The Rittenhouse Verdict

This will be quick, but I did not want Marcy’s thread overcome by Rittenhouse discussion. So, just as a lead in, I’ll quote a comment on the other thread by Rugger:

“Indeed, that’s been the chatter elseweb for a while especially after Judge Schroeder ditched the gun charge because of the barrel size.

However, does Rittenhouse have any liability for transporting his gun across state lines in federal court?

Somehow there is something wrong with a justice system that allows killings to be washed away, no foul. This time it’s Rittenhouse, but the Breonna Taylor case as well has a potential similar outcome (the boyfriend reasonably considered the plainclothes cops as intruders, and the cops reasonably considered themselves in danger once they were fired upon) of no one held accountable as if it were a traffic accident. That’s not right.”

I am not sure the facts support that he transported the weapon across state line. The evidence is that a friend bought it for him in Wisconsin.

Self defense is what led Breona Taylor’s boyfriend to be a free man. This case was about one defendant in one set of facts. It is not about anything else, and should not be painted as such. A serious jury deliberated, reached a verdict and delivered it. It should be respected and not made a stalking horse for the brazen claims of either side.

Have at it.

323 replies
  1. matt fischer says:

    As Josh Marshall put it before the verdict came in:

    The aggression carries the seeds of justification within it. You show up looking for trouble on yet another of these right wing murder safaris like Rittenhouse, with his mother chaperoning, was taking part in. You’re looking for trouble and when you find it that’s your justification for taking the next step. That’s not how self-defense is supposed to work. But we can see in this case how the interplay of open carry and permissive self-defense statutes do just that.

    • bmaz says:

      I like Josh a lot, but he is blowing shit there. Self defense is an affirmative justification defense applicable to a very broad range of offenses, not just gun crimes. And “incredibly permissive” is ludicrous, they are extremely hard cases to argue and succeed on. He really does not know what he is talking about. And, by the way, it is the very defense that protects victims of abouse, battered wives and whatnot.

      • Sam Penrose says:

        Two points:

        1. As someone who has disputed the proper framing of legal mores with you several times, I think this post is a helpful crystallization of your perspective. No sarcasm or digs here: it’s your site, readers should know where you’re coming from, and you have expressed it concisely, effectively, and in good faith.

        2. “by the way, it is the very defense that protects victims of abuse, battered wives and whatnot” some of us would read that statement as a serious criticism of your perspective, not support for it. But see point 1—you find rightness in the current structures of legal practice where some readers drawn to Marcy’s work see wrongness.

          • timbo says:

            Meh. Let’s talk about the Arbery case then. At what point do you have a right to protect yourself from a crazy white kid who brought a long gun to a riot? And at what point does the state stop having to make sure we’re not subject to random intimidation and violence from crazy armed white kids?

            • Andrew Dabrowski says:

              The two cases are very different. And the Arbery case is still in progress. Let’s wait for the verdict before we get outraged.

              • timbo says:

                The logic is the same. I have a gun and I’m here to do whatever I want to when ever I want. You, on the other hand, who are trying to mind your own business, are out of bounds if you get scared of me when I threaten you with my weapon and try to do something about it.

                • Andrew Dabrowski says:

                  Did you even watch the videos from that night in Kenosha? Your description does not remotely describe what happened.

                  • timbo says:

                    Uh, again, how did this moron end up there in the first place? What adult in their life told them it was a bad idea to grab a long-rifle and take it to an out-of-town riot? Not a single adult acted to stop this from happening. Not one. And there were several involved in this kid’s life immediately leading up to these killings in Kenosha. This incident didn’t happen in a vacuum. And the context for when and how this happened wasn’t permitted by the judge to be entered into evidence. Further, at least in the court in this trial, there seems to have been little scrutiny of the larger context in which the police, during a curfew, are handing out water bottles to out-of-state teens carrying long rifles…(and perhaps the judge here didn’t want to get into that particular incongruity?)

                    I admit that, “legally”, when it came to the killings that this gun nut-job got away with it. He very likely had intent to hurt someone and he did (although whether or not he should have been tried as an adult is yet another matter worth discussing, etc). The Wisconsin legal system dismissed that distant intent evidence, prevented it from being brought into court. This too I am forced to accept. But to say this moron and the supposed adults around him couldn’t have prevented this from happening, from failing to acknowledge that this moron was in possession of a fire arm that they were legally not allowed to carry, the dismissal of that particular charge against the defendant himself by the judge in this trial, basically demonstrates that if you’re a white supremacist yahoo carrying a long gun illegally to a riot that you can get away with that. And that’s not a good idea. And it’s not good for the country in general.

                    • Andrew Dabrowski says:

                      “And it’s not good for the country in general.”

                      Agreed. But conflating very disparate issues because it allows you to vent isn’t helpful.

                    • earthworm says:

                      the fact of his age, 17, (i e, younger than adult) points to some sort of a priori plan. encouragement or enabling by someone.

          • Charles Wolf says:

            I did not see all the evidence and am not critical of the jury or the verdict, however I would like to see something done about that horrid judge who obviously and I’d say maliciously tilted everything he had a say in.

            • bmaz says:

              Meh, Schroeder is a bit quirky, but that is fairly common in older criminal trial judges. nI did not see that he tilted squat.

          • Robert N Eckert says:

            Attempting to disarm an active shooter should not be treated as a “threat” to the shooter exonerating him from any killings he performs.

      • ba says:

        But where is the evidence that other people had weapons? Where were the bruises from assaults, the prior incidents and ER records on prior injuries, or any injuries? I must have missed it. He got off because he was part of the cult created by right wing media. The jurors saw him as one of them. They picked sides.
        If there was evidence of real risk, I could be wrong.

        • Silly but True says:

          Well, as poor a job as Binger did, to his credit he at least didn’t try to introduce any evidence of Rittenhouse’s injuries into the court’s record.

        • Kenster42 says:

          1. Grosskreutz had an illegally concealed carry Glock that, in a crushing blow for the Prosecution, admitted in court under oath that he pointed directly at Rittenhouse prone on the street, which was when he got shot.
          2. Huber swung full force twice with a skateboard at Rittenhouse prone on the street, hitting him twice in the head/neck area. Rittenhouse shot Huber after the second hit.
          3. Rosenbaum told Rittenhouse earlier in the night that if he caught Rittenhouse alone he would kill him, then acted completely crazy towards him and many other people. Later that night Rosenbaum ran after Rittenhouse, cornered him, then tried to physically take his gun, which caused Rittenhouse to fire.

          In all three circumstances Rittenhouse tried to flee from conflict and fired when cornered. The Grosskreutz and Huber shootings were pure self-defense. The Rosenbaum shooting is a tougher call, but pursuant to the law, the defense only has to introduce reasonable doubt. If someone said they were going to kill me, showed himself to be mentally unstable, then pursued me across a parking lot, cornered me between two cars and tried to take my gun, I can see why he shot Rosenbaum and I see why the jurors acquitted him.

    • Rugger9 says:

      Well, we will certainly get more of this kind of tourism because the signal is clearly sent that “standing your ground” by whatever name or circumstance is A-OK. As noted by bmaz (and it’s why I added it to my post he refers to) Taylor’s BF was actually acting in self defense (but it didn’t stop Metro PD from trying to charge him anyway). Rittenhouse may have been “tactically” in self defense, but it was a situation he willingly put himself into which IMHO forfeits the protection. The law doesn’t agree.

      There is also the problem of dual standards, where for example the PDX BLM protestor was gunned down by federal agents in a case where he could have legitimately raised self defense (for shooting a Proud Boy IIRC) at trial if he survived that long. That’s even before considering the other factors like race that stain our nation’s soul which must be addressed.

      Then we have the problem of incitement like the MAGA types at Charlie Kirk’s rally wondering when they will be able to use their guns. Combined, it’s a powder keg waiting to go off. If the point of justice is to ensure a resolution of grievances without killing each other, then the laws need to be revised because there are two more dead without justice.

      I know it’s not the same but this sure feels like the Lizzie Borden acquittal in very short order (something like 15 minutes) because the all-gentlemen jury could not believe a genteel lady would commit a double homicide.

      • Silly but True says:

        The most eye-opening angle was given by Kenosha detective who estimated 80% of everyone on street that night was armed.

        That included legal carriers, as well as those illegally carrying.

        The result of so many legal carriers is the Not F’ing Around Coalition who accidentally shot others in their own group.

        One has to be wary now of just simply assembling under such circumstances.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          And yet only Rittenhouse seems to have killed people. The debate is not about what he did – he killed two and wounded a third – but his state of mind while doing it.

          • Silly but True says:

            Grosskreutz’s prematurely aborted act aside, your point is consolation, we suppose that credits: 1) Wisconsin’s poor attempt at trying to keep dangerous guns out of kids’ hands; and 2) law prohibiting violent felons from carrying.

            (1) seems relatively easy to fix by WI legislators.

            (2) seems needing to be reinforced by more stringent enforcement in general, but Grosskreutz has rest of his life to reflect on pros vs. one of carrying guns to protests. One hopes both he and Rittenhouse take their second chances and do better.

            • Charles Wolf says:

              “…seems relatively easy to fix by WI legislators.”
              Yea but they are too busy Gerrymandering the Ds into electoral extinction in WI.

          • Desider says:

            “And yet only Rittenhouse seems to have killed people” – yes, after that people either go all Reservoir Dogs or they disband like after Ashli Babbitt took a bullet. People like playing Rambo – they don’t like playing victim of Rambo.
            “Sooner or later it all gets real, Walk On.”

    • matt fischer says:

      From a post along similar lines by Farhad Manjoo:

      The gun transformed situations that might have ended in black eyes and broken bones into ones that ended with corpses in the street. And Rittenhouse’s gun was not just a danger to rival protesters. According to his own defense, the gun posed a grave threat to Rittenhouse himself — he said he feared being overpowered and then shot with his own weapon.

