, they quit working as organizers, they quit doing activist work in general, they dropped out of the scene. They decided that their first amendment rights weren’t worth their lives or the lives of their family. That’s not meant to be a rude statement, that’s an actual fact of life. If you don’t think guns are worth knowing anything about, that’s great! Some people, people who are being doxxed, harassed, assaulted, etc may have a different opinion than you.
posted by gucci mane at 8:26 AM on November 23 [6 favorites]


It really speaks to the fact that police don’t prevent crime or directly provide protection, particularly not from armed gangs who they are themselves ideologically aligned with.

And I want to reiterate that a home invasion is not at all the same context as domestic violence, which is more similar to but also not the same context as armed right wing gangs or individuals enacting racist and/or homophobic violence on strangers.
posted by eviemath at 8:38 AM on November 23 [1 favorite]


I saw my first MAGA/Trump sticker (rural Alberta) in 2016. I counter-protested during a 'Freedom Rally' (anti-lockdown--plandemic etc gathering) earlier this year, a handful of us stood on the street while the big group met a couple of blocks away. Just last week I read an article about how the organizer--who very publicly tore up the fines that were issued re: public health violations--has had yet another stay of proceedings in the courts as the case gets moved along interminably. I attended a small gathering of NDP supporters (so-called 'Left' in Canada) during the federal election to hear a truck full of young men shout 'Communists!' as they sped past us. There aren't many nights where trucks with lift kits and after market exhaust systems, that cost upwards of $60,000 or more, aren't barreling around during the day and into the early morning.

The past several years, the idea of being a gun owner has certainly crossed my mind. This has nothing to do with rational thought and everything to do with an encroaching sense of fear.
posted by elkevelvet at 9:00 AM on November 23 [8 favorites]


The thing is, in a lot of places if you're on the left the cops won't help you. From the outside this seems particularly true in Portland. (Someone I know from back in the day was actually, lo these many years ago, targeted and beaten by off-duty cops because he was a really stroppy and visible organizer. I remember this happening - it's not a secondhand report.)

We all live in different worlds, but just from social media I know/know of people in Portland or out West who have been targeted and attacked in public by nazis, usually because they are reporters who work to expose the far right. Please do not imagine that the far right is just acting at random or opportunistically - this stuff is carefully planned and coordinated. Some of the nazis aren't that bright, so things don't always go according to plan, but there definitely are plans.

Car attackers, too - car attacks often go basically unpunished, with the exception of Charlottesville, and there are a lot of them now. In the past five years or so it's moved from "car nudges its way through protesters and maybe someone gets a foot run over", which was how things had been as long as I can remember, to cars swerving at protesters, cars driving into protesters full throttle, etc. This is likely to get worse.

At the moment, the right knows that they can injure and kill leftists with virtually total impunity and then go on to make lots of money on the grifter circuit. If people on the left are armed, the right knows that the next shooter or car attacker may not make it to his phony trial and grifter millions. This is what people are thinking. They're not thinking "ooh goody, gun battles", they're thinking "if the nazis face some risk, they are less likely to attack people".

I hate to compare things recklessly to the civil rights movement, but it is well known that being armed benefited civil rights organizers in the south, and that gun control laws got their big boost from white fear of armed Black people.

Sure, it would be nice if this weren't true, but while it would have been fairly easy to change course in 2003 or 2008 or even as late as Occupy, every decision made by politicians and voters in both parties has been pro-police and de facto pro-nazi-organizing for the past twenty years, and this is where we're at. When activists and anti-nazi reporters warned us, most of us ignored or downplayed their words or said they were extremists or just posturing. At best, we tried to apply the models of the eighties and nineties without wanting to admit that things were changing fast.

In 1995, it would have been stupid, macho posturing to talk the way people talk now. The world was really different. There was more breathing room, things were less serious, there was no social media so things moved slower. Many of the common criticisms of activists were partially true, despite the biases of your average hippie-punching American. Things are different now, they're a lot worse and they're not getting better any time soon.

If people want a suggestion from someone who was literally diagnosed with arthritis in the spine recently and whose street-fighting years are long over: Now is the time to find things to do and meet fellow activists/volunteers/whatever. Build up your situational judgement - for instance, it's really unlikely that the nazis are going to hassle a "Moms Against Tax Breaks For Billionaires" type rally - if the optics are very gentle and liberal and it aligns with your politics and you're worried about safety, go and don't worry about it. This is also a great time to connect with groups that feed the homeless, groups that gather and redistribute food/goods/resources, groups that go to public city meetings, etc, or just internet groups that organize phone zaps or fund-raising. If you start meeting those people, you'll be able to have an impact with less visibility and risk and you'll end up learning a lot more about what's going on, hence you'll be able to choose more of your own political activism in the future.

