Interesting response. I'm usually accused of toeing the Republican Party line. I try not to toe any party line. I just want to know the truth, politics aside. Agreed, most of the legacy media sources mangled the story. I don't know I would go so far as to call Rittenhouse a dangerous vigilante, although the point of my essay was to note that vigilantism is the logical response to a lawless situation or one in which the vigilante doesn't feel justice is being or will be done. Rittenhouse should have never gone there with a gun, as that likely elevated the emotions and stress levels of his assailants, whom he shot. Legally, by Wisconsin law, it was self-defense, but I suspect if no one at that protest had a gun it would have just been some typical male fisticuffs with some bruised bodies and egos. When you add guns to an already volatile situation it can easily turn deadly. And, of course, I condemn the rioting and looting in Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, and other cities, such as the smash-and-grab incidents in SF recently. That's another unfortunate outcome of lawlessness. If the government signals that they will not do anything about escalating violence, as in these cities, we are going to see more and more such incidents.

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Interesting analysis Gary, but the hindsight bias is blinding us on what it must have been like for Rittenhouse when he was assaulted by Rosenbaum. We can analyze the incident by milliseconds and then reason that, say, the first discharged bullet was warranted but not the rest, as if he had multiple seconds between shots while the scene was unfolding in slo-mo and could reason through each one. That's not how emotions work. The rage circuit lights up and the gun is engaged and the finger just pulls the trigger over and over. In hindsight, of course, we can break it down and see what each bullet did, but that's literally unreasonable. The ultimate preventative measure would be to not have a gun at all, or better still avoid potentially violent situations altogether. And that leads back to my main point: the police should have provided a stronger shadow of enforcement over the entire protest, including threats against property damage in the neighborhood (which is why Rittenhouse said he had gone there in the first place). A more clear-cut case of vigilantism turned murderous is that of the three white men just convicted of murder today for chasing and shooting Ahmaud Arbery as he ran through their neighborhood, with a Georgia jury rejecting a self-defense claim. I also think this was the right verdict in this case.

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Michael, Rittenhouse would have had "multiple seconds between shots" had he reasonably acted in self-defense. He should have employed what I call the SSAR method of self-defense: Shoot once, Step back, Assess injury, and Repeat if necessary. This is the application of a more general principle which I learned in my training -- "Use the MINIMAL amount of force necessary to control the situation."

The "rage circuits" or anger emotions can be suppressed by proper training, by well-publized examples of justice acheived in courts, and by self-control circuits. The Rittenhouse verdict taught gun owners the wrong lesson.

Of course, I agree with you on the need for greater police presence and the just verdict in the Arbery case.

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My Conclusions on the Rittenhouse Case: 11-24-2021

I watched about 40% of the Kyle Rittenhouse trial in November of 2021, read and watched many commentaries on the case, and engaged in many debates about it. Rittenhouse was acquitted of all charges, apparently because the jury judged that he acted in self-defense. I believe that the jury reached a correct decision of “not guilty” with respect to the last two of three victims shot by Rittenhouse, but was incorrect in its decision on the first victim, i.e. Joseph Rosenbaum. In explaining my conclusion I will use the initials RT for Rittenhouse and RB for Rosenbaum.

The evidence showed that RB had earlier threatened to kill RT and subsequently chased RT to an area with many parked cars. RB threw a bag (contents unknown) at RT and charged aggressively towards him. Any reasonable person would have thought that RB had positioned himself to immediately do serious bodily injury to RT or even kill him, and thus RT was justified to act in self-defense by firing the FIRST of four shots at RB with his rifle. The first bullet hit RB in the hip, disabled him, and caused him to fall to the ground. RT had achieved the goal of self-defense – stop an imminent attack. However, RT then shot three more times, striking RB, and the fourth shot was the “kill shot,” striking RB in the back. Thus, after the first shot, RT did NOT act in self-defense. He acted with malice, intending to kill RB.

The jury should have convicted RT of murder with regards to the first victim – RB. The jury made what is known as “a false negative error.” A just penalty would have been 25 years in prison for RT.

The most important lesson to be learned from this case is that each pull of a trigger of a firearm is a SEPARATE VOLUNTARY ACT which must be judged carefully to determine if it is a crime. In the Rittenhouse case the first pull of the trigger was an act of self-defense, but the subsequent three pulls of the same trigger were acts of malice. RT should have shot RB ONCE, paused, and assessed the effects. Had he done so, he would have seen that he had achieved his goal and stopped the attack of RB, and this victim would probably have survived. RT should then have immediately retreated and surrendered himself to the police.

It is sad that a jury did not fully make the right decision. We must ponder what can be done to avoid such mistakes by a jury in the future.

In addition, in no way should a minor be able to acquire, possess, and use a firearm as RT did.

Also, the manufacturers and sellers of firearms should be prohibited from selling rapid-fire weapons to the general public. (RT was able to fire four rounds in .75 seconds!) These deadly weapons should only be used by the police and military.

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For a self-described skeptic, Michael Shermer is easily duped by the mainstream media. Leftist pundits told us that Rittenhouse is a white supremacist, had no business being in Kenosha, carried an illegal weapon across state lines, attacked innocent protesters, and on and on. When their lies about Rittenhouse were exposed in the trial and ultimately repudiated by the jury, many in the media pivoted to a new false narrative: Rittenhouse is a dangerous vigilante. As described by Dinesh D'Souza and Charles Hurt (in the below linked articles), this is an error of both fact and understanding, yet Schermer quickly repeated the narrative. In his view, vigilantes are the real danger, not the rioters, looters and arsonists who have threatened lives and destroyed cities all across America during the last year and a half.

On many topics, such as religion, UFO sightings, and the paranormal, we can count on Shermer to base his evaluation on reason and the evidence. If there is a political component to the claim, however, Shermer nearly always toes the (Democratic) Party line. It's unfortunate, since we need true skeptics today more than ever.




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