      This is self-defense as circular reasoning: Rittenhouse says he carried a rifle in order to guarantee his safety during a violent protest. He was forced to shoot at four people when his life and the lives of other people were threatened, he says. What was he protecting everyone from? The gun strapped to his own body, the one he’d brought to keep everyone safe.

      • Silly but True says:

        I don’t particularly buy Binger’s argument that anyone being physically assaulted should just suck their beatings up and walk it off (if they can) — which is essentially the same advanced by Manjoo.

        Closed fist punches, any weapon including a wooden board with steel wheels, mob beat downs , and flying kicks to the head shouldn’t ever just be casually dismissed; they certainly can be deadly force in their own right.

        • bmaz says:

          I don’t know where the right line in this case was, and neither does anybody else that did not see all the evidence and participate in the jury deliberations. It would have been fine if they found him guilty too. But this is the verdict the jury found, and they ought be given a modicum of respect. It was very much to an easy call for the reasons you state.

          • Troutwaxer says:

            I think the problem here is that while the self-defense arguments might have been good ones, (in a court of law) what Kyle really violated in Kenosha was common sense. There were a series of nightly riots, with more and more National Guardsmen being put into the field every day, and this punk-ass kid decides the best thing he can do is strap on his gun and “guard things.”

            The problem is that the foolishness of Kyle’s actions don’t take away his right to self-defense. But how do you properly prosecute what he did? What’s really needed is a law which says, “If you’re a civilian and your carry any weapon to an already-existing riot you give up your right to a self-defense charge..” Or something similar – I probably didn’t phrase that every well.

            • bmaz says:

              Your description of Rittenhouse is completely fair. I don’t know that you can quite limit self defense that easily though.

              • Troutwaxer says:

                I’m not sure either. What I do know is that watching that malignant little shit walk away from this unscathed has left an awful bad taste in my mouth.

                • bmaz says:

                  Aye, but this is the classic Blackstone’s Ratio “It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer.”

                  And that is a foundation, even if aspirational, of American criminal jurisprudence. It is not always what each person wants.

            • timbo says:

              “His gun”. See, that’s an interesting thing. Apparently, it was illegally for him to own a fire arm… yet somehow he had one. Seems like there’s a lot of “coincidences” here that got this teenage moron to go to Kenosha that riotous night. Armed. “I bought it for him.” “I saw him take the gun from my house but he didn’t ask for permission and I didn’t say anything.” Testimony like that, basically.

            • bmaz says:

              What a horrible thing to say. So, you are going to equate the verdict of twelve ordinary citizens today to a bad decision by SCOTUS in 1857? Jeebus.

              • Duke says:

                For the first time, I think, I understand what you are about. Can’t say I will agree with you every time or any time other than this comment. Having read this comment, you appear different than my superficial judgements have collapsed like a Fla. condominium complex.

                Sir, I beg your pardon.

              • Dawnrazor says:

                After you compared somebody who went hunting for humans to battered women you’re complaining about anyone’s comparisons?

                • bmaz says:

                  Listen dipshit, I did no such thing. I said that the self defense instruction that was instrumental in Rittenhouse also protects battered women and other abuse victims, I did not compare the two.

                  Don’t bother to come back here.

                  • Dopey-o says:

                    If Kyle R walking free is the price we have to pay to safeguard battered, abused spouses, I will accept that. Democracy is a long series of imperfect compromises.

                • Kenster42 says:

                  You may want to acquaint yourself with the facts in evidence. I am absolutely no fan of Kyle Rittenhouse, but there is zero evidence that he was “hunting for humans”. There is plenty of evidence of others running after him and trying to attack him.

                  • timbo says:

                    Just because there’s “zero” evidence, doesn’t mean it didn’t go down this way. For instance, the state of mind testimony that the prosecution tried to introduce was disallowed by the judge. So, yeah, there was some evidence…it just wasn’t allowed to get into court.

                    • bmaz says:

                      That is absolute bullshit. That was no evidence whatsoever, and was an inappropriate line of questioning by Binger. Trying to put that up as “evidence” is ludicrous.

                    • timbo says:

                      Since we’ve reached the end of this threading here, I’m forced to respond to myself. This comment is for bmaz:

                      There is a lot of legal mumbo-jumbo going on in this case. Basically, the adults around the defendant, the one’s in the defendant’s life basically, are trying to avoid any civil or criminal liability for what happened here. And so far they’ve succeeded. And they’ve succeeded to the detriment of all of our safety.

                      Since we live in a society that is not about safety (except when it’s about keeping property safe basically… as per the outcome of this case) this case is more and more typical of all the support for people who carry guns around and shoot people who seemed to be harming property over controlling moron nut-jobs who want to parade around with loaded guns and bring those loaded guns to tense social turmoil.

      • bmaz says:

        Farhad Mango does not know his ass from a hole in the ground about the subject, and clearly has no clue about how self defense really works.

        • Sonso says:

          Far be it from to challenge your excellency (/s), but I don’t think Manjoo was getting on so much about self-defense as he was about bringing weaponry into already fractious events with the thought that the unregulated weapon would ‘stabilize’ things. While state of mind is indeed critical in judging this situation, the judge was grievous (IMHO) in denying the admission of KR’s statements only a week earlier on his own predilections towards violence.

          • Kenster42 says:

            Meh. I get his point, but knowing all the other stuff Manjoo has written, at a broader level it just feels like yet another back door way to “Kyle Rittenhouse bad”.

            • timbo says:

              Or maybe it’s the loud-mouth schmuck defense. “I only said that a week earlier” before I went and got my gun and went down to the riot.

      • Spencer Dawkins says:

        I understand Bmaz’s point, that what matters in the Rittenhouse case is the application of current law to a specific set of facts.

        But I do think that if arming yourself and walking into a riot in another state that the National Guard is already dealing with still allows you to claim self-defense when you shoot people, that’s crying out for a change to the law.

        I guess we’ll see whether any legislators agree with that.

        • Andrew Dabrowski says:

          I agree that it’s absolutely nuts for a 17 year-old to walking around with an AR-15 in a highly volatile situation. I’m all for repealing the 2nd amendment.

        • Desider says:

          Can we give the “another state” bit a rest? Kenosha’s 20 miles from Rittenhouse’s home – would it look better for him to drive 6 hours to Carbondale? Even Chicago’s over an hour away. If someone drives the 20 mins from Belleville into St. Louis do they really obsess about “oh, I’m driving to another state”?

          • Rayne says:

            And yet it’s the difference between state charges and federal charges. We’d have the same issue with transporting a minor for trafficking or sending money between states for illicit acts (hello, Eliot Spitzer’s New York payments made to New Jersey).

            EDIT: I’m aware the gun was allegedly purchased for and retained by someone in WI for KHR, and that someone may face WI charges. But that the issue of federal charges is possible depending on any further investigation — like that requested by Rep. Jerry Nadler — has everything to do with two separate states/crossing a state line. We don’t get to treat this situation like it’s merely a neighborhood scrap between rival gangs.

            • Desider says:

              I respectfully disagree – “walking into a riot in another state that the National Guard is already dealing with” is a moral judgment about going a long way to not mind your own business. Still, many cities/metro areas cross state lines. The inaccurate “taking a gun across state lines” however (the gun stayed in Wisconsin) is hoping for an extra criminal charge.
              And then some of us have quaint memories of crossing state or county lines to buy alcohol. Good times.

              • Rayne says:

                We’ve just had “letter of the law” crammed down our throat and you’re going to argue the “letter of the law” should be ignored in this one specific case?

                Really? 0_o

              • Rayne says:

                Probably not but if it’s asked by a member of Congress it should get some attention no matter your personal opinion of the matter.

                • bmaz says:

                  Oh, if Congress wants to try to fine tune laws, and wants to ask things, fine. Just not sure DOJ has much real room.

                  That said, Rittenhouse was a state level case, which is effectively state common law, so am not sure what role the US Congress really has in anything.

  2. Bobby Gladd says:

    “This case was about one defendant in one set of facts. It is not about anything else, and should not be painted as such. A serious jury deliberated, reached a verdict and delivered it. It should be respected and not made a stalking horse for the brazen claims of either side.”


  3. subtropolis says:

    And millions of yahoos rejoiced. “When do we get to use the guns?” Legal merits aside, this will encourage more safaris.

    • darms says:

      Yeah, that’s my point as well, if you’re a civilian and your carry any weapon to an already-existing riot, wtf do you not automatically give up your right to a self-defense charge? If you truly wanted to defend yourself you would have stayed home as the riot did not involve your property. If you want to kill people then enlist. Why will this verdict not become a model for future confrontations? I’m sure there’s a bunch of Rittenhouse wannabes out there, again remember “When do we get to use the guns?”? There’s your answer. & I’ll read on…

      • timbo says:

        This. This verdict is not going to calm anything down… it’s going to make it worse. It’s going to make it okay for a teenager to cross statelines to go to a riot armed with a gun that they don’t actually have a legal right to carry on the street. It’s crazy.

  4. Disraeli56 says:

    “If the law supposes that,” said Mr. Bumble,… “the law is a ass—a idiot.”

    Thank you Mr. Dickens.

    • bmaz says:

      This is stupid. And fuck “Mr. Bumble”. This case was about one man in one courtroom, not about all the outrage and bullshit people non the internet “feel”. If you can’t grok that, you have no clue how criminal law works.

      • Disraeli56 says:

        Seemingly the criminal law works as follows. The acceptable way to address someone brandishing a skateboard is to kill them. Now that maybe legal in some jurisdictions but in my mind it is still wrong.
        Can you grok that?

        • bmaz says:

          No, it is as asinine and uneducated as your previous comment. But, thanks for the education as to how criminal law works.

          • Disraeli56 says:

            Tout your education all you want and extol the majesty of the criminal law. When killing two unarmed non-victims is lawful then the law truly is an ass.

