Wednesday Writs: Kyle Rittenhouse Edition

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Em Carpenter

Em was one of those argumentative children who was sarcastically encouraged to become a lawyer, so she did. She is a proud life-long West Virginian, and, paradoxically, a liberal. In addition to writing about society, politics and culture, she enjoys cooking, podcasts, reading, and pretending to be a runner. She will correct your grammar. You can find her on Twitter.

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159 Responses

  1. Avatar Oscar Gordon
    Ignored
    says:

    It all flows from that initial shot. If someone threw a bag of dog poo at him, he was not justified. If it was a molotov, then probably he would.

    A brick that misses? Unless he can prove the guy had a pile of bricks at hand, because once the brick misses, the threat is over unless another brick can be thrown.Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Oscar Gordon
      Ignored
      says:

      “A brick that misses? Unless he can prove the guy had a pile of bricks at hand…”

      So, you’re claiming that Rittenhouse had a duty to let himself be beaten by a mob because they might have stopped?Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Oscar Gordon
      Ignored
      says:

      Why give so much more benefit of the doubt to the guy who just threw a brick than to the guy who just had a brick thrown at him? Throwing a brick at someone strongly suggests intent to cause serious bodily harm. I don’t think the responsibility to determine how much of a threat remains should fall to the intended victim, especially at night with limited visibility.

      I am 100% okay with living in a world where throwing a brick at someone can get you shot. Honestly, I think the risk of getting shot by your intended victim while committing a crime is not nearly high enough.

      This is purely hypothetical, of course, since I don’t know the details of this particular case.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Brandon Berg
        Ignored
        says:

        Again, it’s how the law works. And that assumes it was a brick. If it was a bag of poo…

        The video is not very clear what was thrown.

        But that’s the thing about how self defense claims work, you have to show you had a reasonable fear. That’s the argument his lawyer has to make in court, and it’s the argument the jury has to accept. If the jury buys the initial self defense claim, then the rest follows.Report

        • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Oscar Gordon
          Ignored
          says:

          I take your point and I have no legal idea of how this would fit… but how does either side account for the group dynamic? Agitated Crowd/Mob/Riot… the prosecution will want to keep the facts narrow, like a single thrown object, a single assailant. The defense will look to broaden the context… Mob, multiple assailants, the absence of order, the argument will be that he was beset on many sides and the first incident is just that, the first of many threats.

          As I say, I have no idea how the law would treat that situation, but I have some notions of how a jury might.

          I’d bet that the kid will be found guilty of something and do some time, but I’m not sure I’d bet on murder charges. Mind you, I’m not rooting for one outcome or another… and, in fact, we may find that we don’t really have laws that cover the kind of action we’d rather make illegal with regards crowds/unrest/escalation … but that goes back to the narrow focus of making a case based on the only law you have. I don’t know.Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Marchmaine
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            says:

            Agreed, he’ll be guilty of something. Probably a plea deal.

            The mob thing is a tough nut. How much culpability do we assign to a guy who faces down a mob with only a rifle?Report

            • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Oscar Gordon
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              says:

              Are there not laws that cover Riots/States of Emergency? Like 3rd man in rules for hockey (and such)…? Hard to believe there aren’t. Those are the sorts of things that I’d expect to be charges 7 – 12 … the ones he’d be found guilty of… with 1-5 being up-for-grabs.

              If there aren’t laws that cover the ‘transition’ from Protest to Riot, I’d expect to seem them forthcoming… perhaps with expanded Castle Doctrine protections too.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Marchmaine
                Ignored
                says:

                I honestly don’t know. My intuition would be that if there is, it would cover situations closer to the McCloskeys, and less for people who head towards the protests/riots.

                I can imagine poorly crafted SYG laws for protests/riots being a potential for gun fights between groups.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                Sure, the legislative intent would likely have trade-off’s to the extent that de-escalating the riot (once declared) is paramount, but once a riot is declared, then expanded Castle laws go into effect… not, I would note, expanded SYG laws… it would be tied to location and reason to be there. Absent those… then you’re just armed at a riot. I think there’s a still a legitimate distinction to be kept between Authority and deputized Authority which 3rd parties to Riots do *not* get.

                Regarding the McCloskeys, standard laws apply as they are not the ones who can declare a Riot (unless it operates like Michael Scott Bankruptcy laws – which, for the record – I’d be against)… so (potentially) trespassing protesters is still the rule under which they would be operating.

                I’m honestly surprised that there aren’t laws like this already?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Marchmaine
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                says:

                How would such a law work in Rittenhouse’s favor?

                Isn’t the basic premise of the law intended to create an incentive for de-escalation, and punish incitement?

                If we had laws meant to cover riots, wouldn’t the first law be “Don’t run into a riot with a gun you fecking idiot”Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Yes… it doesn’t impact the question of murder/self-defense… it simply becomes a chargeable offense for being at a riot with a gun (or whatever parameters one puts around it).

                Like I said above, those are the sorts of things we usually ignore when a person is charged with murder and 34 other things. I’m surprised it’s nearly murder or nothing.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Marchmaine
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                says:

                This is what I’m getting at below: being really fucking stupid and running into a riot with a gun because you want to “help” isn’t illegal but is there a reasonable way to make it so? The idea of declaring an area a “riot zone” with different rules has a certain logic, but also seems rife for abuse. I mean, imagine Trump with such power? He’d declare the DNC a riot zone and send in the Marines.

                I’m not sure how to square that circle but escalating an already dangerous situation should be prosecutable.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Kazzy
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                says:

                Yes, I think you raised good points below.

                That’s really the thing though… if its impossible to protest depending upon who holds the levers of power… then the great experiment in the Grand Truce might be coming to an end.

                Personally *I* don’t think its impossible to exercise legitimate authority in defense of order – so that protester’s grievances might be redressed according to the laws of the land… which is why I’m surprised we can’t discourage Rittenhouse, Trump Caravan, ‘outside Agitators’ from, well, agitating and detracting from Peaceful Protests.

                If we don’t believe that? Well, we’re no longer protesting but doing something different.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                “Isn’t the basic premise of the law intended to create an incentive for de-escalation, and punish incitement?”

                Would running after some guy and throwing things at him count as de-escalation, or as incitement?Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to DensityDuck
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                says:

                In the phrasing you reference, that’s a matter of the State and legitimate authority… not a phrase pertaining to individuals.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to DensityDuck
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                says:

                Is the guy running sincerely believing that he is chasing a fleeing murderer? And like a good citizen, he tries to disarm the killer before he can kill again?

                Notice how this question turns on what people believed, and how reasonable that belief is.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Chip, then we agree: VIGILANTISM IS GOOD.

                We’re now just haggling over who is the vigilante and who is the person creating mayhem that needs to be stopped.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                We would agree, if we both held to the simplistic Wild West interpretation I mentioned elsewhere.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                You’re the one talking about the guy sincerely believing that he is chasing a fleeing murderer being justified in trying to disarm a killer before he can kill again.

                Hey, if he knows that he can’t trust the police, he’s practically OBLIGED to do that!

                Do you believe that the guy chasing a fleeing murderer can trust the police?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                I’m also the one noting how the law has all sorts of requirements and prerequisites about how one must behave in order to enjoy a self defense claim.

                And I’m noting how the subtle facts of the case can radically alter the claim.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                I’m also the one noting how the law has all sorts of requirements and prerequisites about how one must behave in order to enjoy a self defense claim.

