Rittenhouse - innocent or guilty? (1 Viewer)

Jon

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What do you think? Is he an American hero or a psychopathic killer? It is quite amazing how polorised the debate is. Personally, I think he is a political prisoner.

The media coverage from some sources is just plain propaganda. Let me give a recent example.

ABC interviewed Rosenbaum today, where he claims he wasn't pointing the gun at Rittenhouse when he was shot. Funny thing is, he admitted two days before under oath that he WAS pointing his gun at Rittenhouse when he was shot. Yet the ABC presenters just let him get away with this crucial discrepancy. They want their viewers to believe the narrative that Rittenhouse is a cold blooded killer, and so gloss over inconvenient facts that prove otherwise. It's their truth.

Here he says he DIDN'T point the gun:


Here he says he DID point the gun:

 
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The_Doc_Man

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As to the specifics of whether he is innocent or guilty, I have to admit to mixed feelings. The reason is that he used "vigilante mentality" as an excuse to be in a dangerous situation. In general, the law says that if you take a gun to a bank robbery, there is a chance that the guards will be armed and will draw weapons. Therefore, even if you never actually fired your weapon, if anyone dies in that robbery, you can be accused of murder. The logic being that a reasonable person would have recognized the danger of possibly lethal violence and would therefore have totally avoided the situation.

Having said that, the people in the ANTIFA crowd were ALSO a part of a mob rather than some official peace-keeping force. Which means that they should ALSO have realized that going armed to such an event invited potentially lethal violence. And therefore, I have that conflict that suggests they ALSO screwed the pooch pretty badly, logic-wise. If confronted about the insane situation that both sides felt the need to be armed and that as a result, someone died, I am tempted to say, "Well, what did you EXPECT to happen?" Whether we are talking about people armed with firearms or whether this is 200 years ago and they have torches and pitchforks, armed conflict is going to result in injuries and possible death.

I will add that this prosecutor comes as close as I have ever seen to an unscrupulous idiot lawyer looking to lose his license. He started to introduce a line of questioning regarding Rittenhouse's initial silence - which is constitutionally protected. Rittenhouse (with legal advice) is EXPRESSLY allowed to keep silent until he is ready and IT IS NOT LEGAL to infer ANYTHING by his silence. He also tried to introduce other issues into evidence even though instructed otherwise by the judge. To the point that the judge cleared out the jury and really excoriated the state's attorney. The defense is seeking a "mistrial with prejudice" which would forever terminate criminal charges. That state's attorney, through his misconduct, has put the judge in an untenable position.
 

Jon

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Doc, can I ask why you think he had vigilante mentality? What were the laws he was trying to enforce?

The defence has suspicion that the prosecutor is deliberately trying to get a mistrial, since this trial is not going well for them and they can go for a brand new trial afterwards. i.e. it is a deliberate ploy. That is why they were asking for a mistrial "with prejudice", to prevent any further trials.
 

The_Doc_Man

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Rittenhouse was carrying a weapon acting as a private citizen trying to protect something that he didn't feel was being adequately protected by police. He has at least once discussed the riots, looting, and burning as the behavior he expected to see. BUT he is not known to have fiduciary interest in the threatened properties.

This is the action that (at least, to me) signals the presence of a vigilante. The action of carrying a gun to an event AS A PRIVATE CITIZEN who does not own any potentially affected property is the action of a vigilante. Actions speak louder than words. His actions were pure vigilantism.

The conflict I feel comes from the ANTIFA and BLM groups who were engaged in acts of domestic terrorism as a means to force their viewpoints on others. Vigilante justice is no better than terrorist justice. For THIS situation, Lady Justice would hold her sword and scales on high, blindfolded as always - but she would be shedding tears.
 

Jon

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I have a problem with the word vigilante because it is an emotive word that suggests punishment. So to suggest he had a vigilante mentality, also implies that he intends to punish those who damaged property, perhaps with his gun. Maybe that was not your belief, I don't know. His gun was for self protection, and as we can see, he needed it. He was also there offering medical help to the injured, and was trying to put out fires.

Regardless, if someone believes they are about to be killed, do they lose their right to defend themselves? I saw a police officer shoot dead a man who came out of the house crazed, with a long knife running towards him. Do citizens not have the same right to protect themselves?

In general, the law says that if you take a gun to a bank robbery, there is a chance that the guards will be armed and will draw weapons. Therefore, even if you never actually fired your weapon, if anyone dies in that robbery, you can be accused of murder.
Are you saying that the legal right to carry a weapon in a street can see you being accused of murder, even if you never actually fired your weapon?

