The corporate media is shifting narratives about the Kyle Rittenhouse case because his self-defense claim is bulletproof. They want to erase the long-understood obligation for all able-bodied citizens to come to the defense of their community when the normal authorities are unwilling or unable to do so.
The constitutionally sound principle that allows and expects this is the left’s most-abused part of the Second Amendment, the “well-regulated militia.” This is the false premise being pushed by many historically ignorant moral scolds.
"Do we want a society in which political conflict is settled on the streets between people with guns? One in which everyone is armed and can therefore view the other people armed as a plausible threat?" says @chrislhayes. "Is that the society we want?" pic.twitter.com/R9yayJLzUu
— All In with Chris Hayes (@allinwithchris) November 11, 2021
“Do we want a society in which political conflict is settled on the streets between people with guns? One in which everyone is armed and can therefore view the other people armed as a plausible threat?” MSNBC’s Chris Hayes wrote on Twitter. “Is that the society we want?”
It’s tempting to answer with the online meme, “Your terms are acceptable.”
Except their claim deserves a solid beatdown for its shameless inaccuracy. The well-regulated militia is a real thing codified by the Second Amendment but in no way controlled by the government.
There is plenty of case law about this, but essentially it consists of able-bodied citizens who are available to help with the defense of the country. This can include actions against foreign enemies presenting a threat inside our borders, but it also includes cases of internal unrest or natural disaster.
Our executive vice president at Security Studies Group, Dr. Brad Patty, wrote about the history and utility of the militia last year. This part is particularly relevant to the many unsubstantiated claims about citizens taking action. Much more likely is when citizens come under attack by terrorists, insurrectionists, rioters, arsonists, or looters.
In that case, citizens are very likely to be the only force capable of responding in defense of the common peace and lawful order, at least for a short time. In the recent crisis, however, we have seen several occasions when the police vanished from afflicted areas of cities for a whole night or longer. Citizens who are left to themselves by a failure of state and local power have every right to defend the common peace and lawful order against those who would destroy it.
Ordinary citizens who decide to call themselves or each other up as militia enjoy no immunity for their actions. They are formally held to the law. For those who suggest police should be stripped of qualified immunity, the citizen-called militia thus offers an option with a higher degree of legal accountability. They can be held strictly to ordinary law, even though they are likely to be acting in extraordinary circumstances.
This is exactly what happened in Kenosha. The authorities there ordered the police to abdicate their responsibility to protect and serve the law-abiding citizens. They abandoned the community to a violent mob.
When local folks, including Kyle, who worked there and lived nearby, rose up to defend their lives and livelihood, they were acting entirely in accordance with the constitutional concept of the militia. I cover this topic and the need to ensure these rights are not abridged at length in my book, “Winning the Second Civil War: Without Firing a Shot.”
The left keeps howling that you cannot use deadly force to protect property. Correct. But you can possess deadly force to protect yourself while in the act of protecting property or acting in humanitarian ways. Then, as happened to Rittenhouse, you may use it when attacked by members of that lawless mob.
The claim is also made that Rittenhouse inserted himself into a dangerous situation and therefore is responsible for when the mob attacked. Wrong. His actions, except the underage carry, were lawful. The mob’s actions at every step were unlawful, violent, and in the end fatal by their own doing.
The prosecution in the Rittenhouse case has even attacked Rittenhouse’s right to defend himself in the face of obvious deadly threats. They asked why a man who threatened to kill you and then tried to take your weapon away was a danger, why being hit over the head with a skateboard warranted a response, and what possible harm could present from a guy with a pistol pointed at your head six feet away. It takes a strong aversion to the idea of self-defense to make those absurd arguments—and yet.
As Patty pointed out, those who act as the militia also bear legal responsibility for their actions. If authorities bring charges, they are guaranteed a trial decided by a jury of their peers. Rittenhouse is getting that right now.
The obscene part is that the charges of capital murder brought against him were entirely politically motivated to appease the very mob he and the others were defending against. But his fate now rests in the hands of a group of citizens who were also at risk from that same mob during the riots, just like Kyle.
The goal of the media provocateurs is to delegitimize this most basic right to protect our communities and ourselves in the absence of official security forces. They are perfectly fine with the mobs looting and destroying things, and even invented the shameful euphemism of “restorative justice” to describe it. Those terms are not acceptable.
In addition, media coverage has been completely detached from the reality that happened in Kenosha and the testimony inside the courtroom now. They have seized on the false idea from Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger that Kyle went to Kenosha with the purpose of killing protesters, based on Binger’s statement, “This was hunting humans, not deer,”
Kyle had a strange way of hunting humans by walking around offering medical help and putting out fires. But the hyperbolic headlines continue to misrepresent almost every aspect of the case. This will directly lead to violence when Kyle is found not guilty, and the media know that. They have thrown gas on these flames before. They are inciting violence and should be held accountable.
There is no official obligation to act as a member of the militia, but there is a moral one. Those unwilling to stand against lawlessness, or at least support those who do, may still have the title of citizens but are really baby possums riding on the backs of their betters.
Rather than a murder trial, Kyle should have been given the keys to the city. It is a sign of our moral and cultural decay that we have had to witness the farce perpetrated by the feckless, fauxhawk-wearing Binger. His disgraceful actions have brought shame on his office and himself.
Kyle will be vindicated since the partisan nature of the charges paired with the incompetence of Binger and crew have led them to make the defense’s case for them. It was self-defense in the face of a mob left uncontrolled by city forces.
But we as freedom-loving Americans must be equally vigilant to push back against this attack on the very right to preserve our lives and livelihoods. It is preferable for that to be done by the forces that take our taxes with the promise to do so. But the Founders foresaw that may not always be the case and provided us a right to do so ourselves in extremis.