                This reminds me of Trump saying “no one knew that X” when he learns something everyone else already knew.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                “Is the guy running sincerely believing that he is chasing a fleeing murderer? And like a good citizen, he tries to disarm the killer before he can kill again?”

                Chip, old son, there is no “but that guy was a murderer” exception to a duty to retreat.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to DensityDuck
                Ignored
                says:

                My point was that there is no “I committed a murder, and shot the guys pursuing me in self defense” claim.

                And point out again, that all the claims involve some jury deciding whose belief is “reasonable”.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                My point was that there is no “I committed a murder, and shot the guys pursuing me in self defense” claim.

                Why wouldn’t there be? You’re talking about two distinct events that would require two different applications of the law, right?Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Actually there is. A murderer still has the right of self-defense, although as you might expect, it’s more restricted. For example, if you manage to subdue a guy who just shot a convenient store clerk, you’re not allowed to summarily execute him. The murderer still retains some rights, such as the right to a fair trial. He can defend himself against someone trying to violate those rights. What might confuse people is that while he’s actively making himself a threat, other’s can ignore those rights and just take him out. This can, in practice, get a bit murky. But it does come up pretty often in court, such that there’s plenty of case law on it.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner
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                says:

                So if somebody throws a plastic bottle of Gatorade at me, I’m not allowed to just execute him?Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Someone at a riot is throwing something at you, is it a) a brick b) a bag of poop c) a grenade or d) a frozen bottle of Gatorade.

                Quick, read the label!Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Marchmaine
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                says:

                Having researched this recently re: covid state of emergency laws are usually crafted to authorize certain state responses, usually via the governor’s office or other state administrative agencies. I’ve never heard of anything that would suspend or change the applicability of general criminal laws based on a state of unrest. From a pure public policy perspective I think you want the opposite, and anything that looks like a ‘get out of jail free’ card would incentivize all of the wrong things.

                Em I believe has way more criminal experience than me so would defer to her expertise but I believe this entire situation epitomizes ‘question for the jury.’ It will be up to them to take the circumstances into account and the reasonableness of Rittenhouse’s actions and beliefs in light of them.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to InMD
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                says:

                I don’t see how I’m suggesting a get out of jail free scenario… I’m suggesting the opposite… that once a competent authority declares the state change… then one has fewer get out of jail cards.

                I mean, I’m trained and certified to carry a hand-gun… but not at a restaurant if I’m going to drink wine with dinner. So I could carry a gun at a peaceful protest, but once it’s declared to be not a peaceful protest, I have an obligation to exit the situation.

                If you are at a no-longer-peaceful protest and armed, you are subject to appropriate charges (and hopefully appropriate penalties).

                Possibly I’m using Castle doctrine wrong as I’m imagining it means Castle not SYG… but if that’s the case, consider it so modified.

                Could easily shift the question to when the State can/should declare states of emergency… but that’s a good fight to have… and likely worth protesting excessive states of emergency.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Marchmaine
                Ignored
                says:

                Castle Doctrine under common law only applies in the home (some states have expanded to include your business and your vehicle). What it does is relieves a person of a duty to retreat but it isn’t applicable in a public street and it doesn’t allow unreasonable use of force.

                I get what you’re saying now on the rest but:

                1. Try writing that statute in a way narrowly tailored to the outcomes you want, then

                2. Try re-writing it in a way that isn’t subject to hosts of constitutional challenges.

                I think the only realistic way to get there are the kinds of general laws prohibiting carrying in public except in very specific circumstances (i.e. hunting, to and from the range). You know, the kinds of commy gun laws we have this side of the Potomac. 🙂Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to InMD
                Ignored
                says:

                some states have expanded to include your business and your vehicle

                Ah, here’s where it is. You’re standing in front of your tobacco shoppe with an AR-15 and a group of people who are upset at police violence come up and want to burn your tobacco shoppe down.

                What are your rights?
                What are their rights?

                Where does your nose begin?Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Not sure what Wisconsin law provides for in that scenario.

                I can say my personal opinion on the subject would be quite different where the owner of a business uses lethal force to prevent destruction of said business. Absent something really out there my vote to acquit could probably be taken for granted.

                Some random dude showing up from out of state, armed to defend some strangers property, in a situation well out of control? Totally different to me. But again, personal opinion, not legal analysis.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to InMD
                Ignored
                says:

                “Try re-writing it in a way that isn’t subject to hosts of constitutional challenges.”

                No you. 🙂

                I guess I’m surprised that we think its difficult… too much James Dean, not enough Augustine, I guess.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Marchmaine
                Ignored
                says:

                When thinking of Castle Doctrine, think of retreating to your castle. Once you are in your castle, anyone who comes in uninvited can be assumed hostile. The castle is the final redoubt.

                So in the case of a riot, if you are in your home (or in a home you’ve been invited to), Castle Doctrine still applies. Ergo, if Rittenhouse had been invited into the business he was defending, and someone breached the perimeter of the building, Castle Doctrine holds.

                SYG applies to being in some place you have a right to be, and not having a duty to retreat (obstensibly because there is no where to retreat to). I could see a declaration of a riot being grounds to suspend SYG. It’s a riot, no one has a right to be there anymore.

                At the very least, Rittenhouse is guilty of being armed and stupid at a riot. Whether he is guilty of more is going to be up to the jury. I truly can’t form an opinion one way or the other.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                Right… that’s the trade-off during a riot… everyone has a duty to retreat from public spaces (especially if armed), and Castle Doctrine is in play (if it’s not already).

                As it pertains to Rittenhouse, I’m just surprised there doesn’t seem to be those sorts of laws that would form the baseline of the charges.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Marchmaine
                Ignored
                says:

                “If you disobey a legitimately authorized curfew by doing X, Y and Z, all other protections and privileges normally accorded by law may be suspended or otherwise inapplicable” or some such etc yada yada. ??Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Well that sounds like Martial Law… did Wisconsin declare Martial Law too?

                I’m not sure why we go from prudential laws/practices to de-escalate and preserve order to Police State.

                Unless, we can no longer conceive of any situation where the state can allow protest but prevent riots… in which case, we’re closer to defection than even I had thought… and I’m one of the annoying folks saying: Divorce or War (or Empire).Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Marchmaine
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                says:

                I hate to be a lawyer about it but this is where you get into ‘what is a riot?’ Now there are statutes that define rioting in (mostly) unsatisfying ways, not unlike disturbing the peace or other constitutional but somewhat tough to pin down crimes.

                Our answer to that question is the jury of peers with instruction from a judge.* Also kind of unsatisfying but probably better than some council of landowners or clergymen and no more grounds for divorce/war/empire than anything else.

                *Or in practice, a plea bargain.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to InMD
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                says:

                Interesting question… what are the guidelines for declaring a “State of Emergency”

                Wouldn’t we legislate accordingly? Governors, Mayors are legal entities entrusted with actual powers that they have to exercise both legally and prudentially.

                I’m honestly surprised there aren’t already statutes that define riots that Mayors, Governors can’t invoke?

                Am I the only person in America who’s ever read any Political Theory… holy shit Lawyers, what have y’all been doing? Fewer regulatory tort laws, more regime theory please.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Marchmaine
                Ignored
                says:

                There are states of emergency for natural disasters, pandemics, etc. The governor can call in the national guard to help restore order. I suppose you could write a law saying if x order is declared y criminal statute goes into effect. I’m just not sure what problem it solves here. And again, probably some big constitutional issues to wade through.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to InMD
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                says:

                I’m just not sure what problem it solves here.

