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Kyle Rittenhouse—the 18-year-old who was involved in a violent incident during the 2020 riots in Kenosha—is not a villain. That is why the jury found him not guilty of murder and other crimes that the prosecution sought to charge him with, but let’s be clear, he is not a hero either. He is simply a person who acted in legitimate self-defense.
Kyle purposely wanted to get involved in the conflict by carrying a gun to confront the protestors, did he deserve to be attacked?
No. Kyle went out on the night of August 25, 2020, to defend Kenosha, the city where his family lives and which was being destroyed by BLM criminals who took the pretext of “anti-racism” to torch vehicles and businesses; to beat, threaten and subject innocent people to a reign of caprice and terror.
Rittenhouse, under the impression that his community was in a state of vulnerability, decided to defend it. And yes, he carried a gun, because in the real world there is no Superman, and anyone who wants to defend his family and community against the fury of an incendiary and irrational mob needs an instrument to deter it and even to protect his own life.
Does this mean that Kyle Rittenhouse had the right to defend himself through deadly force?
Yes. Of course, he did. The right to defend oneself and protect others even by means of violence, (when the aggressor previously resorted to it) is at the very foundation of the Second Amendment. To end early, it’s something so obvious and so much a part of human nature, that for most of the history it wouldn’t even be a factor in the discussion: if your family and community are being torn apart by a violent group, and you can defend them, stepping forward to protect them, by all reasonable means possible, is more than understandable.
And yes, it’s also indisputable that Kyle could have simply not been there, left town or hid in his house playing video games, but instead decided to put himself in mortal danger. We may judge his prudence, but we cannot deny him his right to defend himself.
Was Kyle Rittenhouse’s acquittal right?
Yes, for instead of cowering or remaining apathetic, Kyle risked his life in defense of something beyond himself, and when the time came to resort to violence, as a last resort and despite his young age, Rittenhouse reacted with relative maturity and discipline. Yes, even though he was not even of age and was being surrounded by a mob, he did not lose control. He kept his wits about him and only responded with the force that was strictly necessary. He didn’t want to feel like a Rambo, he didn’t shoot wildly. He only defended himself, and therefore his actions were in legitimate self-defense, legally and morally.
Why did the leftist mainstream media present him to us as a bloodthirsty villain?
Mainly, for two reasons.
The first is that nearly a century of peace in the West has made us lose sight of something important: there are things, including our homes and families, that are worth risking one’s life for and even resorting to defensive violence, especially when faced with mobs (like those in 2020) that systematically used violence against people, homes and businesses, as a mechanism of control and terror.
That principle applies to nations, as Barack Obama explained (in his brilliant speech upon receiving his undeserved Nobel Prize) when he pointed out that, “force may sometimes be necessary… it is a recognition of history, of the imperfections of man and the limits of reason”, it is true, and it also applies at the individual level, specifically in the case of self-defense.
That said, yes, dialogue has to be the basic tool and we cannot be tempted to solve everything with guns. But there are exceptions and one of them is when your life directly depends on you defending yourself.
The second reason is that the leftist ecosystem has developed a game plan that allows them to take some political pretext (racism, globalization, rising subway prices) to launch hordes that destroy even entire cities and basically extort the rest of society to take on as their own the demands of those “activists” who advance with impunity by arson and destruction.
Rittenhouse’s legitimate defense reminded the leftist bullies that the American people are armed and not, for now, sufficiently manipulated to silently give in to the destruction of their country at the hands of a handful of professional rioters. That enraged them because deep down it terrifies them.
Should we use the Rittenhouse case as an example for careless self-defense?
We should not. Precisely to avoid a bad message, it is very important to insist that the key to qualifying Rittenhouse’s actions as self-defense is his discipline in not resorting to violence beyond what is indispensable in the face of enemies who were directly threatening him, and who most likely would have killed him.
This is key: he did not shoot anyone else, he did not spray them with bullets. He did not try to be a hero, he was simply a 17-year-old young man who tried the best he could to protect his community and, in the face of an attack by a group of misfits, was caught in a situation where he also had to defend himself.
Gerardo Garibay Camarena, is a doctor of law, writer and political analyst with experience in the public and private sectors. His new book is "How to Play Chess Without Craps: A Guide to Reading Politics and Understanding Politicians" // Gerardo Garibay Camarena es doctor en derecho, escritor y analista político con experiencia en el sector público y privado. Su nuevo libro es “Cómo jugar al ajedrez Sin dados: Una guía para leer la política y entender a los políticos”