              • Disraeli56 says:

                On reflection I understand your point. Provided that the procedural protocols are followed and the paperwork is in order then the outcome, no matter how grotesque, is by defintion acceptable and no change need be made to the system or the laws the system enforces. Splendid.

                • Kenster42 says:

                  Hmm – I’d say if you don’t want to get shot, don’t chase someone until they fall down, then take a skateboard and start swinging it full force at them when you know the person is carrying an AR-15 that they have already demonstrated that they are willing to use.

                • Chuckles says:

                  I’m so totally against the 2nd as it stands … but that said, if you only look at the video compilation of Rittenhouse’s killings then you will see that he was trying to get away from his pursuers including those he shot. He did not provoke (yes, he was carrying a lethal weapon but for fuck sake don’t try to attack anyone – much less someone carrying a weapon of any sort) … before the trial commenced I was quite sure that a reasonable jury would find him not-guilty on all homicide charges with a guilty on the age issue but they gave him a get-out-free on the latter as well.
                  Set aside all the emotions, including my deeply felt abhorence of our gun law/s, and he is not guilty.

                  • P J Evans says:

                    What was a teenage kid doing with that firearm, why did he decide it was a good idea to go to a riot in the next state, why did he take said firearm, and WTF did he back-shoot a guy who was on the ground ?

            • earlofhuntingdon says:

              The bigger question is why, what was his state of mind, and whether the law recognizes an exception for criminal liability under the circumstances.

              Personally, I think Rittenhouse is immature, like nearly every 17-year old, and dumb as a post. He went looking for trouble and found it big time. A lot of people are suffering owing to that. But his lawyers did a better job than the prosecution in persuading the jury about why he did what he did. It’s not the first time, it won’t and shouldn’t be the last.

              What’s unfair is that he could afford that defense only because the hard right adopted him as a poster boy and spent lavishly on him. Most defendants haven’t that option and get rolled by the system. What’s worse is that the right will abuse this win, and use it to encourage more violence. That’s what has me riled.

                • earlofhuntingdon says:

                  The prosecution seems not to have done a good job pointing out that Rittenhouse seems to have gone there in order to put his life in danger, so that he could act out in “defense.” He exacerbated his fears by walking into a crowd with a weapon that I’m surprised he even knew how to use.

                    • Leoghann says:

                      He didn’t run at least a block from his house, where he should have been if he was as afraid of the crowd as his words and actions portray. He ran a block after Rosenbaum started chasing him, in that crowd, as earl pointed out.

              • Kenster42 says:

                I didn’t really think about this point until I read an in depth piece post-acquittal about the defense preparations. Holy cow, they spent the last 18 months working on this. They did focus groups. They did mock trials. They prepped like mofos, spending G-d only knows how many hours. And it showed, they were incredibly well prepared.

      • John Paul Jones says:

        The commentary from Bumble in the notorious Bumble v Regina case was about the law’s supposition that Bumble’s wife acted under his direction when she did bad things. Saith Bumble: “If the law supposes that, then the law is an ass” (paraphrase). So yeah, not so much applicable in the current dispute.

  5. AndTheSlithyToves says:

    Cheri Jacobus @CheriJacobus
    You’re free to protest racism in this country, but just know that white MAGA teenagers are free to grab a gun and kill you for it.
    1:47 PM · Nov 19, 2021·Twitter Web App

  6. Jenny says:

    A tragedy. Glorification with guns in a tragedy. Toxic masculinity is a tragedy. Children with guns is a tragedy. Adults with guns is a tragedy. Children killing children is a tragedy. Adults killing adults is a tragedy. Praising abuse, hate and injecting violence is a tragedy.

    A deeply fractured society and culture when a 17 year old armed with an assault weapon goes to a protest claiming to help as a “medic” kills two people and injures another.

    When will we as a society stop hurting one another and start helping one another.
    “What are we teaching our children?

    • Bobby Gladd says:


      Cawthorne, Gosar, and Gaetz are already a touting a WWF match to see which of them gets to hire Rittenhouse as a congressional intern. Cawthorne just exhorted his supporters to now “Go Armed, Be Dangerous.” It’s gonna be a Zoo of absurd iterative one-upsmanship rhetorical escalations.

      Unfortunately, some of our looser-screw cosplayers will act out belligerently, some with firearms.

      • posaune says:

        And, i’m guessing Cawthorne’s funders will set KR up in a nice-sized DC condo, too. I wonder if they’ll apply for a security clearance for him too. Of course, he’ll get Congressional health care and the gym, as well.

  7. taluslope says:

    A question and a comment:

    Was the judge even handed?

    What this all says to me is that I should stay the hell (cause that’s where I’ll go) away from the man with the gun. Reminds me of being asked to get out of the car and place my hands on the roof at a routine (supposedly I didn’t properly stop at a stop sign) police pullover in Las Vegas. I very calmly did as requested and waiting 15 minutes for another cop to arrive (whom I thanked for coming). At which point they sent me on my way without a citation. At no point did I raise my voice or do anything but answer the first cops questions (like what are you doing in this neighborhood at 4:00 in the afternoon) respectfully. I was really unhappy at the first cop but I wasn’t about to argue with the man with the gun. Now, very sorrowfully, I can imagine how it could have gone differently for a person of color.

    • bmaz says:

      Judge Schroeder probably looked, shall we say, uneven to a lot of the public, but that is pretty standard course in criminal trial courts. But, overall, yes he struck me as fair. The prosecutor was horrible, and beyond unethical with some of his acts. Any seasoned criminal judge would have totally lit him up for that, and it was always done outside the presence of the jury. Overall, it was not perfect, but okay.

      And, yes, the traffic stop situation you describe may go differently by race, or not. But is sure seems to. That was not really in play here though.

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        The prosecutor made me want to scream at the TV. During his cross-examination of Rittenhouse he treated defendant as if he were not only an adult but already convicted; I was beyond disappointed at prosecution’s apparent inability to respond effectively to the defense’s presentation of Kyle Rittenhouse as an innocent and well-meaning teenager. The prosecutor just plowed ahead with what seemed like his predetermined plan. This failed to illuminate either the relevant laws or the defendant’s actions/intentions–for me, at least.

        The fact that the jury convicted on all six of the remaining counts (not just the murder and attempted murder) seems like a message. I’m just unsure what it means.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          A lesson prosecutors might learn is that no case is a slam dunk, and that being arrogant and unlikable never helps their case, no matter who the defendant is.

          • Ginevra diBenci says:

            Yeah. You’d think they would know that. This guy’s contempt seemed universal–for the defendant, the judge, the defense, and by extension the jury. (At least they might have seen it that way.)

      • Leoghann says:

        There is one ruling Schroeder made that I don’t understand, and would appreciate if you’d explain it. Prosecution brought up a tape of Rittenhouse and some friends from about a week before the event in question. In it, Rittenhouse et al watched a video of some shoplifters escaping a store (or something similar) and said he wishes he had been there with his AR, that they wouldn’t have gotten away. To me, it spoke to Rittenhouse’s frame of mind and later intent. Why was that impermissible?

        • bmaz says:

          I usually refer to it as Rule 403 as that is the nomenclature in both federal rules and my state rules. In Wisconsin, it is Rule 904.03 In short, it was excluded because it was more prejudicial than probative. It really had nothing to do with the incident charged. I think that was very much a proper decision by the court.

      • Arthur M. says:

        When Rittenhouse “feared for his life” and shot 3 people with a weapon of war — which the judge ruled he had carried legally on a city street in the United States, while he would be illegal carrying the same in an actual war, being too young to qualify for enlistment in any branch of the U. S. military — Rittenhouse did not take care to discriminate between those with and those without expertise in the law. Regardless of anybody’s “expertise in criminal law”, regardless of the judge’s behavior, regardless of the jury’s decision, Rittenhouse’s acts are, right now, being exploited by extremists as a form of “propaganda of the deed” in such a way that impacts public safety, which all of the public has a stake in.

        • bmaz says:

          My Arthur, do I sense a bit of outrage here? You may not like it (I’d prefer guns laws be different too), but the judge ruled properly, and it is a legal weapon in the US. Do you think the First Amendment is abrogated in this case, or just bitching? I don’t necessarily like all of it either, but what exactly is your suggestion, other than just lashing out?

          • Arthur M. says:

            Please let me express my appreciation to Marcy, Bmaz, Rayne and all contributors at emptywheel for your many years of outstanding journalism. I trust and defer to your team’s expertise and judgement on all things criminal law, and on all matters generally. My only suggestion would be to please reconsider whether a lack of criminal law expertise should be the grounds to dismiss an individual’s perspective on a case with resonance well beyond the letter of the law and the outcome reached in court. Folks like Fox News’ Tucker Carlson seem to be using the outcome of this case to exacerbate political divisions, stoke fear, and encourage the conditions for continued acts of violence. IMO, a persuasive counter to such propaganda can be the constructive dialogue amongst a broad range of experts such as the conversations featured on the NPR podcast 1A. I’m sorry that I was defensive / bitching in my previous comment. As somebody without a college degree myself, my single bone of contention was that IMO a lack of a law degree should not automatically disqualify a person from having the potential to contribute something of value to the national conversation. All that being said, I’m ready to concede that you are (on all things) mostly right and I am (overly sensitive and) mostly wrong. Thank you again for the important work you all do.

  8. surfer2099 says:

    Hey bmaz,

    Can you speak to the actual charges brought by prosecution in this case? Were they overreach? In other words, should prosecution have brought Murder 2 or Murder 3, instead of Murder 1? Please forgive if I’m using inaccurate terminology here. I’m not a lawyer.

    O/T: Your Cards really did a number on my 49ers with their backups. ;)

    • bmaz says:

      I dunno, I’ll try. If you believe the prosecution theory, then the top count probably should have been what it is. If self defense did not apply, that is a putative top count. But, by the end, lesser includes were in the mix, and it still did not matter. So not sure the charging was the problem.

  9. Rollo T says:

    I agree with bmaz. It’s one verdict in one court in one state. Probably unwise to extrapolate that to the entire country or to the future of democracy as we know it.