                It would change the incentives under which people are currently operating, no? I mean, isn’t that the discussion we’re having (or am I mistaken)?

                Or think of it this way: we’re discussing the problems which people like Rittenhouse create during riots on the assumption that riots are *really bad*. But if government, and by extension the police, are prevented from doing anything pro-active to prevent the spread of the riots, then we’re about one step away from agreeing with Trumpers that armed vigilantes are the last best option to restore order.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                I guess I’d need to see the specific statute. There was a curfew already in effect when all of this happened, right? If so the police already had all the authority they needed to pick him up. There are plenty of laws on the books. And nevertheless there he was.

                I’m not saying there’s no possible legislative solution that could improve things. But I also think this incident has all of the hallmarks of highly unlikely events leading to statutes we don’t really need and come to regret. Bad facts, bad law and all that. Anyway I don’t see Rittenhouse as the threat to the social contract March does which almost certainly colors my views.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to InMD
                Ignored
                says:

                I have a comment being pre-suppressed by the OT Riot act.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Marchmaine
                Ignored
                says:

                Well that sounds like Martial Law… did Wisconsin declare Martial Law too?

                Not really. It could be narrowly written to only apply to self-defense claims in the case of lethal force. It could be written to include carrying firearms after curfew. Could exclude eating a sandwich. Etc etc.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Marchmaine
                Ignored
                says:

                Also this:

                Unless, we can no longer conceive of any situation where the state can allow protest but prevent riots.

                Seems perfectly possible (to me!) for government to specify locations where (constitutionally protected) peaceful protest can occur, but in all other locations the rigidly enforced curfew applies.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Sure, right out back behind the dumpsters – room for about 11; 14 if you stand just so.

                I think there’s always going to be tension between protesting and order… it can’t be proscribed out of existence, but it also has to maintain legitimacy within the law. Abuses abound on either side.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Marchmaine
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                says:

                Hmmm. I thought the discussion was about ways for police and government to effectively contain disorderly behavior short of allowing folks like Rittenhouse to bring guns to the party…Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                In part yes, but not at the expense of all else… at least not for me. Large Protests are somewhat disruptive no matter what… I think the idea is to figure out what to do if the protests go beyond protests… then what?

                The original context was noting that it’s odd that the only charges that can be brought are murder charges (plus a gun charge that won’t stick according to Em)… and this was on the second or third night of “unrest” … so not entirely spontaneous.

                Which means there’s no way to punish/discourage Trump Caravan folks who drive into protest/riot areas or third party factions (antifa or proudboys or whatever) which makes the whole “Mostly Peaceful” thing unmanageable and potentially getting worse in the future.

                Once the peace is broken, once the truce is gone… we’ve already delegated authority to the govt to maintain order.. but as I say at the start, not at all costs and not pre-emptively as to proscribe protests against the order itself.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Marchmaine
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                says:

                Well, again, I’m not sure why you think legislation suspending certain protections or privleges can’t be narrowly tailored, why it could only happen at the expense of all other rights and privileges.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                In that case, I’m not sure where the disagreement is… seems we’re just not really in synch with the questions posed and responses enjoined. Oh well.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Marchmaine
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                says:

                No, I didn’t think we were, until we were. I was merely following up on your initial suggestion upthread…Report

      • Avatar InMD in reply to Brandon Berg
        Ignored
        says:

        The guy who threw the brick isn’t getting a benefit of the doubt. He isn’t on trial. What’s at issue for self-defense is what Rittenhouse believed the threat was, whether that belief was reasonable, whether the use of deadly force was reasonable in light of those things, and potentially whether he had met whatever duty to retreat is in play.Report

    • Avatar Dave Ellett in reply to Oscar Gordon
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      says:

      A brick is a potentially lethal weapon because it is capable of inflicting extreme harm and even death.

      When a person throws an object at another person that is potentially lethal, the other person has the equal ability to respond with equal and even greater lethal force to prevent the assault or to prevent that same person from physically attacking him.

      It is fundamentally false that a victim must accurately deduce what is in a bag that is thrown at him. He must only show that he reasonably believed it to be something that endangered his life.

      In this case, Rosenbaum:
      1. threatened Kyle by being among a number of others chasing him and also while verbally threatening him;
      2. threw a bag at Kyle, which one can reasonably presume was with violent intent based on the context and therefore the bag likely contained something physically dangerous;
      3. lunged at Kyle – after:
      a) one of the persons chasing Kyle appears to have fired a shot in the parking lot just before contact
      b) Kyle tripped and was getting back up.
      c) Rosenbaum knew that Kyle had a weapon thereby knowingly put himself in imminent danger, and with no apparent just cause that has yet been revealed.

      If, I repeat, IF, these facts are true and facts to the contrary are not discovered, then two things are also true.
      1. Kyle acted in self-defense and
      2. Rosenbaum, himself, threatened Kyle’s safety in a manner in which a police officer would have been 100% justified in shooting him.

      The comparison is not 100% apples and apples, but the principle is.Report

      • Avatar George Turner in reply to Dave Ellett
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        says:

        My housemate, a retired public defender and former assistant prosecutor, noted that anybody who charges someone who is armed can be considered extremely dangerous and an extreme threat, since nobody who isn’t an extreme threat ever charges at someone who has or is using lethal force. This is pretty much a given in any trial.Report

        • Avatar Dave Ellett in reply to George Turner
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          says:

          Not only is that a given at any trial (I hope), at the very least, it is a given of common sense. If we charge someone with a gun without a very substantial reason, then we may not only get a bullet or two, but we may well deserve it.

          Some on the jury will always do exactly what they are told. But there will always be at least a few who think for themselves and who will never agree to convicting a person acting in reasonable self defense.Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dave Ellett
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        says:

        So, I am walking along the street in Portland when I see a bunch of guys in trucks flying Trump flags pointing what appear to be guns at me.

        Am I allowed to shoot them?Report

        • Avatar Dave Ellett in reply to Chip Daniels
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          says:

          If you they point their guns at you with an intent to shoot, absolutely. But if you fired first, you have to prove you didn’t attack them first or that you didn’t point your gun at them with intent to shoot first.

          That is assuming you are still alive. If not, then it’s their word against??? Witnesses?? forensic evidence?? etc

          As usual, it is about both facts and context.Report

          • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dave Ellett
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            says:

            Wait, how do I know their intent?

            And since Rittenhouse shot first, does he have to prove he didn’t point his gun first?Report

            • Avatar Dave Ellett in reply to Chip Daniels
              Ignored
              says:

              Exactly! How do you know their intent.

              Before anyone shoots anyone, they have to rationally judge intent.

              If we are not reasonably sure of someone’s intent to shoot us, based on the context in which the incident happens, then we are not justified in shooting.

              As for Kyle, pointing his gun is not relevant for the reasons stated above.

              The facts that are out in public “appear” to clearly show a mob unlawfully threatening Kyle and forcing him into a situation where he must decide whether or not to use his weapon, and in which his choice to shoot his attackers in self-defense “appears” justified in both instances. Of course, that can only be a tentative judgement as we must assume that do not know all the facts.