Basically, the best way to be safe in the long run is to have a network. It doesn't need to be a network of, like, street-fighting partisans who are going to take to the hills eventually, you just need to know a bunch of people and find something useful to do that aligns with your values.
posted by Frowner at 11:55 AM on November 23 [15 favorites]


I come from a background where firearms have always been part of my life, and probably always will be. They are, or can be, a lot of different things: recreational sporting equipment, food-gathering tools, complicated and finicky machinery, engineering curiosities, antiques, war relics, tangible history, investment vehicles, storied family heirlooms, objets d'art, emblems of authority, status, or rank, and, of course, anti-personnel weapons.

Periodically over the years, I've had people approach me because they have found themselves in an Ugly Situation and are considering acquiring or carrying a firearm for one reason or another. Almost universally, I try to talk them out of it. A gun is a tremendous liability and safety risk if you don't know what you're doing; more pointedly, it has defensive value only if and insofar as you are willing and able to actually use it—often preemptively.

I'm not in the business of telling people what's in their heart of hearts; if you can stare at photos of bullet wounds and internalize the knowledge of what modern ammunition does to flesh and bone and teeth and eyes, and you're confident that "yep, I can and will do that", then, well, I'm not one to argue. But if that's not who you are, for the love of god don't go around with a gun.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand: there are probably some new protest tactics that need to be developed, in view of the fact that guns exist and are widespread in the US, that people are legally allowed to possess and carry them, and that none of these facts are likely to change substantially in the near future. (Well, if a whole bunch of non-white and/or Black Bloc-type people start showing up with guns, it might, but probably not in an evenhanded sort of way.) I would suggest that the Rittenhouse case demonstrates that directly confronting/"engaging with" or generally antagonizing someone with a gun is a very bad idea.

There are probably people here on MeFi more qualified when it comes to non-violent protest tactics than I am, but I wonder if perhaps the best response isn't just to create a sort of cordon sanitaire around them—probably no closer than about fifteen feet radius—and just refuse to engage. I admit some inspiration from the arthropod immune system, which responds to macroscopic parasites by "encapsulating" them, defeating them through starvation rather than more direct biological warfare.
posted by Kadin2048 at 1:38 PM on November 23 [3 favorites]


it is well known that being armed benefited civil rights organizers in the south

I'm sorry, Frowner. I usually agree with you on things. But I have lived in the southeastern US all my life and am well educated about the Civil Rights Movement, and I literally have no idea what you're talking about here. The Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s-60s in the southeastern US was explicitly non-violent. Selma (and all the other acts of extreme violence against Civil Rights protesters) happened because the protesters were determined not to even defend themselves, let alone arm themselves. Maybe you're talking later than the 60s or you mean in some other part of the country?

The only references I can find to what you're saying are in "Reason" magazine, which I am certainly not going to click on, let alone trust. I also found this article about how Dr. King applied for a gun permit in 1956 before resolving himself to nonviolence. That's it.
posted by hydropsyche at 1:44 PM on November 23 [2 favorites]


I'm sorry, Frowner. I usually agree with you on things.

If you scroll down to the end of this interview on NPR there's a section that touches on guns and the civil rights movement. This Nonviolent Stuff 'll Get You Killed: How Guns Made the Civil Rights Movement Possible is a big-name book on the topic.

There is what I believe is a permanent, small exhibit about this at the Levine Museum of the New South in Charlotte, although I was there in 2015 so who knows. It was a really neat museum, though.

There are a couple of fairly famous articles and widely distributed fanzines about this too, but I don't have time to search them out right now.

