November 16, 2021

This is not about Kyle Rittenhouse; it’s about the Future of our Society.

 

“Hocus pocus out-of-focus evidence.”

These were the words of defense attorney Mark Richards.

I have to admit that watching the trial was challenging at times. Why? Because I am angry—and because I feel that it’s “hocus pocus out-of-focus,” but in a different way.

It blows my mind how anyone can still defend Kyle Rittenhouse. Seriously, he killed two men and almost killed another with an AR-15—and it’s all on tape.

At the same time, I see folks on social media portraying Rittenhouse as an innocent boy who was acting in self-defense—and they really believe that after seeing all the evidence.

Hearing the story of Anthony Huber got me quite emotional. Not only that this dude looks a bit like me—Huber went out that night to protest systemic racism and ended up getting shot by a White kid with an AR-15.

He tried to stop Rittenhouse by hitting him with his skateboard. Huber saw Rittenhouse as an active shooter and tried to stop him from causing more damage. To be honest, that’s exactly what I would have done if I was him.

The day after the deadly protests in Kenosha, I was talking to a young American who lived in Costa Rica at that time. He told me, “Rittenhouse is a hero. I would also kill any of these Antifa-bitches at any time.”

Wow, I was shocked. Not only that it felt as if that dude casually told me that he would be willing to kill someone like me, but he also felt that it was the right thing to do.

Who is right? Who is wrong? And who is going to decide about that?

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It might be news to some of us arguing on social media about the case, but it’s the jury who will decide about the faith of Rittenhouse—not you, not me, and not any troll on the internet.

And that is the bottom line in this controversial case: we can’t take the law into our own hands.

Rittenhouse should have never felt entitled to protect private property with an AR-15. But Huber was also not asked to stop an active shooter. Most of these folks on the streets of Kenosha that night shouldn’t have been there. There was a curfew in place.

It might be an unpopular opinion, but I feel that self-entitlement and lack of respect for the law caused this situation.

Of course, we could go on forever and discuss whose fault it was that two men had to die that night. Or we could talk about how to avoid this kind of violence in the future.

The verdict is going to cause anger either way. If Rittenhouse gets acquitted, folks will be upset—but if he gets locked up, folks will also be upset. And then?

The last thing the United States needs right now is more violence. But with our current attitude, the verdict is going to cause even more violence—and that’s where things get really dangerous.

If Rittenhouse leaves the courthouse as a free man, there will be protests—some of them might turn out violent. If the jury decides that Rittenhouse defended himself that night, we will see far-right activists taking that as an invitation to show up with an AR-15 at any demonstration of their choice.

This is not about Rittenhouse or Huber; this is about the future of our society.

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Do we really want a society that allows its members to use deadly force against each other? What might sound like a technicality to most of us touches one of the most important questions of our time.

If we allow citizens to take the law into their hands, they will make mistakes. Humans make mistakes. Cops get trained and still make mistakes. What makes us think that an average person is entitled to physically attack someone else because they think that it’s the right thing to do?

And yes, that goes for my friend who defends Rittenhouse, but it also applies to me who sympathizes with Huber.

Maybe we are all wrong on this? It’s time to take a look at the bigger picture.

The protests in 2020 were originally caused by Derek Chauvin killing George Floyd Jr.—but Floyd was by far not the first Black person who lost his life because of systemic racism. People were angry—I get it. We can’t deny that the United States has a problem when it comes to racism.

At the same time, people are arguing about Critical Race Theory (CRT), Conservatives complain about so-called Cancel Culture, and a not-so-small group of people wanted to “Make America Great Again” by storming the Capitol on January 6th.

There are a lot of things to talk about, and they all somehow relate to the Rittenhouse trial. This trial is just another piece of the puzzle—and it’s quite an important one that could change the United States forever.

It’s one thing to debate CRT, cancel culture, and the MAGA movement, but it’s another to allow weapons as a tool to make our case.

Why would anyone show up to a protest with an AR-15? Just imagine everyone would do that. And what’s next? Is everyone going to bring a weapon to a bar, restaurant, or nightclub? Is every fistfight going to end in a shooting in the future?

Of course, I am exaggerating here, but there is also some truth to that. Some supporters of Rittenhouse argued that he had no choice but to kill the dudes who attacked him, but I don’t agree with that at all. I don’t even deny that Joseph Rosenbaum might have kicked the sh*t out of him that evening, but does that justify killing Rosenbaum?

Let’s say Rittenhouse would have become the victim of violence that night; he would have had a good chance of winning that trial against Rosenbaum—but everyone would still be alive today. Instead, Rittenhouse took the law into his hands and killed Rosenbaum.

Let’s say Huber wouldn’t have tried to stop Rittenhouse, and nobody would have blamed him for that. Who knows, maybe Rittenhouse would have just walked away, and Huber would still be alive today.

Let’s say nobody would have shown up on the streets of Kenosha that night—there would be no trial, no dead dudes, and no national outrage.

I understand that many of us feel the urge to do something about injustice when we see it, but that doesn’t entitle us to take the law into our hands.

We all saw what happens when armed citizens try to replace the police at a protest. We all saw what happens when both sides of the political spectrum clash. We all know what happens if another person gets shot.

Let’s talk about how to prevent any of this in the future instead. Let’s talk about why folks are willing to kill each other. Let’s talk about how we can all live in the same country without hating each other.

And most importantly: let’s talk about guns.

To use the words of defense attorney Richards: this entire trial is “hocus pocus out-of-focus.” This is not about Rittenhouse, Huber, or Rosenbaum; this is about gun laws.

When gun owners claim that they need their weapons to defend themselves, I was always wondering what that would look like in real life. The deadly incidents in Kenosha answered this question.

People make mistakes, and that’s already a good reason why nobody should carry a gun in public. People misjudge situations, which is another reason why nobody should be armed in daily life.

As long as folks feel entitled to use deadly force in physical altercations, we will see events like this one happening again and again. If Rittenhouse gets acquitted, even more people will feel entitled to make their case by carrying guns in public.

This case is not about Rittenhouse; it’s about gun control—and not about this “hocus pocus out-of-focus” debate about self-defense.

 

 

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