              On the other hand, the fact that Kyle has been charged as he has and without publicizing more facts or reasoning to support the charges suggests that there are no other significant facts as of yet.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Dave Ellett
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        says:

        Just to remind everyone, Self defense is an AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE. The DA is not obligated to decline indicting a person who claims self defense. The statutes regarding self defense help to establish what constitutes a defense claim, but even if a given case was clear cut, the DA can (TTBOMK) still indict as long as he can make an argument as to why the statutes don’t apply.

        So the only opinions of the facts of the case are those of the jury who hear them.Report

        • Avatar Dave Ellett in reply to Oscar Gordon
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          says:

          100% agree. Just common sense.

          When I get old and I accidentally walk into the wrong the house, I don’t think people inside the house have an automatic right to shoot me or even shove me without first considering if I am a threat.

          That said, many years ago I have walked into both a house and an apartment in separate incidents by accident while visiting friends. Not to mention several failed attempts thwarted by locked doors. Extremely embarrassing. But at least I wasn’t shot.

          Neither do I think it is okay to shoot burglars unless directly threatened by the burglar.

          Neither do I think it is okay to shoot anyone who does not directly threaten harm to me.

          I also think most would agree with me, although I could certainly be wrong.

          If I was the DA, every single case of self-defense shooting would be fully investigated and I would file charges against anyone for whom there was significant evidence that they fired without a necessity in self-defense.

          That said, the charges against Kyle are clearly rash and appear to be without merit at this point – based on the evidence in public so far. They would have to have substantial contradictory evidence to charge as they have.

          Whatever the preponderance of evidence shows, that is what the charges should reflect.Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Dave Ellett
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            says:

            If I was the DA, I would put it to a jury. Even if the kid has a valid claim, last thing I want to do is send a message that the public should be showing up to riots with guns and making my life more difficult.Report

            • Avatar Dave Ellett in reply to Oscar Gordon
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              says:

              I think I get what you mean and it is definitely a valid concern.

              The problem is that we really do not know all the details yet. It is wholly premature to judge that Kyle made things more difficult for law enforcement. It is equally, if not much more, arguable that those who showed up to help guard businesses not only assisted law enforcement, but citizens as well.

              It also sends a very powerful message to violent rioters and such that the citizens do not agree with them and will not stand idly by and allow it. The power of our government is derived from it’s citizens. Citizens are not deprived of acting on their own and nor should they be, although serious caution is due.

              When yo think about it, it is very unethical to prosecute anyone just to send a message. In effect “using” them for our own ends. If Kyle was justified in self-defense, then prosecuting him sends an opposite message contrary to justice and the people’s will.

              There is still the issue as to whether Kyle was legally carrying the gun. Apparently, the law is not quite clear for those underage. The synopsis that I read makes me concerned for Kyle.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Dave Ellett
                Ignored
                says:

                Every prosecution is a message to the public. 5his one is 2 messages:

                1) Don’t come to a riot armed, and if you do, stay inside or on the rooftop.

                2) The DA is not going to give rioters anymore grist for the outrage mill by declining to prosecute a marginal self defense case. Last thing you need when people are pissed at the police and the government that claims to control them is to let a kid who the police were on video being buddy buddy with, slide after the kid shot 3 people and killed two.Report

  2. Avatar DensityDuck
    Ignored
    says:

    Based on this analysis, I’d bet they’ll get him for Second-Degree Intentional Homicide, he’ll be sentenced to thirty years and serve ten. The prosecution’s case will turn on the definition of “unreasonable”, and they’ll try (with, to my mind, a good likelihood of success) to show that while Rittenhouse’s fear was reasonable, his response of preemptively shooting people was not, that he could have fired warning shots into the ground or over the crowd’s head and then fled. The defense will claim that Rosenbaum initiated the conflict and continued it after the first shot was fired, that Huber struck first and attempted to take the rifle, and that Grosskreutz was clearly armed, and that in all cases Rittenhouse’s belief that lethal force was warranted was reasonable; which, a jury motivated to Rule A Certain Way On Account Of This Dude Needs To Be Punished could certainly disagree with that.Report

    • Avatar Michele Kerr in reply to DensityDuck
      Ignored
      says:

      You’re kidding, right? Good lord. That’s hilarious.Report

    • Avatar David Ellett in reply to DensityDuck
      Ignored
      says:

      Since when do we read the facts and then vote in the opposite of the facts?

      It would have to be a very progressive jury to convict Kyle based on what we know so far and which would very likely be overturned on appeal.

      I have to say though, this judgement is based on the facts. I would never wholly trust either a judge or a jury to stick to the facts in this age of political and judicial insanity. Just the fact that they have charged him as they have indicates a very serious political bias which they clearly believe they have a chance of getting away with. Not that they would care if they lost, if they won a political battle at both Kyl’s and Lady Justice’s expense.Report

  3. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    First things first: Are they going to go for a change of venue?

    One of the first things I wondered when I first heard about this shooting was whether Kenosha was a college town. Remember “Gibson Bros. Inc. v. Oberlin College”? Now, Rittenhouse is not a person from Kenosha so this doesn’t map perfectly to that case, but that case exposed the “Towns vs. Gowns” dynamic that exists in a handful of places.

    How are jury members from the region likely to see the victim of Rittenhouse? (I mean, even without the victims’ past criminal history being admissible? If they are admissible as part of Rittenhouse’s affirmative defense, counts five and six are the only ones with a snowball’s chance of a guilty verdict.)

    So the first thing the prosecution has to go for is a change of venue. I mean, if the prosecution *WANTS* a guilty verdict on the first four charges.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      Good point, we have a FIB coming in and making a hash of things in WI. That narrative plays better the further north you go, but maybe it’ll play near the border.Report

    • Avatar Em Carpenter in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      How do you figure a conviction on 6? Serious question.
      I think Rosenbaum’s history is not going to be admissible because Rittenhouse was unaware of it so it played no part in whether he was reasonably acting in self-defense.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Em Carpenter
        Ignored
        says:

        “We gotta find him guilty of something… or else those people will burn our town down again.”

        I think that if the defense runs with some variant of “Rosenbaum is not on trial, he was already tried and found guilty of X, Y, and Z. Rittenhouse is on trial and the prosecution’s argument is that Rittenhouse could not have known that Rosenbaum was not a threat that merited vigorous self-defense when you and I know, right now, that he was”, the defense will get nods.

        Maybe another reason to change venue.Report

        • Avatar Em Carpenter in reply to Jaybird
          Ignored
          says:

          In my opinion, that charge will be dismissed by the court and never make it to a jury. The undisputed facts show he’s not guilty of that. It was a rifle he was legally allowed to carry under Wisconsin law.
          I also don’t think the defense will be allowed to mention any of that.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Em Carpenter
            Ignored
            says:

            Well, if it’s dismissed by the court beforehand, we really only have to deal with #5, unless there’s a change of venue.

            Because I don’t know that the average Kenoshan who receives summonseses will necessarily have the necessary distance from the mostly peaceful protest to be unbiased against Rittenhouse enough to find him guilty of the first four.Report

          • Avatar Philip H in reply to Em Carpenter
            Ignored
            says:

            Except the Open Carry Statute – which I don’t think he’s yet charged under -says he’s not allowed to carry – unless that what you have cited then my very pro-2A in laws are not well versed in the laws that regulate them.Report

            • Avatar Em Carpenter in reply to Philip H
              Ignored
              says:

              I have searched high and low for a Wisconsin “open carry statute”. Please direct me and I’ll revise my post.
              The statute I cited is the only thing I found that is on point. And it’s the statute everyone points to when claiming it was illegal for him to carry. They’re wrong, and so are your 2A friends, unless there is some secret hidden statute unavailable on the Wisconsin state legislature site. Report

  4. Avatar Kazzy
    Ignored
    says:

    Does it matter if the victims involved in the second round of shooting were aware of what happened prior?