    • Rugger9 says:

      With the RWNM in play, it will be extrapolated into a “precedent” to greenlight the other wannabe tough guys. That’s the danger. I give KR a week to show up on Hannity, Ingraham or Carlson … for an appropriately high appearance fee, of course. Zimmerman’s probably jealous, as is Individual-1.

  10. scribe says:

    BMAz has pretty well said all that has to be said about this and said it well.

    I will add one or two things.

    The prosecutor’s conduct in court overall, and his unethical approach to his examinations of the defendant and dubious ethicality of sitting on the high-def video but turning over the low-def video, was pretty much par for the course in the felony courts of this country, every state and every day. The only differences here were (a) it was on TV and commented upon accurately (sometimes) on TV, and (b) the judge didn’t let him get away with it. I doubt there will be further repercussions to the prosecutor, even though there should be.

    You can be sure the feds are cooking up something for this young man.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Probably. The standard is lower in civil cases, a preponderance or simple majority standard rather than beyond a reasonable doubt.

        I would be surprised, though, if he had any assets that would make civil suits worthwhile. He’s not OJ. The hard right, which spent lavishly on his criminal defense, might leave him in the wilderness financially so as to make that outcome a fact. I suppose it depends on the longevity of his utility as a poster child.

        • scribe says:

          Best course for him would be to not respond to the complaint, allow entry of a default judgment and go bankrupt later.

          • bmaz says:

            Yep. Not sure what kind of discipline such a young kid has, and there will be all kinds of Fox News type of leeches all over him, but he would be smart to go to ground, do exactly what you said and make any money later. Doubt that kind of long term view holds in this day and age, but who knows.

          • bmaz says:

            Well, guess that question has been answered. There had already been a Fox News crew trailing him with permission and the first installment already up on Tucker. What a dumbfuck. His lawyer, Richards, who did a good job, said he objected, but Jesus that seems hollow. There is not a chance in hell I would allow that. What garbage.

          • Dave says:

            Judgments from intentional torts are not dischargeable in Ch 7

            [Welcome back to emptywheel. Please use a more differentiated username when you comment next as we have several community members named “Dave” or “David.” You’ve used a variant before to which you might consider reverting, or perhaps “Dave_F” since this username hasn’t been previously used. Thanks. /~Rayne]

        • JohnJ says:

          He may be making some collectable cash over the next 6 months from all the RWNM.

          I don’t know how it works when you get a judgement against you for more than your worth. Does that mean they can keep scooping up any extra cash you make until paid?

          We got a pillow guy and a “lawyer” about to see.

        • Silly but True says:

          I think everyone has already recognized this; Huber family has sued Kenosha police for wrongful death, “deputizing” Rittenhouse; others may have as well over similar.

  11. TacomaDweller says:

    Totally agree with Bmaz on this one. These cases are fact specific and the verdict should be respected. I sincerely doubt this verdict will encourage more people to strap on an AR and get in the middle of a protest. Perhaps the prospect of finding oneself on trial for murder will influence some the other way. Net effect-not much.

    • pablo says:

      The verdict in itself will not cause a violent revolution, but the right wing immersive coverage over the following months will certainly feed the beast.
      In the words of the good Karen, we’ve only just begun.

  12. P J Evans says:

    The verdicts were what the jury decided, and all that – but it still feels very much like justice was not done.
    (ETA: I think that judge needs some CLE time. Some of the things he said and did, while legal, were really pushing limits.)

    • bmaz says:

      Elie has never tried a case, any case, to a jury, much less a felony/capital one in a criminal case in his life. But, sure, lets’s let him be the avatar..

      • PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

        Our laws are a reflection of the values of their authors, and the processes and rules about how they are enforced and when are a function of who tended to hold power over the past couple hundred years. I think there is value in hearing from those outside those groups about what these types of results mean to them and how it reflects on us, even if it’s not a pragmatic take from a trial attorney.

  13. Tracy Lynn says:

    Soooo… for those of us who are Not lawyers who are asking the question—when will DOJ file federal charges against Rittenhouse?

      • Rugger9 says:

        I’ll have to agree with bmaz on this one until someone can show Rittenhouse did something illegal across state lines. The civil suit angle is also harder since there is a not guilty verdict to be leveraged regardless of how it played out for OJ.

        In OJ’s case I probably would have acquitted once it became clear how much physical evidence had been left out of evidentiary control. FWIW, it would not surprise me to find out OJ was there supervising but we’ll never know now.

        • Charles Wolf says:

          Nonetheless, I would not be surprised if KR becomes hounded by civil actions, at least in the near term … win lose or draw.

    • Leoghann says:

      His only exposure was to charges pertaining to his crossing state lines with his AR-15. We’ve since found out that he bought and stored it in Wisconsin–it never crossed the state line.

  14. Badger Robert says:

    The trouble with the argument bmaz makes is that these armed insurgents show up everywhere with their rifles. This case was about one of them, but there are thousands of them. And what happens? A small percentage lose control and start shooting. There will be more guns in public places because of this verdict, and more shootings. I would not be too surprised if people on the other side of the dispute begin to arm themselves.
    Rittenhouse will probably fade away.
    But he will have imitators.

      • Sonso says:

        Not disagreeing, but since neither is responding maturely, we are in deep doodoo. We are making such little progress in face of the onslaught of the human horde and time is very short. I have gone more towards Voltaire’s garden these days, as, per the intent, I am exhausted after 60+ years of fighting the Huns.

  15. Greg Hunter says:

    Continue to argue for a definition of “well regulated” and base laws around the expansion of that definition.

    Dem messaging on guns is terrible as the tight focus on violent felons being denied gun rights permanently is the foundation for all common sense gun legislation. Hammer well regulated and common sense red flag laws.

    With that said I would also give ground on the “all felons cannot have guns” belief. It punishes people for non violent felony drug offenses.

  16. Berto says:

    If the prosecutor can’t even make the obvious argument that Rittenhouse’s defense was of racial hierarchies, they should lose the case.

  17. bidrec says:

    Near Kenosha—Recruit Training Command Great Lakes—someone pointing a gun anywhere but down or down range would have to do one thousand jumping jacks.

  18. dilbert dogbert says:

    There will be another police murder. There will be another protest.
    In the next one both sides will be armed.
    Then we will be in deeper shit.
    Open Carry
    Stand Your Ground
    No License
    No Registation
    No Training.
    OK To Run Down Protesters With Your Car.

  19. Peterr says:

    This case was about one defendant in one set of facts. It is not about anything else, and should not be painted as such. A serious jury deliberated, reached a verdict and delivered it. It should be respected and not made a stalking horse for the brazen claims of either side.

    As a lawyer, you have stated things well. As an observer of contemporary society, you are dreaming if you think this is what will happen. “It should not be . . . It should be . . .” is nice, but it ain’t gonna happen.

    Members of congress are already jockeying to get Rittenhouse to be an intern in their office. They are clearly painting this as more than just “one defendant in one set of facts.”

    As for the other side . . . Let the record show that Trayvon Martin was the same age as Kyle Rittenhouse. Martin’s problem appears to have been that he was (a) not armed with an AR-15, and (b) African-American.

    Under the law, Rittenhouse’s acquittal may have been legal, but I hesitate to call it right. Two people are dead and a third permanently maimed because a teenager decided to play rent-a-cop, and when shit got real he got spooked and fired his gun. He may have been legally not guilty, but there is no way in the world this is good.

      • Peterr says:

        OK, you got me. Trayvon Martin was already dead by the time Rittenhouse fired his gun. My bad.


        You are — rightly — focused on the specific case at hand. What I am trying to address is that this case does not take place in a vacuum. Gun nuts are going to make Rittenhouse a hero. Racist white supremacists are going to proclaim him a role model. Folks fighting for racial justice are going to call him just another white guy who got away with killing.

        As I said, Rittenhouse may have been legally not guilty, but there is no way in the world this is good.

      • chetnolian says:

        Except that you, BMAZ, taught this foreigner a lot about the US view of self-defence as you explained the Martin case and correctly predicted the outcome..

        But of course from the point of view across the Pond everyone is shooting (if you will excuse the expression) at the wrong target.

        Kyle Rittenhouse should not have been legally allowed to be in that place with that weapon. But he was, and what he was doing by being there was entirely legal.

        • bmaz says:

          Yes. And we could do with 90% or so less guns, especially such deadly assault rifles. The difference between the two sides of the pond in that regard is pretty instructive. I don’t know how to fix the guns issue here.

          • Max404 says:

            I don’t know how to fix the guns issue.

            Take them out of circulation, like Australia did. C’mon Bmaz, you’re such an intelligent guy showing the way when it has to do with jurisprudence and rights. Hiding behind a “I don’t know … “ is not believable.

            • bmaz says:

              Thanks, I think. And I agree, but that is nowhere close. Instead, SCOTUS is almost certainly on the cusp of removing many of the restrictions on guns that currently exist.

          • Dopey-o says:

            I have have read accounts by ER staff, explaining why .223 rounds from an AR-15 gun are so much more lethal than 9 mm ammo. My prejudice says there is almost no reason for civilians to employ them.
            I write this from the Murder Capital, St Louis, where innocent bystanders are regularly shot by well-armed sociopaths. Perhaps the worst cases here are children who find a loaded gun with a chambered round. Second-worst: highway shooters who kill motorists in the vicinity of their intended victims.
            Too many guns, indeed.

    • Peterr says:

      From Rolling Stone, with internal links omitted:

      The Onion called it with their headline: “Kyle Rittenhouse Sentenced to 45 Years of CPAC Appearances,” published just after Rittenhouse was acquitted of all charges, including homicide, stemming from when he shot and killed two people and injured a third during a racial justice protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

      Mere hours after the jury announced the not guilty verdicts and The Onion published its not-so-satirical headline, Fox News announced that Tucker Carlson landed an exclusive interview with Rittenhouse, which will almost certainly cement the teen’s place in right-wing culture as a conservative darling and future pundit.

