Kyle Rittenhouse’s acquittal is a dramatic affirmation of the right to self-defense and a huge blow to the gun control movement.
This drama is a long way from over. If people such as Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and BLM activist Troy Gaston have their way, the Justice Department will try to charge Rittenhouse under federal civil rights law. At the same time, Rittenhouse will, almost certainly, sue those in the media (CNN and the Washington Post, among others) and President Biden for libel and slander. And Rittenhouse is bound to be sued by the families of the people he shot for wrongful death and injury.
There have already been riots by the usual BLM and Antifa thugs in places such as Portland, Oregon, where they have been allowed to break the law with impunity for many months. Similarly, the media is saying that the San Francisco and Chicago lootings of Louis Vuitton and Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom stores occurred because of the Rittenhouse verdict.
It will be virtually impossible to bring federal civil rights charges against Rittenhouse because he was not acting “under color of law,” i.e., functioning as a sworn police officer or an official of a local, state, or the federal government. The rifle he used was not transported over state lines, so the FBI apparently has no criminal jurisdiction over him. But Biden’s remark that he is “angry and concerned” about the verdict may be enough for Attorney General Merrick Garland to try to charge Rittenhouse under federal law.
For liberals there are only two acceptable explanations for the acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse: racism and (or) the lack of gun controls depriving private citizens of their Second Amendment rights. MSNBC’s Joy Reid managed to combine the two. She said:
“I think we have to keep in mind, when we’re watching the criminal justice system at work, that it was designed to do exactly what it did today. Gun laws helped to enhance the design to allow this verdict to happen today. This country was built on the idea that white men had a particular kind of freedom and a particular kind of citizenship that only they have that gives, you know, from the slave catchers on, the right to inflict violence in the name of protecting property. That’s like the foundational creation of the United States.”
Reid’s mindset is common among liberals including Biden. During the campaign in September 2020, Biden said Rittenhouse was a white supremacist. MSNBC, CNN, and the rest of the mainstream media followed suit. That, as we’ll see in a minute, should have legal consequences for Biden and many among his media cohort.
Racism? Kyle Rittenhouse is white. The two men he shot and killed — and the one he wounded — were all white. Yet President Biden and too many other nitwits in Hollywood, the media, professional sports, and among the hoi polloi Democrats insist that Rittenhouse is a white supremacist despite the lack of a scintilla of evidence that he is or was.
The liberals’ insistence that the law, the trial, and its outcome are tainted by racism is risible. But, to them, it has to be true because they have only two frames of reference, racism, and gun control. The accusation of racism was a major theme in the 2020 election and will be in the future — probably with less success — because that’s one of only two issues that the Democrats and the media care about.
Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke, who ran unsuccessfully for president in 2020 and is running for governor of Texas (where he will lose again), promised in a 2019 debate that,“hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15,” and he insists that he was right. After Rittenhouse’s acquittal, O’Rourke said, on a show produced by the Dallas Morning News, “This sets a very dangerous precedent that a young man, in fact a 17-year-old, could carry a weapon originally designed for battlefield use out on the streets of a community and can shoot a number of people killing, two of them, and be able to get off completely scot-free.” O’Rourke said essentially the same thing as the BLM activists and many in the media, who side with gun control advocates such as he.
You can argue — as the prosecutors did — that Rittenhouse should not have been where he was when the shootings occurred. That argument must be weighed against the remark of a Kenosha police officer who told Rittenhouse that he was glad the boy had come to help the police defend their town. In any event, where Rittenhouse was is irrelevant to the issue of self-defense.
Reid, O’Rourke, and many others are arguing against the right to self-defense of person and property which goes back to English common law and is enshrined in U.S. law. The “castle doctrine” says that a person can use reasonable force, including deadly force, to protect one’s home and person.
At least twenty-five states’ laws say that if a someone is lawfully present he has no duty to retreat from an attacker. Florida’s “hold your ground” law goes further, providing that “a person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force, if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.”
Rittenhouse was legally present at the incident and was retreating from a crowd that was threatening him with bodily harm. One of the attackers he killed was pointing a pistol at him and another was trying to beat him with a skateboard. One of them had earlier threatened to kill Rittenhouse and then tried to take his rifle from him. Rittenhouse rightly feared for his life in these attacks, making it his right to defend himself from imminent harm or death. Much to the chagrin of his prosecutors, the jury acquitted him of all remaining charges, saving the judge from his obligation to declare a mistrial due to prosecutorial misconduct.
That misconduct was evident throughout the trial. One of the prosecutors — in the presence of the jury — remarked on Rittenhouse’s silence as evidence of guilt, which drew a harsh rebuke from the judge because it effectively said that Rittenhouse had no Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. In another instance the prosecution withheld a high-resolution copy of the video from the defense and showed it at trial. The jury apparently took the video into account when it reached its verdict of acquittal.
Withholding evidence from the defense, as anyone who attended law school knows, is a violation of the Brady v. U.S. Supreme Court ruling which ensures that the defense is entitled to any evidence the prosecution has whether or not the prosecutor believes the evidence to be exculpatory. The judge could have declared a mistrial on the basis of the Brady violation alone.
But the gun controllers don’t care about the facts of the incident or the law that governs it. They — like Reid and O’Rourke — only care about the outcome.
Rittenhouse is cleared of the charges brought against him and is now at liberty to pursue those – including Biden, MSNBC, CNN, and others — who slandered him.
Rittenhouse should take a lesson from Nicholas Sandmann, a high-school student who attended a March for Life rally in 2019. Sandmann was confronted by a native American activist who was beating a drum and shouting at him. He kept his cool and didn’t respond. Later, Sandmann brought legal actions against CNN and the Washington Post seeking $275 million in damages for their slanders against him. Both cases were settled for undisclosed amounts, possibly in the tens of millions of dollars.
Rittenhouse could sue Biden — who, because he wasn’t in office, had no immunity for calling Rittenhouse a “white supremacist” — and CNN and several others in the media. He, too, could collect millions from his slanderers in the media and, perhaps, from Biden.
Some conservatives say that the Rittenhouse verdict proves that everyone should have an AR-15 with a thirty-round magazine. That’s as untrue as the liberals’ lines. The battle over gun control will never be over. That, and the argument that Republicans are racist, is all they have.