    If the folks who pursued him into the street only know him as “guy shooting a gun” and not “guy possibly acting in self-defense”… does that matter? If it does, that seems important.

    In one scenario, we have folks attempting to quell a threat and presumably positions THEM as the ones acting in self-defense.

    In the other, it could reasonably be argued that it was one continuous event during which Rittenhouse may have a consistent claim to self-defense.

    Like, if I walked out of my house after hearing gunfire and saw a guy running with a gun through my neighborhood, it seems perverse if my attempt to stop that guy allowed him to claim self-defense against me.

    However, if I saw someone throw a brick at him, saw him shoot and run, my involvement is very different at that point.

    FWIW, it seems like it should be easy to determine what was thrown at him. I mean, the cops surely responded immediately to the gunfire and secured a crime scene and collected evidence. Right? They did that? Right???

    The video I’ve seem seems pretty obviously to show a plastic bag. Unless the rules of gravity, physics, and aerodynamics are different in Wisconsin.Report

    • Avatar Em Carpenter in reply to Kazzy
      Ignored
      says:

      The second two victims’ perspective matters when it comes to this part:
      “A person who engages in unlawful conduct of a type likely to provoke others to attack him or her and thereby does provoke an attack is not entitled to claim the privilege of self-defense against such attack…”
      There are other caveats in the full quote in the piece. It’s not so much what those victims thought that matters as what Rittenhouse had done prior, kwim?
      They could have had a reasonable belief that they were stopping a threat, while at the same time he could believe that he was in danger and had to defend his life. If Rittenhouse knew what he had done prior was wrong, then his self-defense argument gets murky but not completely wiped out. He’s still allowed to save his own life but has less leeway for using deadly force to do so.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Em Carpenter
        Ignored
        says:

        Thanks! That is what I was trying to parse out.

        I assume he is being tried as an adult. Does age matter at all? Like, can the defense portray him as a scared kid for whom it was more reasonable to fear the crowd? Or is reasonability a consistent(ish) standard?

        My layman’s take is that the charges seem aggressive, unless they inherently contain lesser included charges.

        My hunch is that Rittenhouse didn’t have much intent. I think he showed up wanting to play cop and assumed if he crewed up with the right peeps (either other wannabe cops or actual cops), he could “help” without doing much beyond standing around with his gun. As the situation got hairier, his decision making got worse and things just escalated. Which is precisely why it is really fucking dumb for a 17-year-old to wander into a chaotic, heated situation with a gun thinking he can “help”. Is being “really fucking dumb” a crime? Not inherently. But acting really fucking dumb can be. The question is, when did he transition from being dumb to acting dumb and what might have precipitated that?

        I don’t know the law but seems like there should be some charges related to recklessness that he’d be guilty of for contributing to the situation. It seems like the law is only really focused on his actions once he put his finger on the trigger and maybe the moments immediately before. But there is a much bigger context here, though it seems like none of that is or can be pursued.

        And, yes, I’d apply this same law to folks on the other side. If two people are standing nose-to-nose, one with a gun and another with a brick, yelling “Fish you!!!” with increased animosity, I’d hold them both liable for whatever happened next and (without thinking through all the unintended consequences) would like there to be a way for the police to SMARTLY intervene before all hell breaks lose.

        Like, you guys are being really fucking dumb and putting people at risk… even if that risk hasn’t been realized yet. To jail with both of you.Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Kazzy
      Ignored
      says:

      I think you touch on the most important part of this entire story, which is that the participants themselves didn’t know who was attacking and who was defending, and we will never really know either.Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to Kazzy
      Ignored
      says:

      In one scenario, we have folks attempting to quell a threat and presumably positions THEM as the ones acting in self-defense.

      Generally, “pursuers” are never acting in self defense, since if they wanted to be safe they just stop running after the danger. Regardless of what happened in the first conflict, once Rittenhouse fled, he had retreated and disengaged. That resets things so that what comes afterwards is looked on as a new conflict.

      Limited pursuit is generally allowed to recover stolen property (a woman or bystanders running after someone who stole her purse), and to subdue a madman who seems to be intent on causing more harm, such as a deranged school shooter heading for a playground.

      In this case, video shows that the pursuers had absolutely no fear of Rittenhouse, and intended to “get him.” In the second incident, legally, they are the aggressors and Rittenhouse is the intended victim.Report

    • Avatar Michele Kerr in reply to Kazzy
      Ignored
      says:

      ” it seems perverse if my attempt to stop that guy allowed him to claim self-defense against me.”

      Why?

      For one thing, if I saw a guy running with a gun, I’d call the cops. Now, I grant you there was rioting all around, but that works both ways.

      The question would be whose belief is more reasonable? Someone who has already been attacked once and is running from a mob, or someone who walked outside her house, saw a guy running with a gun, and started running after him for no reason other than “He’s got a gun and I want to stop him?”

      The whole thing is crazy town, but I’m on the jury, I’m saying second lady who randomly chases some guy with a gun with the intent to hurt him is the wrong un.Report

  5. Avatar Chip Daniels
    Ignored
    says:

    What is interesting to me is how the law, as outlined by Em here is nuanced and accounting for the shifting dynamics of human interactions more than most laypeople realize.

    Most discussions of self defense assume a sort of Wild West scenario, where someone faces a threat and is therefore allowed to kill, case closed no further questions asked.

    But as Em points out, the law takes into account “reckless” behavior, takes account of “reasonable” behavior, and allows a jury to consider what the participants “reasonably believe”.

    Oscar linked to my earlier comment where I noted that a lot of people’s suggested norms for gunplay are so loose and arbitrary that any one of the people involved that night had a plausible reason to shoot any of the other participants.

    Which seems insane to me.Report

  6. Avatar Saul Degraw
    Ignored
    says:

    I don’t think Rittenhouse is helped by his choice of lawyer who seems to be more of a right-wing firebrand than a competent criminal defense attorney. He probably would have done better with a public defender.

    The whole situation was an avoidable tragedy whether the charges against Rittenhouse make sense or not. There is a lot of bad judgement and high emotion all around.Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to Damon
      Ignored
      says:

      The statement forecloses some of the prosecution arguments that might have hurt his defense. He was there because his employer asked him to help guard the business. That’s big, because Wisconsin law allows business owners and their employees to guard their property, and that is not a curfew violation. That he worked in Kenosha and was there defending his employers business also cuts off the argument that he was an outsider who’d arrived to cause trouble, as members of the press had claimed. Some media companies may end up paying Kyle millions over their “white supremacist right wing militia” stories.Report

      • Avatar Philip H in reply to George Turner
        Ignored
        says:

        He was a lifeguard in Kenosha – base don local coverage his appearance at the car dealer was in response to a facebook or other internet request for guards. Last I checked, thats not part of being a lifeguard.