      Part of the interview is scheduled to air in primetime on Monday, Nov. 22. It will, naturally, be followed by a Tucker Carlson Originals documentary — complete with bonus footage from the interview and “exclusive behind-the-scenes access to Rittenhouse and his defense team,” per a Fox press release. . . .

      Clearly Fox and Tucker see Kyle as one defendant in one set of facts.

        • Peterr says:

          I am not shitting on the jury in the least. I’ve spent too much time on juries to do that.

          I am saying that outside the courtroom, society is going to read a helluva lot into this case, whether you like it or not, so you might as well accept that reality.

          This case may have ended with the decision of the jury. The repercussions of their verdict are only beginning to be felt.

        • Duke says:

          Seems to me that most folks are talking past each other while talking about different facets of the process. Trial by jury of peers. Deterrence of behaviors from the public at large. Proliferation of guns. Vigilanteism. Racism. Fear of or predictability of outcomes.

          Humans are capable of more than two emotions and thoughts regarding events. Don’t lose sight of the goals and outcomes and the long arc of history.

  20. Marinela says:

    So disgusted with this trial. Gross.

    There is almost no talk about the three victims, but Kyle R. is blasted all over the news.
    The base he ponders to, raised 1,000,000 for his defense.
    These people are the ones that programmed him and his mother to act as vigilantes.

    Kyle R. claims that he was threatened, he acted in self-defense.
    His mother was asked by Sean H. if he would do it again after what happened.
    Her answer is yes, probably, because this is the kind of person he is, help people.
    Fucking big disconnect between words and actions.

    I know many criticize the prosecutor.
    Don’t know if would make any difference with these jurors.
    Out of these 12 people, there was not one to stand up and say, wait a minute, his actions don’t pass the smell test.

    Could the prosecutor ask him on the stand if he is going to do what he did again?
    We know he would, but let’s make sure he does say this under oath.
    But again, the jurors would see it as a feature.

    The thing is this kid is programmed wrong. And the lesson he just learned is “I am entitled”.

    There is so much the media could do to cover the victims instead, but easier to chase shinny objects.

    • kenster42 says:

      I think the national public would be shocked if the media actually covered those who were shot. All had felony criminal records, all with at least one conviction regarding violence. Many media organizations deliberately did not cover this angle of the story as it interfered with their narrative.

  21. Michael says:

    The problem with the argument that “Rittenhouse went to the protests looking for trouble” is that it could be applied to the protestors as well. Everyone was there in violation of the curfew and knew that previous protests had ended in vandalism and looting. Rosenbaum engaged in vandalism and threatened some of the right-wingers. Grosskrutz came with a gun. The problem with determining provocation at a protest is that both the demonstrators and counter demonstrators often act provocative in a way that no one normally does in real life. This is one of those cases where no one would be hurt if everyone followed the law strictly, everyone was arguably looking for trouble but nobody planned to kill anyone. That makes assigning criminal liability difficult.

    • bmaz says:

      Yes. And my guess is some variation of that entered into the jury deliberations. But, as always, we don’t know because we were not in that room. But it is a resonant baseline.

    • hollywood says:

      I respectfully disagree. The problem with all these case specific arguments is that they ignore the consequences for the rest of us in the future. Yes, under the odd Wisconsin law and the facts as presented at trial an argument can be made that Rittenhouse walks (because he did). But what about society at large? Somewhere a Greek chorus is crying out in agony at the injustice here. Rittenhouse shouldn’t have been there. He shouldn’t have had an assault weapon. He shouldn’t have used it. We are all compromised because he did go, have the weapon and use it. We are all injured because he “got off” and others will emulate him. This is simply unjust and uncivilized. We should change this but because yahoos run rampant among us all the way to SCOTUS it will not happen. More will die and more will escape responsibility because of the gaps/permissions in our laws allowing this sort of activity.
      This is a tragedy and it appears we will learn nothing from it.

      • bmaz says:

        “Consequences to the rest of us” is irrelevant once you walk into the jury deliberation room.

        The Wisconsin self defense law is not necessarily “odd” in the least. Even ones worded slightly differently get argued that same way.

        This is why I caution that people are ill advised to put their larger concerns, and I agree with yours, into the construct of a single, individualized, criminal trial. “The rest of us” have work to do, these twelve jurors did theirs.

        • Troutwaxer says:

          My attitudes on this have crystalized overnight, and I’ve decided that I’m fine with passing a law that allows the judge or jury to consider the level of provocation a suspect engaged in while deciding whether the suspect can use a “self-defense” defense during their trial. I think local/state/federal lawmakers are entitled to tell their citizens to use a little fucking common-sense.

          • Andrew Dabrowski says:

            Well, in this case the one who engaged in provocation was Rosenbaum, who chased KH for at least a block and agressively challenged people to shoot him.

        • hollywood says:

          As you say “‘Consequences to the rest of us’ is irrelevant once you walk into the jury deliberation room.”
          Here’s the rub: That seems like that is the way it should work, however, in any given case jury nullification does in a twisted way speak to the consequences to the rest of us. That’s not right.

          • bmaz says:

            “Jury nullification” is for fools, and against the law. And is strictly against the jury instructions. The charge as a juror is to follow the law. Period.

            • Troutwaxer says:

              1.) I will not pull bmaz’s chain.
              2.) I will not pull bmaz’s chain.
              3.) I will not pull bmaz’s chain.
              4.) I will not pull bmaz’s chain.

      • Kenster42 says:

        Ah, got it. So we acknowledge Rittenhouse having a long gun, but we ignore Grosskreutz having an illegal concealed carry Glock that he pointed at the defendant?

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          After Rittenhouse shot and killed someone, anyone who witnessed it was entitled to perform a a citizen’s arrest, unlike the Arbery case, where the only crimes committed were by the three rednecks who killed him.

          • Kenster42 says:

            This comment sent me down the rabbit hole to research it. A legitimate point. WI does not have a specific statute on citizen’s arrest but there appears to be case law that supports this. Consequently, I guess my question would be why the prosecution didn’t pursue this concept during the trial?

          • Andrew Dabrowski says:

            Did any of those three announce that they were making a citizen’s arrest?

            The whole CA concept is a can of snakes I’m not sure we want unloosed on the country.

            • Michael says:

              I don’t think any of his pursuers used the term “citizens arrest” but in some states you can make a citizens’ arrest without using the words “citizens arrest”. I’m not sure about Wisconsin.
              The Rittenhouse incident is a perfect example of why cops recommend you don’t make a citizens’ arrest, especially in a case where the arrestee has killed someone out of fear. The arrestee is likely to assume that his or her pursuers want to kill/kidnap/rape him or her, not just turn him or her over to the police. And they’re likely to react with deadly force. Cops are trained to handle frightened individuals, and although that training is often warped by racism, etc. they can usually handle these situations better than the average person. (Also, cops wear uniforms and have badges, so that the arrestee is unlikely to think that the cops are working with a person who just attacked them.)

        • Leoghann says:

          Gaige Grosskreutz has stated in interviews that he was carrying his gun in his waistband so that it was visible, not for concealment purposes.

  22. observiter says:

    CNN interviewed one of the defense attorneys, who indicated that when he was young you didn’t see such guns. They weren’t allowed. Fights typically involved fists.

    So, are assault rifles now OK to use for hunting? For elk and bears? Wasn’t that Rittenhouse’s reason for the rifle — it was a hunting rifle?

    Which comes to my next question. What serious hunter would use an assault rifle? I just read Wikipedia’s description of the AR-15, which indicates it was designed for infantrymen.

    I understand what you write about the laws and the Court. But something seems to be missing. I don’t understand. How is it a 17 year old decides he, not the police, is the one to protect his “neighborhood” and to do so with a fire arm manufactured for military and police use. He intentionally went to a protest he was against, and he brought an assault rifle. I thought it’s against the law to light a fire in the forest, or intentionally go into a movie theater and shout “fire.”

    • scribe says:

      “So, are assault rifles now OK to use for hunting? For elk and bears? …

      “Which comes to my next question. What serious hunter would use an assault rifle? I just read Wikipedia’s description of the AR-15, which indicates it was designed for infantrymen.”

      Ask straight questions, get straight answers:

      In many states, “yes”, AR-platform firearms are legal for hunting purposes. Many hunters, serious and duffers, use them. Most of the hunting uses are for longer-range shooting at predators like coyotes and such. There’s also a lot of target shooting. These rifles are inherently accurate.

      Without going too deeply into the the technicana, they can be used for deer and such by trading out the “upper” – the modular assembly including the barrel and bolt – for one in a larger caliber. Trading out an “upper” requires sliding two pins, removing one upper and replacing it with another, and sliding the pins back. Takes less than a minute.

      The AR-15 branch of the world is distinct in being a modular design. Just about any part can be traded out for another. That would include changing calibers. So, if the user desires, one rifle can have as many calibers or configurations as the user desires to buy.

      Yes, the AR-15 branch of the firearms world was originally designed for military use. Almost all firearms innovations were and are. Militaries both are always the biggest buyers and are always in search for the latest, greatest innovation. Almost all types of firearms have been used by militaries at one time or another – 125 years ago the US Army (very briefly) used versions of the model 1894 Winchester, i.e., the ubiquitous lever-action deer rifle. At the time it was the latest thing in design and function. Then along came the 1898 Mauser bolt action rifle – which the US copied in its 1903 Springfield bolt-action rifle. (Copied so thoroughly, the US supposedly settled and paid Mauser when he brought a patent infringement suit over that copying.) And that race of innovation continued and still continues.

