USA: Gun Rights On Trial – The Kyle Rittenhouse Trial – Commentary + videos

The Economist – Daniel Knowles: Midwest correspondent

For the past few days, a huge number of American journalists have been camped outside the rather grand courthouse of Kenosha, a small city in Wisconsin. On Friday November 19, they got what they were waiting for. After three days of deliberation, the jury in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, an 18-year-old from Antioch, Illinois, declared the defendant not guilty on all counts. It was a shocking result after a deeply messy trial, in which the judge accused journalists from MSNBC, a left-leaning television network, of following the jury, and the defence repeatedly pressed for a mistrial.

The interest, however, was driven by what the trial says: it is fundamentally a debate about gun rights in America. Despite the arguments over the quality of evidence—with the judge, Bruce Schroeder, who is in his 70s, asking time and again for clarification on issues such as how mobile-phone cameras work—there is not a lot of dispute over what happened on the night in question, August 25th 2020.          

After a day of violent protests that followed the shooting of Jacob Blake, a black man, by Kenosha police, Mr Rittenhouse went to Kenosha, a city about 20 miles from his home over the border in Antioch, Illinois, to volunteer to protect businesses from rioters. He picked up an AR-15-style rifle that he had paid a friend who lives nearer the city to buy for him (he was too young to buy it himself). And late that night, when most protesters had dispersed, he got into a confrontation with Joseph Rosenbaum, a troubled 36-year-old man, and shot him four times, killing him. In the minute or so afterwards, he ran away, fell over, and shot at three more people who had chased after him, killing one and injuring another. Almost all of it was captured on video.

The difficulty is how to interpret it. The prosecution’s argument was that Mr Rittenhouse was a “chaos tourist” who essentially provoked the whole situation by bringing his gun with him to a protest and then pointing it at people, and he had no good reason to shoot anyone. The defence argued he went to Kenosha to help out and was set upon by criminals, and had to shoot to save his life. The jurors had to assess which is right. And of course it was political, though Mr Schroeder tried to say otherwise. If you believe that carrying a gun in a protest is in itself a provocation, you might sympathise with the prosecution’s case. If you think that gun-owners have a right or even a duty to be armed to protect themselves and others, you might prefer Mr Rittenhouse’s defence. Evidently the jury did.

The trouble is, trials such as this seem sure to become more common. In most American states, the law is not especially clear on when you can use a gun to defend yourself. One thing that makes it tricky is that while openly carrying a gun in public is legal in most states, pointing it at somebody, or even just brandishing it, can constitute assault. And the law generally says you cannot claim self-defence if you started the fight. On Monday and Tuesday in Kenosha among the visitors were Patricia and Mark McCloskey, two lawyers from Missouri who became famous last year for pointing their guns at protesters. In a farcical case, they pleaded guilty to charges of assault and harassment, but then were pardoned by Missouri’s Republican governor. Mr McCloksey is now standing for the Senate. The acquittal follows that logic. It does not matter if your gun was the very thing that generated the threat to you; you are still allowed to use it to defend yourself.

Kyle Rittenhouse acquitted – REPORTS and VIDEOS from Global News

Kyle Rittenhouse acquitted of all charges by jury in Kenosha shootings that killed 2, injured 1

DETAILED INFORMATION: Kenosha unrest shooting —from Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenosha_unrest_shooting

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Comments

  • Clyde Duncan  On 11/21/2021 at 7:03 pm

    The USA is a backward and uncivilized country!!

  • Clyde Duncan  On 11/21/2021 at 7:09 pm

  • Clyde Duncan  On 11/22/2021 at 2:09 pm

    U.S. Listed As A ‘Backsliding’ Democracy For First Time
    In Report By European Think Tank

    “The world is becoming more authoritarian as non-democratic regimes become even more brazen in their repression and many democratic governments suffer from backsliding by adopting their tactics of restricting free speech and weakening the rule of law, exacerbated by what threatens to become a ‘new normal’ of COVID-19 restrictions,” the report found. “The number [of countries] moving in the direction of authoritarianism is 3-times the number moving toward democracy.”

    The Washington Post

  • Clyde Duncan  On 11/25/2021 at 2:20 am

    Lynching is NOT a Federal Crime in the USA

    Emotional Senate Debate As Rand Paul Blocks Bill To Make Lynching A Federal Crime

    Lawmakers have tried to outlaw lynching nearly 200 times.

  • Clyde Duncan  On 11/30/2021 at 12:18 am

    Meet the Texas Secessionist Movement: Brought to You by Russia

    The Kremlin continues its care and feeding of American extremist groups.

    by KRISTOFER HARRISON | The Bulwark

    A couple weeks ago Senator Ted Cruz was speaking at Texas A&M University when someone asked him his thoughts on the Texas secessionist movement. He replied that he wasn’t “there, yet”. It is important to understand that the modern secession movement is not a product of Lone Star pride. It’s an idea that has been force fed into the American conservative movement by Russia.

    Secession is one of the Kremlin’s “active measures” campaigns: Promote fringe wackos abroad and hope that, eventually, they break something. This may not sound like much of a plan, but it sometimes works. Putin has been openly building his portfolio of wackos for a while. And the wackos have begun breaking things.

    The shiny ball that caught Cruz’s attention was The Texas Nationalist Movement (TNM). TNM is Texas’s most prominent secessionist organization. In 2015, TNM attended a St. Petersburg gathering of worldwide extremists organized by Rodina— that’s “Motherland” in Russian — the fascist-adjacent offshoot of Putin’s United Russia party.

    WHEN YOU FINISH READING DUH …. Check out:

    GOP: The Party of Violence

    by MONA CHAREN | The Bulwark

    Across the country, REPUBLICANS ARE THREATENING TO USE FORCE.

    Adam Smith said, “There is a great deal of ruin in a nation.” It was meant as comfort. A lot can be wrong and still not signal the apocalypse. So let’s hope that the increasing fascination with political violence we are hearing from Republicans is a passing thing, and NOT a sign of unravelling.

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