Massad Ayoob has a post up about the video evidence surrounding Kyle Rittenhouse’s use of a rifle to defend himself in Kenosha. The photo at the top of the post clearly shows the assailant who Rittenhouse shot in the arm pointing a pistol at the young man’s head. A few milliseconds difference in timing would have put a bullet though the teenager’s head instead of the bad guy’s arm.
It’s being reported that when rioters tried to move into a residential area of Kenosha, at least one person fired warning shots at them. I was afraid this sort of thing would happen.
It’s understandable that an armed citizen would attempt to repel rioters entering his neighborhood. However, one should not use deadly force irresponsibly, and in almost every instance so called “warning shots” are not justified.
First, a fired bullet is going hit someone or something. A random shot can kill or injure a bystander or do unintended damage. The person pulling the trigger would be responsible.
Second, deadly force is only morally and (IANAL, but lawyers tell me) legally justified in response to an imminent threat of death or serious injury. If deadly force must be used, it must be applied only to the actual threat.
Third, pointing a gun at someone else is an assault. One shouldn’t do it except in response to an actual threat.
I was taught—first by my father, a lawyer with law enforcement experience, and later in the Army—to keep a firearm holstered or pointed in a safe direction until there was no choice left but to open fire. I was also taught that because shooting someone is a use of deadly force, choosing to shot implies shooting to kill. Not to warn. To kill.
It looks as if things are about to get very messy.
Today is yet another day when I wish things weren’t proceeding as I have foreseen.
Last night in Kenosha, the riots may have turned a corner, rolled down the on ramp, and pulled into the fast lane. It appears that rioters with firearms are now being opposed by citizens with firearms. Shots were fired, and if the reports I’ve seen are correct, at least one rioter was killed.
History isn’t repeating itself, but it may be rhyming. 28 years ago, a group of armed Korean shopkeepers kept watch on the roofs of their stores during the riots in LA. When the LAPD failed to provide protection for the residents of the Koreatown neighborhood, shopkeepers armed with M1 carbines, Ruger Mini-14s, AR-15s, pump-action shotguns, and handguns exchanged gunfire with armed looters, forcing their retreat.
State and local governments need to put an end to the rioting. If they don’t, the breakdown in the civil peace will likely lead to what could amount to local civil wars between rioters and people who don’t want to see their livelihoods and neighborhoods destroyed. Kenosha may be the place where the good guys have decided that they’ve had enough—and that if the government won’t keep the peace, the community will.
BTW, many of the Korean immigrants facing rioters in LA had military training in the Korean army before they came to America. I suspect that if 2020 has a similar showdown between rioters and law-abiding citizens, most of the veterans involved will not be among the rioters.
There are days when I wish everything wasn’t proceeding as I have foreseen.