Gun Laws & Legislation

HOOBER: The Dogs And Ponies Of Kenosha


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By Sam Hoober

The right and wrong of the Kyle Rittenhouse shootings can be debated elsewhere. Was it self-defense (sure looked like it) or was it not, did he deliberately put himself in that position, and yadda yadda yadda. Those things have been discussed elsewhere and at length.

Usually, any particular high-profile court case is just an example of something that happened that isn’t all that unique but for whatever reason captured national (or even international) attention. Getting into the merits or demerits of the court case is next to pointless.

What isn’t pointless is seeing the bigger picture in whatever happened, if there is one. And there are definitely some bigger pictures when it comes to the Kyle Rittenhouse case, and those are definitely worth thinking about.

The prosecution is throwing the book at him or at least trying to. The charges include first-degree reckless homicide, first-degree murder, endangering safety, attempted first-degree murder, all felonies and the prosecutor is also seeking the use of a dangerous weapon modifier, which adds up to five years to the sentence.

However, the prosecution is not being stupid. In the George Zimmerman case, the prosecution screwed up by only charging him with second-degree murder; because they didn’t include any lesser charges, they could only try him for that specific offense. The team prosecuting Kyle Rittenhouse has announced they plan to ask for lesser charges to be included to hedge their bets.

Why is that important?

Because they want to make an example of him by any means necessary. That they want to make an example of him, and why they want to make an example of him, is something that should concern you as an armed citizen.

Idealists believe there is such a thing as “justice” and that somehow our court system has something to do with it. Ideally, sure, but the inherent problems are that “justice” is subjective; what’s just to one may be unjust to another, and we do not have any sort of consensus as a society as to what is or isn’t just in all cases.

A person can still get more time in prison for marijuana in many states than a rapist. If anyone thinks that’s “just,” that person is bonkers.

In reality, we have a legal system that’s loosely aligned with the idea of “justice” and an entire profession – lawyers – who are dedicated to gaming that system to get an official ruling in their favor.

And what is something people do in games?


They cheat!

So clearly, the incentive in the criminal justice system is – at some level – not necessarily to achieve justice but to achieve victory.

Why is it so important that this young man be given the full penalty of law? It isn’t so much that he shot people, it’s that he shot protestors/rioters during a protest that turned into a riot over the killing of George Floyd.

A certain segment of the population believes that somehow that means those individuals were nobly setting dumpsters and businesses on fire in the name of social justice, and that segment of the population is very, very loud. Anyone who would dare try to stop them must be an agent of evil and is in the wrong no matter the circumstances.

The circumstances were several people tried to kill Kyle Rittenhouse and he killed them right back, but that doesn’t matter to some people, and the prosecution wants to look good to those people. If they send him to prison, it’s like the ADA is on their side or something, which can be parlayed into running for district attorney.

As cynical as it seems to say it, Kyle Rittenhouse is almost incidental to what the average citizen should take away from this case about defending themselves. If you defend yourself with lethal force, no matter how seemingly justified, and it’s deemed to be offensive enough to the right people, the state will try to make an example of you.

The lesson there is to be very careful about what you get involved in. We can argue about the right and wrong of things all the live-long day, and it doesn’t make a lick of difference if the system decides that someone needs to be made an example of.

And what’s going to be even more tragic is what will happen to this young man if/when he is fully acquitted. Even if he escapes with his freedom, he’s going to be a pariah. Persona non grata, wherever he goes. Vilified by some – and for many of the wrong reasons – and glorified by others, also possibly for the wrong reasons. If he is totally exonerated, one hopes he will be able to leave it behind him.

Sam Hoober is a hunter and shooter based in the Inland Northwest.