      The modular nature of the AR platform was one of its three big innovations. The others were (a) using a small-caliber round and (b) being built largely out of aluminum except for the barrel and bolt (and some small parts). The small-caliber round meant soldiers could carry more ammunition. Experience in two world and several smaller wars taught militaries that precision marksmanship was the exception, rather than the rule. And the rule was instead “volume of fire”. Building the rifle from aluminum was not only cheaper and easier – no need for large steel forgings when aircraft aluminum would do – but also considerably lighter, something the folks carrying the guns appreciate. Similarly, the use of plastic instead of wood replaced expensive walnut wood with inexpensive plastic, eliminated complicated woodworking with injection moulding, and was more durable and uniform, too.

      That the AR platform has been in service with the US military going on 60 years – longer than any other service rifle, ever – in the face of innovators who never stop trying, speaks to the solidity of the engineering in it. Civilian versions are popular because they are relatively inexpensive and familiar to users. Rifle buyers have a tendency to buy actions they are familiar with, and there are a couple generations of veterans whose first and longest experience with a rifle was with an AR platform.

      [MOD NOTE: This thread will NOT devolve into a discussion of 2A and minutiae about firearms. Past experience tells us this topic turns into DDoS-ing threads. /~Rayne]

      • Troutwaxer says:

        Hopefully without violating the mod’s ruling above, I’ll note that my gun-toting friends (I don’t own guns myself) would agree with the post above. The AR-15 is popular exactly because it is modular, endless accessories, such as scopes, stocks, etc. are available, and it can be near-infinitely modified to suit the owner’s idea of the perfect gun. The analogy my friend used was to compare it to a Chevy 350 small-block, which is the basis for many custom motor-builds. So the AR-15’s attraction is not “this is military” but “I can customize it.”

        Rayne, if this is too much gun-comment for you, please take it down and I won’t be upset.

        • Ginevra diBenci says:

          Rayne, I’m asking you to leave these two “gun posts” up. My father was an army sharpshooter in Korea; he taught me to shoot with a S&W .22 and a Glock nine millimeter. (He gave me the .22 but no way was he parting with that Glock.) I considered myself fairly firearm-literate, but I have to confess I’ve never properly understood the allure of the AR, mainly because my dad didn’t (wouldn’t) own one. These posts convey with clarity two things I’ve missed: familiarity based on military experience, and user ability to customize.

          Now I wonder if my dad (who died of Covid last year) might have come around on the AR. His army service predated its dominance, but he *loved* gadgets. Reading these posts, I’m kind of surprised his NC gun friends couldn’t convince him to adopt it. But he was a snob to the end.

          • Rayne says:

            Fine, but this is the last of it. scribe already expended 571 words on details which aren’t germane to the KH case since none of the charges against KH — two counts of homicide, one count of attempted homicide, two counts of reckless endangerment, one count of unlawful possession of a firearm, and one count of curfew violation — were related to the type of gun KH used.

            Community members need to realize certain topics are targets for disinformation campaigns which DDoS threads and can be used to damage sites.

              • scribe says:

                I dunno why KH instead of KR.
                I spent 571 words answering two questions posed by observiter. Like I said – straight questions => straight answers. Sometimes the “why” or the backup is necessary to explain an answer that might seem improbable or counterintuitive.

                Frankly, Rittenhouse was an idiot for going where he went and doing what he did; when there’s a riot, the best place to be is elsewhere. If you have to watch, do it through the TV. If it isn’t your house, neighborhood, business, protecting it is isn’t your job.

                But, at the same time, when he wound up there, armed as he was, all it took for my lawyer-trained eye was one good watch of the video available to know he had a valid, winnable self-defense claim. And that’s under just about any state’s law.

                Grab at the rifle a guy’s carrying and, under just about any set of conditions, you’re likely to get shot and the shooter can claim self-defense and win.

                Similarly, swing a skateboard at the head of a guy carrying a rifle and, under just about any set of conditions, you’re likely to get shot and the shooter can claim self-defense and win.

                Pull a pistol on a guy holding a rifle and point it at him and, under just about any set of conditions, you’re likely to get shot and the shooter can claim self-defense and win.

                  • scribe says:

                    I didn’t have any problem with yours, either. I just stuck my comment in the thread at a convenient spot.

                    I think the underlying issue was some website-running inside baseball.

                    • scribe says:

                      I’d much rather be talking trash about King Roger the Clown and his minions ruining football.
                      Not to mention Manfred the Shit-for-Brains Idiot declaring a lockout and ruining baseball.

                • Andrew Dabrowski says:

                  My thoughts exactly — I don’t understand how anyone watching the videos could come to a different conclusion.

            • Ginevra diBenci says:

              Rayne, the two prior gun posts gave me insights into why so many people (including otherwise ordinary-seeming teenagers from my home state) display such attachment and comfort with these guns. Based on scribe and Trouwaxer’s posts, I now understand the AR-15 phenomenon better. But no, I have no desire to blast a rabbithole out of the thread with them.

  23. Leoghann says:

    Bmaz has already pointed out that this is one case, with one particular set of facts, and one verdict from one jury. It never fails to amaze and frustrate me to see people who are ostensibly thoughtful compare the results of cases, sometimes similar, that are in two separate states, 2,000 miles apart. Or who compare federal and state cases, where there are drastically different laws that apply and sentencing guidelines. In Rittenhouse, there was a shooting in Kenosha, by an officer of the Kenosha PD, which led to protests in Kenosha. The trial was held in Kenosha, with a Kenosha County prosecutor and a Kenosha court judge. I.e.: this is what justice looks like right now in Kenosha, which is as white a town as you’ll find in Southern Wisconsin. In Springfield or Portland, in Butte or Cape Girardeau, similar situations might result in different outcomes all around. In particular, the laws in your state about what self defense comprises might be different. In Wisconsin, there is a large consideration in the self defense laws for what was going on in the mind of the defendant. That clearly (at least to me) had a large bearing on the verdict, as it should.

    • Rayne says:

      This, too, is what justice looks like in Kenosha:

      As you said, “…this is one case, with one particular set of facts, and one verdict from one jury.” Funny how that works over a bigger picture.

  24. Bay State Librul says:

    Rittenhouse verdict overturns Latham, Massachusetts vs Seinfeld, Kramer, Constanza, and Benis decision in 1998.

    You be the Judge

    Criminal indifference vs Criminal activity
    Kenosha Wisconsin vs Latham (Martha’s Vineyard) Massachusetts
    Larry David vs Tucker Carlson
    Judge Vandelay vs Judge Schroeder
    1998 vs 2021
    The Onion vs Fox News

    I agree with Peterr – The threats are real. The consequences drip with irony.

    What happened to the Good Samaritan?

  25. Zirc says:

    “This case was about one defendant in one set of facts. It is not about anything else, and should not be painted as such. A serious jury deliberated, reached a verdict and delivered it. It should be respected and not made a stalking horse for the brazen claims of either side.”

    I can’t disagree with this statement; but I don’t like it. I am reminded of something I read sometime in my past that “Justice is an idea. The law is a tool.” That’s harsh. And I don’t like it either. I get that Bmaz is a lawyer. He’s studied law. He’s practiced law for years. And I suspect that he cherishes and loves the law. I can respect that for certain. However, when so many “unique” cases that were “judged on the facts at hand with regard to applicable law” are decided in ways that in my gut I know are wrong, I have less respect for the law. I don’t like writing that. I don’t like feeling that way. Yes, in terms of the law Rittenhouse has nothing to do with Trayvon Martin has nothing to do with Breonna Taylor has nothing to do with Arbery has nothing to do with the Charlottesville lawsuit . . . But the law doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It exists in a society that is STILL slipping and sliding towards/away from racial justice. And, like it or not, it IS used as a tool both by forces trying to reach an ideal of racial justice and by those opposed to that ideal. I am not surprised by the verdict, but it makes me ill. As I inch further and further into my sixties, I realize that much of the progress I’d like to see won’t happen in my lifetime. I’m not alone in that. And many people better and wiser than I, with more faith than I have, have fought on despite that knowledge. I guess I just have to put my shoulder to the wheel. Still, allow me to feel just a little bit ill at this “unique” decision. And, I’m sorry, that illness comes with a little less respect for the seriousness of that judge, jury, and, yes, the incompetent prosecutor.


    • Chetnolian says:

      Your own comment describes to a lawyer exactly why you are wrong. The key phrase is “in my gut”. The law, particularly the criminal law, is designed to deal with exactly that. IT applies rules over emotions, and so it should. Under Wisconsin law, the jury decided, Rittenhouse was not guilty. Arguably the only way justice would not have been served would be if he had not been tried. Voters in Wisconsin, should there be enough of them, can vote people in who will change laws which appear wrong in their respective guts. That’s how it works.

      • Zirc says:

        I knew someone would call me on the phrase “in my gut” and debated rewriting that sentence, but I left it in there because “in my gut I know are wrong” was more honest than “I know are wrong.” As for “how it works,” justice remains an ideal and the law remains a tool. And the judge and jury found a way to make it their tool. I have to admit that I was 99.9% certain that the verdict would turn out this way, but I clung to that tenth of a percent only to be disappointed. Hence, a little less faith in and love for the law at least on my part. Will the voters of Wisconsin change the law that feels wrong in their collective guts? I have little faith in that happening any time soon, especially given the way that voter suppression has become codified in so many places, including Wisconsin. Mr Dabrowski, commenting below, cautions me against becoming a “mirror image” of those I oppose. That IS a danger. But, unlike them, I still see an ideal (justice) while they merely see a tool (law). And, yes, one has to guard against self-righteousness. The answer, of course, is to keep on working, each giving in our own way. I envy the happy warriors, who can keep working towards a promised land that they will never see.


    • Andrew Dabrowski says:

      Your argument is with the countries legislatures, and as such is perfectly valid. But that anger shouldn’t cloud you judgement about this case – that way you end up as the mirror image of the people you oppose.

      • Kenster42 says:

        This is exactly right. On my own FB I keep telling people again and again. Your anger should be directed at the laws of the State of Wisconsin, not at the jurors who provided this verdict. Open carry / long rifle / stand your ground, all these statutes played a part in why he was acquitted.