        Later in the day, they received information about a call for help from a local business owner, whose downtown Kenosha auto dealership was largely destroyed by mob violence. The business owner needed help to protect what he had left of his life’s work, including two nearby mechanic’s shops. Kyle and a friend armed themselves with rifles due to the deadly violence gripping Kenosha and many other American cities, and headed to the business premises. The weapons were in Wisconsin and never crossed state lines.

        Report

        • Avatar George Turner in reply to Philip H
          Ignored
          says:

          He’s still covered. Basically, it means he’s there doing a job that a business owner asked him to do, just like all the Korean cousins on the rooftops in LA. Property owners can stick together for mutual defense, instead of getting picked off one-by-one.

          Really the only problem I see is that after the trial is over, half the jury is going to try and file adoption papers for him. Parent’s in Kenosha will be telling their sons “Be like Kyle!” The Army and Marine recruiters might get in a fist fight over him.Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to George Turner
            Ignored
            says:

            Pretty sure the recruiters will NOT be getting into a fight over him, even if he is acquitted of all charges.

            He displayed a fantastic amount of stupid. Remember that old saw about how you win 100% of the fights you don’t get into?Report

            • Avatar George Turner in reply to Oscar Gordon
              Ignored
              says:

              Sometimes you don’t get to pick the fight, the fight picks you. He kept his head throughout, and was calm as he ran toward the cops, chatting with the guy he’d later shoot, once the guy realized who Kyle was and started hollering “Get him! Get him!”Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to George Turner
                Ignored
                says:

                Nope, he picked the fight simply by being there with a gun.

                All the vets I know are shaking their head at this kid. I give him props for trigger discipline (he didn’t empty his mag into anyone’s back, after all), but that’s it.

                But no, he DID NOT keep his head. If he had, he never would have shot at the first guy. He saw something thrown at him that missed, and he heard a gun shot. If he’d kept his head, he’d have found cover and from there assessed the situation.

                But he didn’t, because he’s an untrained 17 year old playing adult games. Soldiers, despite what you see on TV, don’t just fire at people in the dark when they hear a gun shot. I remember joking about that* with the Marines I served with and after they chuckled at me, they put me right that doing so is all kinds of stupid.

                *The LCAC would often draw crowds of Somali locals when we’d land, and some of them would be toting AKs. Seeing as how the LCAC is unarmed, and all we had were M-16s, we’d get nervous about such things, and would talk to the Jarheads about what to do. To a man, the reply was, if you hear gun fire, get to cover first, then see if there is anything to shoot at.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                and he heard a gun shot

                This is where I could see the jury finding for him.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                “I heard a gun shot somewhere.
                So I turned around and shot somebody.”

                Sounds legit.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                You’re the person that I thought would be most onboard with this, Chip!

                “I heard that that guy shot someone!” is a lot less solid ground to stand on than “someone in the crowd 20 feet away shot a gun”.

                If you think that “I heard that a guy shot someone” is sufficient reason to chase someone down and try to take away their gun (as evidenced above), surely “someone 20 feet away who was chasing me fired a gun” is grounds to know that guns are now being fired in this altercation.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                You see a difference between trying to disarm or detain a person, and shooting a person?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                When you’re shooting at the person when trying to disarm/detain them, not particularly?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Who was shooting at Rittenhouse?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Rittenhouse was running away. Someone 20 feet away from him fired a gun. Someone behind him, as he was running away.

                Is this sufficient reason to think “oh, the person who fired that fired in the air?” or is it sufficient reason to think “shots are now being fired”?

                (Keep in mind your defense of chasing Rittenhouse based on what might have happened in the moments before we have video evidence.)Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                You’re literally just rephrasing what I said sarcastically, and proclaiming it legit.

                What reason did he have to think that the guy he shot was the one who fired the shot he heard, much less that the shots were being fired at him?

                Could he have just shot anybody at random at that point?

                Could anyone else have just shot Rittenhouse, using the same premise?

                Could anyone in that area have just shot anyone else in the area, based on “I heard shots”?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Could he have just shot anybody at random at that point?

                Not at all.

                Only people involved with attacking him directly.

                Could anyone else have just shot Rittenhouse, using the same premise?

                Is that not your argument?

                Could anyone in that area have just shot anyone else in the area, based on “I heard shots”?

                Absolutely not.

                Though I could see police detaining people with guns in their hands, if they were inclined.

                Police don’t have a duty to protect, though. The Supreme Court has established that.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                So if he shot a guy who had no gun, and obviously could not have fired the shots he heard, how does “I heard shots” exonerate him?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Chip, I must have missed your criticism of the guy who fired the first shot that we know happened.

                What was your criticism of him, again?

                (For the record, there’s “hearing shots” like, from a block away and there’s “hearing shots” like, from 20 feet away. Completely different experiences. There’s a reason firing ranges make you wear ear protection. It’s not just from your own guns. It’s from the guns that are, yes, 20 feet away.)Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Since when has this gun grabber leftist failed to criticize people shooting guns?
                Yes, whoever shot a gun that night is an ass and probably should be arrested.

                New, lets get back to the question.

                Why would “hearing shots” exonerate someone for just shooting an unarmed person?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Since when has this gun grabber leftist failed to criticize people shooting guns?

                Well, since, in this case, you’re pointing out that we don’t know why the mob is chasing Rittenhouse and using that as a justification to withhold judgment on what they were doing.

                Why would “hearing shots” exonerate someone for just shooting an unarmed person?

                Well, at this point, if I were the defense, I’d say “so-and-so was not unarmed, he was hitting my client with a skateboard. He was actively engaged in chasing and then beating my client. An unarmed man would have no weapon with which to assault my client. This man had a weapon. He was not unarmed.”Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                But why would “hearing shots” have any bearing whatsoever on this altercation?

                You keep repeating my original line, unsarcastically.

                “I heard shots. So I shot the guy hitting me with a skateboard.”Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                “I heard a gun fired 20 feet away from me. I knew then that I was in fear for my life. When someone started beating me when I was on the ground and unable to retreat, I know that I would be dead if I did not defend myself. Defend myself I did.”

                That’s using only facts that are not in dispute.

                How would you, as the prosecution, argue against this?

                You keep repeating my original line, unsarcastically.

                That’s the weird thing about facts that are not in dispute. You can point them out, over and over, unsarcastically.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                But the two events (gunshot and skateboard attack) have no logical connection.

                Kyle had no way of knowing who fired the shot, at whom, and for what reason.

                It could have been a police officer, a shopkeeper, or maybe just a loud firecracker.

                As Oscar has pointed out, a soldier using this logic would be disciplined.

                The reason I dwell on this point is to illustrate how the advocates of expansive gun rights have created an illogical set of premises leading to an absurd conclusion:

                1. All people should carry guns;
                2. Anyone who feels threatened should be allowed to shoot;
                3. Hearing a gunshot justifies a threat;

                The end result is a self-induced hysteria of fear and shooting where a single gunshot escalates a tense situation into a free-fire zone.

                Instead of incentives to de-escalate, the incentives are to escalate. It rewards maximalist postures and discourages disengagement.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                It was 20 feet away, behind him, from the middle of the crowd chasing him.

                Do we have footage of whether the guy yelled “stop, police!” before shooting or can we assume that the shot was made without any announcement whatsoever?

                1. All people should carry guns;

                This is not the premise. But that’s okay. (It’s more that the police shouldn’t be the only ones allowed to carry. You know the guy who fired the first shot? Presumptively, I’d say that he should have been allowed to carry. I’d also say that he seems to have engaged in acts that might limit his right to carry… would you?)

