The Rittenhouse case is in the hands of the jury, and there are a lot of people opining about the wider implications of the case. David French, the Never Trumper formerly of National Review, now of an obscure publication called The Dispatch, tweeted, “The movement to make a hero out of Kyle Rittenhouse is both ridiculous and dangerous. He was a foolish kid wielding a deadly weapon.”
Now, I’ve said before that if I were Kyle Rittenhouse’s mom or dad, I would discourage him from doing this, so there’s an element of me that agrees with French. But there’s another side to it that I want to highlight because I’m a little offended by this tone from David French. I could almost retitle his article: “Why I, David French, sitting on my butt while Antifa thugs are burning down Kenosha, am morally superior to a lower-middle-class white teenager who rushed to defend a community where his dad and other family members lived.”
This Rittenhouse kid has guts; he has more guts than the prosecutor who himself said he wouldn’t go out there. The cops weren’t there. They came, but they came much later. Much of the male population of Kenosha was cowering in fear, hiding in their homes while left-wing rioters were destroying the city. Who’s the real hero here? A case can be made that the real hero is Kyle Rittenhouse.
The left is trying to demonize him just as they tried to demonize the McCloskeys when they came out of their home in St. Louis, guns drawn, because they’re trying to demonize all of us along with the Second Amendment, the idea that you can use force and guns to defend yourself when you are under a direct assault that you didn’t start and didn’t provoke.
So gun rights are very much on trial, and I say that because this is such an open and shut case of self-defense. In each of the three incidents, Kyle was directly attacked in a manner that he had reason to fear would cause him deadly harm if not death. If you don’t vindicate self-defense here, where can you vindicate it? What’s an easier case? It’s hard to say.
The left’s common refrain here is we can’t have vigilante justice. That’s the lesson that they’re drawing from this. This is the lesson that Jen Psaki said President Biden wanted to convey. On MSNBC, there’s pretty much the same message which is: this is all vigilantism.
I want to argue that vigilante justice arises out of the failure of normal justice. I just read a little item that says 500 National Guardsmen are now in Kenosha in case there are riots over the verdict; I guess they are thinking it might be an acquittal, so they need the National Guard. But if you had those 500 National Guardsmen before, you wouldn’t have had the riots.
If you don’t have law and order, when you have people looting and marauding and burning your town, and the cops are nowhere to be seen, what other form of justice is there other than vigilante justice? I think back to the Charles Bronson movies of the 1970s when New York, at least in the movie, was portrayed as absolutely the Wild West. Rape, and murder, and pillage occurring all over the place, and so the reason we identify with Charles Bronson in those movies is because we recognize that vigilante justice may be a crude form of justice, but it is justice.
It’s the same thing in the old Western movies. You have a kind of stranger who comes in from out of town — the man with the gun — he becomes, in a sense, the enforcer of justice. Now is he appointed sheriff? Was he elected? Who told him he could enforce the law? Well, when there’s lawlessness around…
The key point here is that the left created this lawlessness. It sanctioned it. It signed off on it. It could easily have been stopped. And we see this when the prosecutor goes out there and calls Antifa a crowd full of heroes. He’s talking about criminals, pedophiles, domestic abusers, terrible people, the absolute dregs of society.
But the left loves these people. Why? Because they’re doing the paramilitary bidding of the left. They’re the Colectivos of Venezuela. They’re the Brownshirts of the Nazis. They’re the Blackshirts of Mussolini. This is the left. They want it to be so that they can be marauding at their say-so, and the rest of us just step back. They don’t like Kyle Rittenhouse because he said enough is enough. He drew his AR-15. That’s what terrifies the left. That’s why they want to go after him — they’re after the larger phenomenon of brave people defending themselves.
I think one of the lessons of Kyle Rittenhouse is that if we see a mass breakdown of law and order and if we see the left unlashing these paramilitaries on the street, we’re going to need hundreds if not thousands of Kyle Rittenhouses.
If it wasn’t Kyle Rittenhouse alone, but let’s just call it a kind of Rittenhouse Squad, 100 people with AR-15s in Kenosha all marching together, I think the Antifa guys would have been stopped dead in their tracks. They would have been stopped by a citizen militia — kind of Kyle Rittenhouse times 100 — and this is really what gets the left all freaked out. Not because they’re against violence — they want all the violence to come from their side — they don’t want any kind of violence to stop their violence. That’s why they don’t want the cops on the scene, and that’s why they don’t want Kyle Rittenhouse.
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