        • Leoghann says:

          Not to mention the inclusion of the defendant’s state of mind during the act, as a consideration for a defense of self defense.

    • JohnJ says:

      To me, it appears that we are going backwards as the idealism of my youth fades away to nothing. I have to always remind myself the progress I fooled my self into seeing, wasn’t real and things haven’t changed, my perception has. It does temper my disappointment in the society I live in.

      • pasha says:

        amen! it is getting harder to retain the idealism that inspired me in my youth. i hope that is just my problem

        • bmaz says:

          It is not just you. It can get dispiriting sometimes.

          But all you can do is keep at it, especially locally. Even school boards are now under attack. All of us can make a difference.

  26. Wiggans says:

    Impatience with the reality that processes deriving from democracy sometimes yield results that are or appear to be plain wrong or unjust is being stoked by interests that are looking for more expeditious paths to power for themselves. Trump’s ends-obsessed scorn for rules, his defiance of all institutional constraints on his will have given that impatience an orgasmic impetus towards effecting a riotous redefinition of American governance. And here we are, too many of us taking the bait of a result that offends our sensibilities to allow space for their thesis that these rules we naively follow are being used against us, this democracy thing is not working, cannot work anymore.

    Witness the process of converting our imperfect democratic order into their perfect chaos.

  27. Bobby Gladd says:

    Thanks to bmaz for posting this in the wake of the KR-17 verdict, and to everyone for their contributions to the discussion.

    I have long looked askance at all of this melodramatic cosplay “militia” preening. Usually content, though, to indulge in Photoshop-assisted mockery. e.g.,

    Got some charming online “death threats” over that puppy. LOL.

    More recently, I poked this camera moth Michigan “Booglaloo Boi” dude, tweeting shit like “are you REALLY an undercover FBI informant? That’s what’s going around, bro’.”

    We’ll see if the Rittenhouse thing roils stuff further, or just dissipates. They will, of course, now milk this kid for all the grift they can grab.

  28. ptayb says:

    Kyle Rittenhouse is a child. I don’t understand why we have seperate courts for juveniles unless they commit a big crime. A child’s lack of brain development isn’t magically cured based on the level of the offence. I watched some of the trial. Kyle Rittenhouse looked and acted like a child. What was he doing in adult court?

    • Jenny says:

      Yes, a child acting like an adult carrying an automatic weapon who killed two people and wounded another.

      This glorification of guns continues to escalate. When incidents like this happen, gun sales go up. More armed individuals more killings.

      Violence is a major issue in this country. As a society, we need to be protecting children, not guns. Again, I ask, “What are we teaching our children?”

      • ptayb says:

        Here is a Dahlia Lithwick article imagining the future if the Supreme Court loosens restrictions on where you can go if you are armed and what it means for self-defence pleas :

        Violence is gaining acceptance as a tool of political persuasion. I can’t imagine how to get people to back down and dissarm when we have politicians calling for people to be armed and dangerous in our Congress :

        • Jenny says:

          Thanks for the links.
          Yes, plus shot politicians, Giffords and Scalise goes ignored. Too many representatives doing nothing to support gun control. I thought the tragedy of Sandy Hook would turn things around – nothing. Now vigilante violence is encouraged and cheered sending out messages through social media to rally followers. Men carrying guns bonded in the drug of hate looking for a fight.

          Highly disturbing is the lack of respect for life, compassion and empathy. Change starts from within.

        • matt fischer says:

          “[T]he Ur-Fascist hero craves heroic death, advertised as the best reward for a heroic life. The Ur-Fascist hero is impatient to die. In his impatience, he more frequently sends other people to death.” — Umberto Eco

    • bmaz says:

      Rittenhouse was 17 at the time of the shooting. In Wisconsin, for criminal cases, anybody over 17 is tried as an adult. And, frankly, doubt there is anywhere that would have tried him as a juvenile for those crimes, even if it was technically possible.

  29. observiter says:

    I checked the Wisconsin gun laws. Assault weapons are illegal in Wisconsin except for rare occasions. I also think the gun issue was not the (main) issue in the case, but it was made to be and left to be. Rittenhouse carried an item that could be used in a dangerous way. He could have had an openly-displayed big long strong knife with huge teeth or a baseball bat. No Wisconsin self-defense gun law there, or does the law apply to baseball bats and knifes, etc.

  30. Kenster42 says:

    OK – I think I know the answer already but want to ask this question here because there’s a lot of legal folks that know much more about this type of thing than I do. There’s a theory out there that ADA Binger deliberately tanked the trial because he knew it was unwinnable and was upset that the DA dumped it on him because the DA knew it was unwinnable and wanted a fall guy. It would explain some of the more insane things Binger did (the fifth amendment bit, the high compression / low compression thing). Thoughts?

    • bmaz says:

      Lol, no. First off, prosecutors don’t really ever do that. Second, Binger went over the line trying to convict Rittenhouse.

      • Andrew Dabrowski says:

        IANAL, so I defer to your judgement. But it sure seems odd that he went over the line with a judge who was sure to call him on it.

  31. foggycoast says:

    there is what i see as a clear distinction in these comments between the lawyers and non-lawyers. lawyer see it in purely legalistic terms. non-lawyers see a more cultural component. there should be a middle ground. the law is not purely objective. it lives in the context of the current climate. to say otherwise would suggest that there is no need for judging. the subjective part of the law should and does include the context. judges make examples of convicted people all the time. the law is partly intended to dissuade people from certain behavior that the current culture objects to. and culture changes so laws do too. legal weed is an example. so this may haver been tried in the way the law intended, but necessarily the way the culture did. i’m sure the lawyers will tell me why i’m wrong.

  32. surfer2099 says:

    Admittedly, I only tuned in only for portions of the trial but IMHO, here’s what I saw:

    Prosecution: Rittenhouse was the aggressor due to his actions earlier in the evening, therefore he cannot claim self-defense.

    Defense: Rittenhouse was being chased and attacked and felt threatened and there for he defended himself with whatever force he felt he needed, regardless of what his attackers were using.

    Jury: We limited the scope of our decision to just what occurred in the moments of the actual shooting and disregarded the rest of the information as fluff.

    Judge: How can I best apply false equivalencies to this case to annoy the media for turning my courtroom into a spectacle?

      • surfer2099 says:

        lol… I said at the very beginning, it was only my opinion, so yes, no evidence was offered and my viewing was limited.

        But I wholly enjoy your response and word selection. ;)

        Can I find the term, “jabberwocky” in Black’s dictionary?

  33. darms says:

    So it looks as if the next time I am at a protest, if I see a gun being carried by someone who is not a legal official in uniform then I should leave as I am in danger of being shot. So much for my right to protest…

    • Kenster42 says:

      If you’re referring to the lesson of this particular case, no. The lesson is the next time you are at a protest, if you see someone carrying a long gun who is not a legal official in uniform, don’t taunt that person then chase them and pull a Glock on them / swing a skateboard at their head / try to grab their gun. QED.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Rather depends on what the person with the long gun is doing with it, what others directly observe about it, and what they think they can responsibly do about it, if they think something needs doing. That’s not snark: the question is likely to come up often.

      • Rayne says:

        That’s what you took away from this? That protesters have to mind themselves so as not to be shot by vigilantes while exercising their First Amendment rights?

        Or is there more to this than your simple “don’t make the unauthorized out-of-state armed teenager defend himself”?

        That’s a rhetorical question. Your 13 comments inside less than 3 hours in this one thread already tell us where your head’s at.

        • Kenster42 says:

          Contrary to what folks might think based on my “13 comments”, I think Kyle Rittenhouse is a bad person. He should not have been there that night. He was an idiot for being there. I’m infuriated that the right has made him into a hero. Etc.

          That doesn’t change the fact that the only people that got shot that night were people that actively engaged in fighting with him. One was completely mentally ill and tried to take his gun. One got caught up in the moment and attacked him with a skateboard, and one raised a gun to shoot him and got shot first. None of those actions had anything to do with protesting.

          My comment above was a very specific comment to someone who extrapolated dramatically and unnecessarily about what happened that night in Kenosha. I think it’s entirely accurate to say that had he been in Kenosha that night and didn’t try to attack Rittenhouse, he was not in danger of being shot, just like the thousands of other people that were in Kenosha that night who didn’t try to attack Rittenhouse and left just fine.

            • Marinela says:

              Well, we will never know, he is dead, so he cannot tell his story.
              Blaming the victim is not the way to analyze these situations.
              There is more context to this situation than just the seconds of the shooting.
              Nobody had to die that nigh.

              Rosenbaum was probably feeling threatened by the dumb fucker carrying a gun acting as if he owns the place.

              Plus, KR didn’t know at the time those people had criminal records. Not that should justify shooting somebody…

              Cycles of violence are started this way, and this is why you see places in the world when they cannot escape it, Palestinians versus Israelis for example.

              It starts with victims not getting justice, coming out learning the wrong lessons, KR’s mother not taking any responsibility for her son’s behavior, her role on raising a broken citizen, programmed to act as an entitled white men.

              • Andrew Dabrowski says:

                Did you see the video from earlier in the evening where Rosenbaum is yelling “shoot me nigga” in people’s faces? Is he even entitled to a free pass on racism?

                • Marinela says:

                  Now you are worried about Rosenbaum being racist?

                  We don’t shoot people that are yelling things we don’t like, openly racist stuff.
                  Where have you been in last few years?
                  Did you ever heard of “Lock Her up”, “Go back where you come from”, “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.”

                  Bringing a gun to a protest you don’t agree with, with intention to use it, is premeditation.
                  But I guess it was hard to prove it in court.

          • Rayne says:

            And showing up at a protest openly carrying an assault weapon — uninvited — is in no way threatening or antagonizing. Got it — in fact, already got it from your earlier 13 now 14 comments. we’ve heard you plenty.

              • earlofhuntingdon says:

                How reliable is that figure? Is it anecdotal, a police guess, or based on solid facts? And how many of those who carried shot three and killed two people? Just one.