Again and again when reading about this topic, I found people quoted as saying that having the guns kept them safe in their homes when white supremacists came to their houses and threatened them. They were able to stand off the white supremacists because they were armed. The famous quote on this is Fannie Lou Hamer's, but there are a bunch of others.
posted by Frowner at 1:58 PM on November 23 [5 favorites]


That's interesting history! It definitely contradicts history I've heard other places, including from speeches by the leaders themselves. But none of it involves Civil Rights leaders showing up at protests armed. Maybe one reason we don't know this history is that, sadly, whether or not they were armed at the time didn't actually keep Medgar Evers or Dr. King (or many others) from being assassinated.
posted by hydropsyche at 2:12 PM on November 23 [1 favorite]


Well, there’s also a difference between a protest that consciously uses non-violence as a tactic to highlight the brutality of the racist, unjust system and people’s safety within their own homes from acts of political repression and terror aimed at them.
posted by eviemath at 3:59 PM on November 23 [10 favorites]




eviemath: And I guess that's my concern, that if everyone is armed, if all protests are just a beat away from turning into what happened in Kenosha that day, then ultimately there's no real difference between the protestors and the counterprotestors, between the just and the unjust. It's just street warfare between the red team versus the blue team. We will have lost the moral high ground that actually the left is right and the right is wrong.
posted by hydropsyche at 4:47 AM on November 24 [4 favorites]


The trouble is that with all its Sturm und Drang about Antifa "terrorists", the Right has long since claimed that moral high ground. It's the excuse they use for showing up armed.

It does strike me as important not to cede it, but there comes a point in an ever more polarized political landscape where one has to question just which audience one is refusing to cede it to. The reality-based community - those of us who understand perfectly well what fascism is and hence what "antifa" actually means - doesn't need convincing; the MAGA cultists will never be convinced; and those who pay only the most cursory attention to politics are always going to be have their opinions formed more on the basis of what the commercial mass media says than on what the actual facts are, and the mass media will always focus on the most violent episodes from any protest, often to the exclusion of all other coverage, because that's what makes people scared and angry and therefore drives engagement. If it bleeds, it leads.

I don't think it's mere street warfare. I think it's sporadic but absolutely genuine low-level civil war, and I agree that it's important that we don't lose. But I also think it's vital never to lose sight of the fact that the actual combatants are still hugely outnumbered by non-combatants, and it seems to me that it should not be beyond the wit of humanity to devise better strategies for containing the military cosplay wing of the death-by-stupidity cult than engaging it with its own preferred choice of weapons.
posted by flabdablet at 7:58 AM on November 24 [5 favorites]


I think one of the perennial problems of the Left is that it just doesn't do violence well. I get that people are frustrated, but smashing up a used-car lot or setting a Starbucks on fire doesn't really accomplish anything productive. If anything, it's hugely counterproductive, because it both is terrible optics (Mr and Mrs Middle America watching on CNN are only going to see the burning cars and be that much more convinced that "Antifa" is coming for them), and creates a perceived need and justification for people like Rittenhouse to show up with guns.

I am not, for the record, saying that violence isn't sometimes justified or even useful. Just that it seems to not be either in the context of a street protest.

Now, if that same frustration and desire to break shit was directed at, say, an oil pipeline, or if the cars that were being set on fire belonged specifically to someone on the board of directors of Pfizer—
* FBI has entered the chat *
Uh, nevermind. You get the idea.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:43 AM on November 24 [2 favorites]


I think it's much more problematic that people assume all protesters are responsible when a few people set fire to something.

In addition, many times it's police or other bad actors starting that kind of mayhem in order to blame protesters in this very way.
posted by tiny frying pan at 8:59 AM on November 24 [8 favorites]


Blaming Antifa for their own violence is a completely standard move for right-wingers at this point. Hell, they even tried wheeling it out for the Jan 6th attack on the Capitol, and I'm sure there is a substantial number of people who still believe that.

Because this is 2021, and in 2021 who are you gonna believe, Fox and Friends or your own lying eyes?
posted by flabdablet at 10:26 AM on November 24 [6 favorites]


I think one of the perennial problems of the Left is that it just doesn't do violence well.

But what you describe (the evening news, Mr. and Mrs. Middle America) also reflects the actions of angry mobs. I don't disagree with you, I'm just not sure we can approach this like it's a neat series of movements on a game board where (somehow) The Left can improve strategies etc. I am also not sure anyone does violence well, I get that you're making a point and choice of language is not always the result of well-drafted consideration etc.. I guess what we are seeing is a culmination of so many things.. Any mass protest will involve mobs, and mobs are notoriously unwieldy and things go off quickly at the best of times.. add in ingredients of pure malice and/or premeditated black flag bullshit, and the fact that all of this is presented to a viewing audience through the lens of corporate media.