                2. Anyone who feels threatened should be allowed to shoot

                No. But anyone who has a reasonable idea that their life is in danger is allowed to engage in self-defense.

                Like, this is an idea that goes back to pre-civilization.

                3. Hearing a gunshot justifies a threat

                Not at all. I went to the shooting range last year and I heard literally hundreds of gunshots without feeling threatened for a moment. (Well, threatened with hearing loss, maybe.)

                Go for a situation where you restate my beliefs and get me to say “you’re just saying what I’m saying but sarcastically” rather than “no, that’s not it”.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                So now you say that just hearing a gunshot doesn’t justify a threat?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                No. Just hearing a gunshot does not justify a threat.

                However, if you are being chased by a mob and you hear a gunshot coming from the mob, then, yes, that does justify a threat.

                Do you see the difference between the two situations as I’ve described them above?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                So hearing a gunshot coming from a mob justifies shooting…who exactly?
                Anyone at random?

                Or just the guy hitting you with a skateboard?

                If its the guy with a skateboard, what logic ties the gunshot to the skateboard?
                Absent the gunshot would he be justified in shooting the skateboard guy anyway?

                It just seems like you are trying to use the gunshot as an amplifier to explain Kyle’s fear and justify the shoot.

                Which I would accept. As a logical reason why guns are a really bad idea, because they turn a mild scuffle into a life threatening event.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                It justifies thinking “holy cow, my life is in danger” to a degree that merely running from a mob does not do.

                It changes the tenor of the being beaten by a skateboard.

                If its the guy with a skateboard, what logic ties the gunshot to the skateboard?

                “I am in fear for my life, I am unable to retreat further, and now someone is trying to do bodily harm to me.”

                Which I would accept. As a logical reason why guns are a really bad idea, because they turn a mild scuffle into a life threatening event.

                Sure. I agree that they’re a really bad idea.

                Riots in which property is destroyed are a really bad idea.

                Hitting someone with a skateboard is a really bad idea.

                The whole story is chock-a-block full of really bad ideas.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                I worked with a manager who used to get small NVA units to chase him into ambushes, and he said the trick was acting, acting, acting. ^_^ What you don’t do is take cover and assess the situation too early, because you’ll be immediately overrun and shot from all sides. You have to have the trap already set up.

                Kyle had nobody guarding his flanks, no place to get in a good defensible position from all sides, and he didn’t want to end up having to shoot a whole bunch of people. He was trying to disengage, not force an engagement.

                Had he dug in at some random spot, he wouldn’t have been able to show that he was trying to de-escalate/ disengage. Instead, he’d have been trying to set up in a tactical position so he could kill lots of people like some crazed sniper, because the people pursuing him were obviously not being deterred by the mere presence of a rifle.

                Kyle was well beyond some measured engagement at fifty or a hundred yards. He was lucky he still had any avenue of escape. He stuck with an ancient battle technique for one against many engagements that was repeated in one of the medieval fight manuals.

                When badly outnumbered, you run. The mob will pursue. The mob will string itself out into a disorganized pursuit line based on initial position and individual speed. Periodically, you turn around an kill the lead pursuer or two, which causes the rest to slow, with some stopping to render aid to the previous race leaders. Repeat as necessary. In almost all cases, after several are dead, the rest will find reason to slow down and go find something else to do.

                And that is exactly what happened. Kyle was engaged by perhaps twenty to thirty opponents, many armed with pistols and assault rifles, battling them point blank and getting hit in hand-to-hand combat. Kyle then waved to the cops, got in his mom’s car, drove home, ate some cookies, and called the police.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to George Turner
                Ignored
                says:

                Ah a sneak preview of The Expendables 4.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to George Turner
                Ignored
                says:

                Which is it George, was he brilliantly setting up an ambush, or retreating under fire?

                Oh, wait, he wasn’t under fire, because even though he just shot someone, all those other people with guns did not return fire.

                Funny that.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                The one he shot in the arm at 5 feet was about to execute him, and that guy says his only regret was not managing to kill the kid.

                Kyle was retreating through the enemy. That can always be quite chaotic. Why did he find himself in that situation? Because when he started, they weren’t the “enemy”, they were just protesters and fellow kids whose wounds he was treating.

                Perhaps the nearest situation our troops have been to that recently was when a bunch of Afghan or Iraqi soldiers on “our” side suddenly decide to fight for the other team.

                His assumption that the protesters weren’t deranged and violent criminals was badly mistaken.Report

  7. Avatar Aaron David
    Ignored
    says:

    Great write up EM.

    After reading what you wrote, and some very interesting comments, I have a feeling that unless something rather shocking comes out (like he knew the first person shot, something along those lines) it will all hinge on how the jury members feel about the riots when it comes to trial. Because I can see how 1) coming from out of state 2) being underage 3) not knowing what was being thrown at him 4) legally able to carry a rifle and willing to help prevent looting, can all play both ways.

    Most of the commentary on this that I have seen falls (sadly) along partisan lines. It is rather nice to get a good breakdown of the charges and facts that are known.Report

  8. Avatar Michael Cain
    Ignored
    says:

    Thorough and clear. I admit that I’m much more interested in the various civil lawsuits that will come out of this. Assume one of the results from those is the city being liable because the police didn’t stop Rittenhouse when they had a chance to before any of these events occurred. I wonder if the police would have behaved the same way if Wisconsin had a law like Colorado’s new one that makes the officers responsible for a portion of such a settlement. (IIRC, the amount an officer would owe on a $10M settlement would be quite painful, but probably not life-ruining.)Report

  9. Avatar Swami
    Ignored
    says:

    Six degrees of separation…

    I just found out my son-in-law is related to Blake’s wife.Report

  10. Avatar Mike Schilling
    Ignored
    says:

    Why does he have to be named Rittenhouse? I keep thinking of him as Margaret Dumont’s son.Report

  11. Avatar Chip Daniels
    Ignored
    says:

    You know what would be a good thought experiment, if we re-read all the comments on the Rittenhouse shooting, and imagine they are talking about the Portland shooting of the Patriot Prayer guy.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
      Ignored
      says:

      Sure. The police have no suspects.

      Do we want to get into the background of the guy who was shot or nah?Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        What difference would that make, in us deciding if it was a justified shooting or no?

        Someone was waving a gun around, someone felt afraid, and someone shot.

        “No Way To Prevent This, Says Only Country Where It Regularly Happens”Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
          Ignored
          says:

          Okay, fair enough.

          You say that the guy was “waving the gun around”, is that something that there is evidence for?Report

          • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            Yes, we have video of the Trumpists actually aiming guns at protesters and attacking them with paintball guns and mace.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
              Ignored
              says:

              The video I saw of that seems to have happened in daylight and the shooting, as I understand it, took place after sunset.

              Is the position that we can assume that anyone associated with the group earlier in the day is a threat that can be shot for acting threatening?

              Is this one of those things that only when the two events are really close together that we have to ask “what do these two events have to do with each other?”Report

      • Avatar George Turner in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        Everybody knows who the Portland shooter is. Even his sister fingered him. He’s of course been arrested numerous times for the usual things like physically assaulting police, but the Portland DA refuses to charge people for things like that, or things like throwing explosives at police. One of the other people the DA waved away just murdered two people. The DA will likely face jail for all that, once either the state AG or the Feds build the case, but that takes time. His actions are similar to having a DA who is in bed with the mafia or a drug cartel, and the result will be much the same.