      • P J Evans says:

        What you mean is, I think, get out of there, and let the authorities know there’s someone with a dangerous weapon and where you saw them.

    • Marinela says:

      There was a guy that killed a right-wing protester I think it was in Portland, while Trump was President. He went in hiding, and the police basically executed him when they located him, after he gave an interview to vice.
      In the interview to vice he mentioned that he wanted to turn himself in to tell his story, but he was afraid that he would be executed. In the interview he said that he acted in self-defense.

      • Andrew Dabrowski says:

        That was a very different case. It’s true that the alt-right victim was inciting violence, but the murder occurred hours later when he was shot in the back in cold blood. I agree it’s suspicious that the police didn’t seem to make a serious attempt to take the suspect (white btw) alive.

  34. OldTulsaDude says:

    If two people both fear for their lives, is justice only a matter of which one has the quickest trigger finger? That sounds to me more like Yippee Ki-aye than law.

    • dude says:

      What you are saying is sort of where I end up too. But I think it is too much to ask the courts to deliver justice. They deliver judgement on legality. Justice, in my view, goes to morality.

    • bmaz says:

      Again, an individual criminal case Is never a balm for what the greater public considers “justice”. Don’t make them about that.

  35. Troutwaxer says:

    This may change the entire tone of our debate. CNN is reporting that a Fox News crew was embedded with Kyle’s defense.

    CUOMO: Who were the people who were paying?

    RICHARDS: The people who were raising money. It was…this defense was crowd funded.

    CUOMO: But who were the people making the calls about who got to have access to the process?

    RICHARDS: Kyle’s family and his adviser.

    This may be worth looking into further. And did Fox make any contributions to the defense fund?

    • ThomasH says:

      I also wonder if this news is something that’s more or less irrelevant to the case and the subsequent verdict, or is it something that should’ve been known by the judge and prosecution?

  36. DAT says:

    Your experience make your comments and explanations about what happens within the courthouse walls additionally valuable to your readers. I must, however, impersonate Mr. Obvious, and say the law’s effects often do not end at the courthouse walls. Most of your readers are part of the polity who, at least nominally, promulgated these laws, and most of your readers are citizens who must live under them. This means that the comments of, for example, Mr. Mystal, have not one whit of value added, nor one speck of verity taken away by his never having tried a case.

    I ask the commentariat’s indulgence. I know this imaginating does not map on to KHR’s case, but I put it here all the same.

    I fear the obscene proliferation of guns, the stand your ground laws, and the revocation of ‘duty to retreat,’ have generated a situation where any sociopath who wakes up on the wrong side of the bed can simply strap, go downtown, and try to find someone who won’t take his provocation. A physical gesture or an angry word will often suffice. Our sociopath whips out his gun and fires. He next lays it on the ground and begins sobbing “I feared for my life!” The police report their only possible response is to return the gun to our sociopath and escort him home.

    Weapons of war belong on a battlefield, not the streets of civilization. And no, not for hunting either. If you are a hunter you need a way to kill your quary, not vaporize it.

  37. dpa says:

    I’ve struggled all day with this verdict and this thread. But late this evening I think I’m starting to understand bmaz’ postings. Maybe. It’s an argument that the law actually works, and worked in this case, despite the kick in the gut so many are feeling. If the laws need to be changed, that’s a different discussion. In that sense it’s a sort of reasurring message. The system is not broken. I appreciate that. It gives me a different way to think about these events. Thank you.

  38. TooLoose LeTruck says:

    I’ve been wondering ever since the verdict came out what you would have to say about it and I’m somehow… relieved… to both see what you do say about it and that I, in my own layman’s way, pretty much came to the same conclusion.

    It is rather upsetting to see just how many people on both sides are trying to make hay on this mess.

    Thank you.

    • bmaz says:

      Is there a self defense instruction available to Black? No? Then don’t ask silly questions, they are not similar cases.

    • Rugger9 says:

      It’s the law, and without this step the others would not have occurred either. No mercy from me for this one.

      • Rugger9 says:

        It’s not really different conceptually from someone buying underage kids alcohol and being held liable if they later injure / kill someone with their car while DUI. Lots of case law on that ownership, I think.

    • P J Evans says:

      Go back to the 1970s, when one politician was found guilty of accepting a bribe that another was found innocent of offering.

  39. Katie Jensen says:

    There is a worthy discussion to be had about what you do if there is shooting at people in a crowd and whether or not you attempt to disarm them. At a school, they aren’t allowed, that takes care of that. But clearly in a protest this would be muddy, where emotions are high, and killings have occurred. There was a big case here in omaha around the issue of self defense during Floyd BLM protests. And I appreciate Bmaz’s point about self defense in regard to DV issues. And I get that it is a nuanced argument that is regarded on case to case basis. The case in omaha involved a guy who went down town to protect his business from looters. He and his son were armed. As a group of protestors marched the son came out onto the side walk with his gun. Fired a shot. A black protestor jumped on him to try to remove the gun, or stop him from shooting at the crowd. He was killed. The store owner had a long reputation for being a racist. The son was convicted by a grand jury. The son then went out west and killed himself refusing to show up for sentence.

    It’s so subjective. And in my opinion, fraught with danger. My kids (all four were at the protests that night), saw bus loads of KKK members (real? fake?) join the protests with white supremacy t-shirts and signs. My kids are wise and stayed out of the fray and followed laws but reported that the environment was very scary. It was hard to know who was who.

    Can you say, guns not allowed at protests?? Is there a solution??

    • Gonzalo says:

      Who should disarm armed people in protests should be the police, not other citizens.

      The KKK died in the 80s (the classic KKK died after the Second World War), those violent young people better called neonazis, are brainless young people who to quench their thirst for blood have joined a neonazi group that imitates the KKK to get fame, they have no ideology they just want to join an group that helps them quench their thirst for blood, being white skinned the easiest thing for them is to join a neonazi or supremacist group.

        • Gonzalo says:

          I do it very well, if you don’t like it I’m sorry, don’t force you to read me.

          Use better arguments instead of disqualifying.

          [NB: Welcome to emptywheel. You may wish to consult our Community Guidelines as well as our About Us page where you’ll note bmaz is Team Emptywheel and our resident grizzly bear. / ~Rayne]

          • Desider says:

            Re: admin note, bmaz is a puppy compared to him in days gone by – maybe a bit Billy Goat Gruff here & there, but no flame throwers, no chewed off limbs – was wondering if was on a special diet or just more tip-toe emcee’ing a high interest Q&A thread.

  40. Franktoo says:

    What happens when two opposing protesters behaving like Rittenhouse or these demonstrators confront each other at the same demonstration? Is one destined to die and the other to be found innocent because he acted in self-defense? Is there some non-criminal mistake one of the two can make that can lead to one’s death without the other being convicted of some crime for the killing?

    I seems to me that the law on self-defense should be written so that the aggressor needs to have committed so type of crime before his death can be justified as an act of self-defense.

    Unfortunately, if you consider the traditional Western showdown in the street between two armed men, one is likely to kill the other in self-defense. So, is the “crime” I’m looking for above. Should it be a crime for two armed people to confront each other in the street while armed in a threatening way?

    • Gonzalo says:

      One can die or both, the right of a person to defend themselves from an attack cannot be taken away even if both people have previously provoked each other, who must prevent them from killing each other is the police they must separate them and send them to be judged.

    • Leoghann says:

      This is a question I have as well, along with several friends with whom I was discussing this earlier today. With the application of self defense law in this case, it seems like Wisconsin has legalized duels.

  41. PieIsDamnGood says:

    I don’t understand why he wasn’t convicted on the reckless endangerment of the Daily Caller reporter? I don’t think self defense was an allowed defense for that charge.

  42. Charity says:

    Thank you for this discussion, Bmaz, with two sides of the issue clearly represented. I wonder what the latest tragedy will add to what has been discussed here. The immediate repercussion to the acquittal appears to be a black Milwaukee resident who drove a car into a group of white people in protest of the verdict. For me, it supports the fear that extending this specific legal case into the social realm is not good for our civil life, and now we have the first example of this, not from supporters of the verdict but from an opponent, and not with a gun but with a car.

    [Welcome to emptywheel. Let’s get this straight right now that uncorroborated claims aren’t going to fly here; this site won’t act as an amplifier for propaganda. You may wish to check the site’s Community Guidelines being new here. /~Rayne]

  43. Nord Dakota says:

    I do have trouble with the idea that the guy who bought the gun Kyle presumably could not buy legally but could still apparently possess and use legally (then why could he not buy it? And if he could in fact buy it why is it illegal for someone else to buy it for him?) is, as far as I have read, still going to be prosecuted here. I’ve read some stuff with regard to the Wisconsin law but have not followed all the references (I think those are in the statute) to other statutes, I thought perhaps this would pertain to someone actually engaging in hunting (legal game, of course).

    I have a hard time with the people who are proclaiming moral as well as legal vindication for KR–because he killed a “child rapist” (wasn’t rape, actually), because the looters were going to kill him, because he was defending property, etc etc.

    His being a current Beanie Baby for Fox News does not bode well for his future maturity. Nor does his mother.

    • P J Evans says:

      He said today that he supports BLM…which may or may not be true, but a lot of his “supporters” may disappear.

  44. Dude says:

    Meanwhile, here in Louisville, “Grandmaster Jay” has been indicted by both state and federal grand juries for allegedly aiming ‘a rifle at an FBI agent, a Secret Service agent and several Louisville Metro Police officers while they were on the roof of a downtown building…

    About 8:30 the night before the rescheduled [Kentucky] Derby, the officers on the roof were “blinded by a light which they shortly thereafter determined was a flashlight mounted to the rifle being aimed at them by Johnson,” according to a federal complaint.’

    A flashlight is gonna get this guy thrown in jail for twenty years — notwithstanding his general or particular idiocy, that’s… not good.

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