The Guns Of Kenosha

The Guns Of Kenosha


Leonard Zwelling

Mazel Tov!

The United States has become a country in which a 17-year old male can bring his semi-automatic weapon into a city in which he does not live that is in the midst of a Black Lives Matter protest (that was bound to turn violent) and kill two people while wounding a third and get away with all of it.

On Friday, November 19, Kyle Rittenhouse was found not guilty of any of the five charges against him including murder. As I understand it, the burden was on the prosecution to prove that he killed the men (this was never in doubt) and that he DID NOT do so in self-defense. The prosecution did not meet its burden. Apparently the jury was swayed by the defense’s arguments that Mr. Rittenhouse felt threatened by some of those he killed and was thus justified in the use of deadly force. I have to admit that other than the nightly updates on the evening news, I paid little attention to the trial thinking surely anyone who brings a gun to a riot and kills two people will be punished unless that person is in law enforcement. But, I guess not.

This trial was going on while the trial of three white men in Georgia is concluding. These three men are accused of having murdered a Black man, Ahmaud Arbery, who was out for a jog when these men used arms to gun him down on suspicion of theft rather than simply make a citizen’s arrest.

I believe that all four of the victims of these two incidents were really victims of the vigilante culture that seems to be taking hold in America and was reflected most graphically on January 6 on Capitol Hill.

Clearly, it is essential to maintain law and order and I am all for increasing support for the police and calling the defund the police movement what it is. Nuts. But the fact that some police kill innocents and that they are often outgunned and out manned, is not the signal to take the law into our own hands as Rittenhouse and the three men in Georgia did.

It is long overdue that the government put some limits on the use of assault rifles (a kid who wasn’t old enough to drink alcohol or vote had one?) and made it clear that the use of deadly force is only to be employed in the case of real self-defense and as the prosecutor in the Rittenhouse trial said, the defendant was the source of the danger.

The message sent by the Rittenhouse verdict is that vigilante justice is fine as long as you think you are in danger even if you put yourself there and were caught on film running with a long gun down a city street. That’s not OK.

Common sense tells you that you don’t come to a riot and bring a gun. In fact, you don’t come to a riot at all. Let the police handle that.

It now seems that the left feels free to burn and loot when a mistake like the police murder in Kenosha was made. The right seems just as hellbent on “protecting private property” by bringing guns to the riot and, it appears, feeling free to use them.

Enough guns.

Peaceful protest is a great American tradition. I protested once or twice myself back in the 1960s. Looting, burning, rioting is not OK, but neither is regular citizens trying to do the job of the police.

The Rittenhouse verdict may prove very dangerous. It is setting the precedent for the murder of fellow Americans in the name of vigilante justice.

The OK Corral lives on in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

6 thoughts on “The Guns Of Kenosha”

  1. When local governments do not protect local businesses during “protest“, then I think you’re going to see more and more of this as people and businesses struggle to defend themselves against these “protest“, That burn down buildings and businesses.

    1. Art: You’re right. Local governments are not doing enough, BUT let the locals defend themselves. We don’t need 17-year old phony medics with guns coming to places in which they do not live.

    2. The media wildly misrepresented this trial. I watched the actual trial. It was self defense and should never have gone to trial in the first place. I wish people that write articles and opinions such as this would know the facts of the case before posting such strong feelings about the outcome.

      1. I know the facts. It was a riot and the police did not control it. No need for more guns though, especially out of town help, in my opinion. No 17 year old should be packing an automatic weapon. It’s trouble waiting to happen.

  2. I’m a “gun guy” and while I too have concerns that Rittenhouse’s parents didn’t say “No, absolutely not” when he suggested traveling to Kenosha, I believe a proper verdict was reached. I don’t believe this was vigilante justice. I believe this was a person (like many) who watched as yet another city was burned and looted while authorities stood by and did nothing. My understanding is that one of the businesses he sought to protect was his father’s.

    It’s akin to when the 3rd Precinct burned down in Minneapolis. City “leaders” basically asked, “What’s the big deal? It’s just brick and mortar.” They’ve so lost touch with the real world most of us live in they fail to realize that “mere brick and mortar” is where productive citizens earn their living. It’s telling that even as several Minneapolis City Council members fought (and still fight) to “rethink” traditional policing, they were discovered to have spent inordinate amounts of city dollars hiring private security for themselves. Or witness the spread of smash-and-grab robberies that are spreading across the country. This was met with a shrug of the shoulders until it began happening in wealthy enclaves. Now, suddenly, it’s a problem requiring immediate attention.

    My wife and I recently watched a documentary about the LA Riots called “LA 92.” There’s an illustrative scene where a young man is introduced to a small group as a hero of sorts. He was caught on tape puncturing a fire house, thwarting firefighters’ efforts to extinguish flames that later consumed a CVS Pharmacy. He was painted as the very picture of nobility. “We’ll show those evil corporations, whose primary sin is maintaining businesses in poor neighborhoods so people have food and medicine.”

    The problem is, I distinctly recall an article written immediately after that particular unrest (I believe it was the Michael Brown riots). A young African-American woman was interviewed. She had worked her way up from stocking shelves, to cashier, to manager at that very CVS. She chose to stay in the neighborhood, despite the dangers. Now, thanks to a “hero,” her workplace was a pile of rubble. And the fellow African-American who did it is, in the eyes of many people, a hero. Talk about perverse incentives.

    I stress again that if I had a teenage son who proposed guarding businesses with an AR15, I would lock them in their room. But the fact that Rittenhouse and many others felt compelled to do so is a serious indictment of our current culture. I know fellow gun owners who guarded businesses in Minneapolis during the George Floyd riots because again, city “leaders” didn’t consider them worth protecting.

    Only when people figure out that the people they’re voting for and the carnage/destruction are inextricably intertwined will true change occur. Same goes for supposed systemic racism. Most of these incidents are occurring in areas that have “enjoyed” one-party leadership for decades, yet the same party still somehow prevails election after election by saying, essentially, “Sure, things are bad now. But just imagine how bad they’ll be if those guys win.”

    Just my two cents and worth every penny, I’m sure.

    1. Leonard Zwelling

      Good points all, BUT there are too many guns around and too many people deal with them irresponsibly. See Oxford high in Michigan.
      I just think we don’t need more guns than there are people.

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