        As for the fact, there’s no comparison between the two cases. One has a very strong case of self defense, and the other has a vastly weaker case than the cops who shot Tamir Rice, if there’s even any self-defense case at all. The Portland shooting was straight up targeted murder.Report

  12. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    Good news! If you want to know more about what the Portland Shooter has to say, you can enjoy this interview with him here:

    You know what would be a good thought experiment?

    If we read all the comments on the Portland shooting, and imagine they are talking about the Rittenhouse incident in Kenosha.Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      He’ll be spending the rest of his life in prison. By his logic, knowing that sometimes a black person kills a white person, it would be “self-defense” to run around killing random black people before they go out and shoot a white person, one who could perhaps be “one of my non-pigmented friends.” That’s not how it works.

      The other day Oregon State Police were cross-deputized as Federal Marshals, since the state and local prosecutors refuse to charge anyone and the state judges refuse to hold anyone. So anyone assaulting one of the State Police, as they do night after night, will be looking at up to eight years in federal prison, (18 USC § 111) unless they use a dangerous weapon, in which case they face up to twenty years. They’ll probably be shocked to discover that the federal prosecutors and judges aren’t elected by the large pool of Marxist morons in that state.Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      Boy was I wrong about life in prison. A federal task force found him and killed him.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      Indeed.

      You have Biden denouncing all violence.
      You have Trump wishing the Portland victim RIP. Did he wish that for the Kenosha victims?
      You have many liberals/leftish folks here recognizing the complexity of the Kenosha situation.
      Where are the right-ish folks discussing the complexity of Portland?

      Oh… and Rittenhouse exited the scene with his gun, walking by dozens of police officers.
      The Portland shooter was killed by authorities.

      Yes, indeed… an interesting thought experiment.

      Curious which if any videos you’ve watched connected to the two events.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Kazzy
        Ignored
        says:

        “Curious which if any videos you’ve watched connected to the two events.”

        lolReport

        • Avatar Kazzy in reply to DensityDuck
          Ignored
          says:

          That comment doesn’t say what you seem to think it says.

          Dark Matter asked: “Has he made any kind of statement on what he thought he was doing?”

          And I pointed him towards statements he made about what he thought he was doing, acknowledging I hadn’t watched the videos myself. I offered no commentary on what was said in the statements, only helped someone find what they were looking for.

          Try again.Report

          • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Kazzy
            Ignored
            says:

            you’re a big one for being mad at people about not watching videos

            and there you are, proudly declaring that you haven’t watched a videoReport

            • Avatar Kazzy in reply to DensityDuck
              Ignored
              says:

              It’s almost like two different things happened.

              It’s almost like ONE person continued to comment on what happened and when offered video evidence of what happened, repeatedly refused to watch it.

              And then it’s almost like another person saw someone asking something and provided a resource to answer that question while simply acknowledging he himself didn’t dig into the resource too deeply.

              It’s almost like †hose aren’t the same thing at all and the only way to make them seem even close is to grossly misrepresent them.

              Almost. Almost.

              So, again… that comment doesn’t say what you seem to think it say. Sorry. Try again.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                Buddy, I’m not the one who went on a tear about how Jaybird Needs To Watch This Video And Boy It Sure Does Tell Us Something That He Won’t and then, when asked to watch a video, declared that you hadn’t and wouldn’t.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to DensityDuck
                Ignored
                says:

                Again… that isn’t what happened.

                Who asked me to watch a video? No one.

                When did I comment on the topic Dark Matter was seeking to understand? Never.

                He said: “Did he make a statement?”
                I said: “He gave some interviews. You can find them here.”

                Jaybird offered comment after comment on what happened but actively refused to watch video if what happened.

                If you can’t see the difference, it is because you don’t want to. I won’t help you with your willful ignorance.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                I was making comments on what was not in dispute.

                If I watched a video and said “X happened” and you watched it and said “X didn’t happen”, and we both yelled “LOOK AT THE VIDEO”, what would that give us?

                Instead, I say “I’m against shooting but I’m pro-shooting back” and then that turns into how I’m supporting Rittenhouse WITHOUT ME WATCHING THE VIDEO FIRST…

                That tells me that you know that Rittenhouse shot back.

                And I’m good with taking the premises that aren’t particularly controversial and starting from there and working forward.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy
        Ignored
        says:

        Wait, the Portland shooter was killed by authorities?!?!?

        This happened after the interview?

        I need to catch up…Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
          Ignored
          says:

          Holy Crap!

          Aaron “Jay” Danielson, 39, died from a gunshot wound to the chest Saturday, Aug. 29, near Southwest 3rd Avenue and Alder Street. Danielson had been part of a pro-Trump caravan that drove into Portland.

          The Pierce County Sheriff’s Office told KATU’s sister station in Seattle, KOMO News, that the suspect came out of an apartment in Lacey, Washington, got into a vehicle and that shots were fired during a traffic stop. The suspect was killed in the gunfire, authorities said. No officers were injured in the shooting.

          Report

          • Avatar George Turner in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            Did you notice that they shot him dead right next to a big US Postal Service mailbox and left his bullet-riddled body lay there are a comment on the Democrats’ vote-by-mail scam?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy
        Ignored
        says:

        Well, to answer your questions:

        I don’t know whether Trump wished that any of the Kenosha victims rested in peace.

        I thought I was discussing the complexity of Portland above. If you’d want to do a compare/contrast, I’d like to do that.

        From what I understand with Rittenhouse, he walked to the police and attempted to surrender.
        From my reading of the various reports of the Portland shooter, he had a gun and was not surrendering? (I mean, wait until bodycam footage is released and we have facts that are not in dispute, of course… like to the point where even his defenders are saying stuff like “he had a gun, but he didn’t *FIRE* it!”… but let’s wait until the info is no longer in a fog.)Report

        • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jaybird
          Ignored
          says:

          “I thought I was discussing the complexity of Portland above. If you’d want to do a compare/contrast, I’d like to do that.”

          Um… no. No you weren’t. Here is what you said:

          “You know what would be a good thought experiment?

          If we read all the comments on the Portland shooting, and imagine they are talking about the Rittenhouse incident in Kenosha.”

          You asked for a compare/contrast. Apologies if that didn’t work out for you as you intended.Report

  13. Avatar Chip Daniels
    Ignored
    says:

    I think what is revealing is that while the federal marshal’s account of Reinohl’s death may be completely accurate, the idea that they shot him and planted a gun isn’t unbelievable either.

    It doesn’t take too many videos of cops provoking violence or shooting people in the back to destroy their credibility and cause the public to lose faith in the justice system.Report

  14. Avatar DensityDuck
    Ignored
    says:

    update:

    *Records have found that the gun in question was purchased, stored, and used only in Wisconsin, meaning there is no possibility of charges for transporting a weapon across state lines. (This wasn’t a charge filed in the complaint, but has been discussed at length.)

    *As of this post, the extradition hearing (determining whether he’ll be tried in Illinois or Wisconsin) is currently underway, with a decision expected at the end of the day.Report

  1. September 23, 2020

    […] only expected there to be no justice this time around, but for the worst to happen. Which it did, after three nights of rioting in Kenosha, Wisconsin produced a shooting that seemed tailor-made to explode the vapors and cinders of the summer of […]Report

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