This article may be considered by some to be a bit late, but it’s important to acquire as much information as possible before making a judgement. Two days after the arrest, I feel as though I have enough evidence to comment on the situation in Wisconsin. On Wednesday, Kyle Rittenhouse was arrested in connection to the shooting of three protestors. Following the events, the country erupted in a debate between whether this shooting was self-defense or murder. As with any situation, there are a plethora of factors that contribute to the end result; however, with the current stock of video and information, it can be concluded that this event was an egregious misuse of the Second Amendment.
Before jumping into the crimes, we need to be clear on the events that unfolded. Kyle Rittenhouse is a 17 year old boy from Illinois, who was driven by his mother to another state to join a militia that was protecting businesses that weren’t theirs. Throughout the night, the militia received mixed signals from the cops on their actions. Some were encouraging them; some were issuing them warnings to leave the area. Rittenhouse, on multiple occasions, lied to police officers telling them that he was employed at one of the businesses on the strip. At some point in the night, Rittenhouse shot a protester in the head. After this incident, a group of civilians pursued him in an attempt to eliminate the threat of an active shooter. In response, Rittenhouse shot two more people.
Now that the sequence of events is laid forth, we need to establish all of the crimes that were committed. First, Wisconsin is a state that permits open carry of firearms; however, this is a right restricted to people over the age of 18. Being 17 years old, Rittenhouse was actively violating the gun laws of Wisconsin. The simple truth is that he had absolutely no reason or right to be there. Second, he was not protecting his own property. This may lose me some support with my fellow libertarians, however, the Second Amendment guarantees your right to protect yourself and your property. It does not say that an unstable teenage boy has the right to go play police officer in matters that don’t concern him. Finally and most importantly, Rittenhouse fired on a crowd. In the first shooting, there is no evidence of a threat to the boy’s life. Like stated previously, after the first shooting he was pursued and shot two more people. Videos show that once his pursuers were fleeing, he fired even more shots.
This is where the truth of the events unfold. Kyle Rittenhouse was in over his head. He had no training and no authority to be in that situation. He panicked and acted dangerously and irrationally. Is there nuance to the situation? Yes, there’s always a grey area. His mother could have been a good parent, and instead decided to be an idiot. The fellow “militiamen” probably should have been questioning this young kid that no one knew. The police probably should have validated that he was of age to carry and a resident of the state. But, at this point none of that matters. There are two people dead and another injured.
The simple fact of the matter is that Kyle Rittenhouse willingly chose to put himself in a dangerous situation. When picking up the gun, he assumed the very real and adult responsibility of carrying a firearm. The abuse of that responsibility is one of the highest crimes in the land. He acted like he was an adult. He will be treated like an adult. He will be tried for murder as an adult.
EDIT: As more information comes, I will continue to edit. It should be mentioned that there was a first shot fired by a third party. This person, who is unidentified and was not a victim, fired in the air. It’s safe to assume that this was to start violence, a common tactic used by extremists. Rittenhouse, instead of continuing to flee, still chose to turn and shoot and wound up shooting the wrong guy. Hearing a gunshot does not give you the right to shoot indiscriminately amongst a crowd. This is not self-defense, it is murder.
Michael A. Romano