It could be that The Left does not do violence well, and it wouldn't necessarily matter either way. I'm not the most defeatist person but this is provoking a lot of questions, thanks anyhow.
posted by elkevelvet at 11:15 AM on November 24 [2 favorites]


I am also not sure anyone does violence well, I get that you're making a point and choice of language is not always the result of well-drafted consideration etc..

My thing is that regardless of which side you're on, the other side isn't speaking your language. Dems don't do violence well, but the US Right thinks it's an effective and useful way to communicate their message. The US Right doesn't do empathy well, so addressing them on feelings or laws which enforce "don't be a dick" fee-fee goals is going to similarly fall on deaf ears.

Each side is self-segregating and the middle is disappearing, how to break the logjam? For the left, I believe taxation is an acceptible form of violence that should be promoted more and worn as a badge of citizenship, if in fact it can be wielded like a club with undeniable consequences rather than a pretty-please request. For the right, I think connecting with non-evangelicals and using concerns of government overreach, such as preventing the prosecution of bad cops, might enable common cause. It's a tough problem, and one that is rendered much more difficult by intransigence.

I don't have kids, so this is the limit of my expertise in oppositional defiance disorder, but this also speaks to the weaknesses of diagnosing political problems in psychological terms. If the solution is one step away from confinement and medication, we (I) should probably keep looking for better tools.
posted by rhizome at 1:00 PM on November 24 [2 favorites]


The most common argument I've read online is that since Rittenhouse was running away, that means he was defending himself when being chased (self-defense).

But if a shooter is seen running with a rifle, how do others know if the shooter is actually retreating or rather just running to safety until they can just shoot again later?
posted by FJT at 1:19 PM on November 24 [1 favorite]


It's a slow news day, but Kyle Rittenhouse just milkshake ducked himself with the QAnon crowd by criticizing lawyer Lin Wood.
posted by box at 7:22 AM on November 26


One consistent thing about right-wing mobs is that they are hard to contain, once you unleash them.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 1:49 PM on November 26


I think one of the perennial problems of the Left is that it just doesn't do violence well.

Wouldn't the Weather Underground and Symbionese Liberation Front be better examples of leftist violence? What you're describing is property damage.
posted by Selena777 at 4:58 PM on November 26


(Didn’t the Weather Underground specifically try not to harm people in their bombings, only cause property damage?)
posted by eviemath at 10:37 PM on November 26 [3 favorites]


I was part of a "community journalism" livestreaming thing back during Occupy Oakland (here's Jon Stewart saying "What the f*ck just happened in Oakland?!?" regarding when the city decided to forcefully move out the tent protest that had been camped in front of City Hall) and there was SO much discussion at that time about whether breaking bank windows counted as "violence" or not.
posted by Lexica at 2:00 PM on November 27 [1 favorite]


seems to me that that set of knowledge required to unload a firearm, confirm that a firearm is not loaded, and otherwise set that weapon to the configuration in which it is safest, at least, would be good knowledge to have notwithstanding one's position with respect to possession or display of such objects.
posted by 20 year lurk at 1:33 PM on November 30 [1 favorite]


If you're coming from a perspective of a society where there is very little gun ownership, the need for that knowledge is practically zero. Even having the training available would massively increase levels of interaction with a gun.
posted by biffa at 4:58 PM on November 30 [1 favorite]


Kyle Rittenhouse news: says he's going to Arizona State, Arizona State says he's not, leftist student groups demand his removal, he goes on Charlie Kirk and says he is having his AR-15 destroyed.
posted by box at 8:14 AM on December 1 [1 favorite]


he goes on Charlie Kirk and says he is having his AR-15 destroyed.

Pffft - he's probably asked for a totally different gun from Santa for Christmas by now.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:25 PM on December 1


Also, he claims his former lawyer Lin Wood used money from his legal defense fund for their own benefit, and a Wood-connected group filed a motion requesting that the money be refunded to them.

Kyle Rittenhouse is a murderer, but he's also naïve and probably not very... worldly, and I don't think he's really been prepared for a single thing that's happened to him since he went to Kenosha, including and especially the right-wing grifterverse.
posted by box at 1:06 PM on December 1 [4 favorites]


If you're not familiar with Lin Wood, he was once a normal conservative attorney in Georgia until he decided to burn his life down. He's currently under investigation by the Georgia Bar for both his erratic behavior and his attempt to overturn Georgia's 2020 election results on behalf of Trump.
posted by hydropsyche at 4:17 AM on December 2 [3 favorites]


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