To be clear, the first person who was shot dead was a convicted paedophile with a violent history, who previously said if he gets him alone, he will kill him. He chases him. Behind him is a baying mob. What does he want to do, give him a hug? He already said he will kill him.

Rosenbaum pointed the gun at Rittenhouses head. Rosenbaum is already lying to the media 2 days after his cross examination!

The guy who hit him over the head and neck with the skateboard was also a convicted felon with a violent past and domestic battery charges. You could kill someone smashing them in the head with a skateboard. What you never get to see was after he was attacked, had Rittenhouse not used deadly force, what would have happened to him?

Then you have the guy who did a flying drop kick to his head, whilst he was laying on the ground. That could also kill you.

Whether or not you are somewhere that is dangerous (like a golf course!), it does not mean you can no longer protect yourself from potential murder. Or does it?
 

Jon

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I have another interesting insight. Bear with me!

Are the three people who were chasing (and then attacked) Rittenhouse vigilantes? Let us call them the stomper, the skateboard hitter, and the pistol pointer. They claim they thought he was an active shooter and that is why they were chasing him and attacking him. Does that not make them the vigilantes in that moment? At what point does a vigilante stop being a vigilante? Surely it is when they are no longer taking law enforcement into their own hands. While Rittenhouse was running away towards police, alone, he was no longer a vigilante. The chasers were. They wanted revenge and "justice."

What do you think?
 
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The_Doc_Man

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Are you saying that the legal right to carry a weapon in a street can see you being accused of murder, even if you never actually fired your weapon?

There are, indeed, cases in the USA which say EXACTLY that, but having to do with the specifics of WHERE you carry and what else is going on WHEN you carry. I.e. situational. Being the unarmed accomplice to a felony that results in a death CAN lead to murder charges. Many times, the "wheel man" (getaway driver) gets charged even though he was unarmed and physically distant from the incident that caused a death. Even if the decedent was one of the other criminals. Yes, that IS the way the law reads (in summary) in some states. Many variations on a theme, but there is no doubt that WHY you went there armed to the teeth is a significant contributor to blame.

As I said, I am conflicted by this case. Rittenhouse was wrong to be there with a gun because he had expectations of danger and violence but he was not deputized. The other people carried weapons or items usable as weapons and they were ALSO in the wrong - for the same reason. This is a razor's edge of difference and if you know me at all, you know I seek balance as a way of understanding.

You ask if he had the right to defend himself. In GENERAL, yes. But what if he went there with the intent to bait a domestic terrorist... and succeeded? If his intent was to entice a violent act, then that makes him guilty of premeditated murder even if he didn't know the person he shot, nor did he know that man was a child molester. It is all about criminal intent.

Whether or not you are somewhere that is dangerous (like a golf course!), it does not mean you can no longer protect yourself from potential murder. Or does it?

The question is not whether you can protect yourself, but rather is WHY did you go there WHEN you went there, and with WHAT expectation?

I don't believe in absolute morality and this case is balanced on the edge of that razor. I see "wrong" everywhere in the case because of people going to a place of potential violence and armed in expectation of violence, when responding to that violence was not their job and when they were not requested by local civil authorities. And had no financial interest in the property being protected.
 

The_Doc_Man

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Again, Jon, the question is one of purpose. Folks went to that location expecting violence. They got it. I am conflicted. The problem isn't when the shooting started. It is each of their expectations from before the shooting started. That is where the real "wrongness" occurs. And it is there that I have the internal conflict. I see NO right in this, all wrong.

EDIT: Being a vigilante doesn't change when the other guys start shooting back. The vigilante situation started long before either side fired a shot.
 

Pat Hartman

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I think we all agree that Rittenhouse should not have brought his gun to a riot. However, at 17 years old, he was also technically a child at the time. And children are treated differently from adults in criminal cases simply because children are less capable of making decisions like this. He didn't go to the riot with the intention of killing anyone, The situation got out of hand and he ended up having to defend himself. So that put him in the wrong place at the wrong time and he was left with no option but to defend himself or die. He shouldn't have been there but he was. He shouldn't have brought a weapon but he did. Two very poor choices but he was a child. You can't say that about the rioters who were there with the intention of causing damage.

The prosecutor only brought charges because he was making a political point. Did he do it because he actually believed the kid committed a crime or because the mob forced him to prosecute on inflated charges. There are crimes I might have prosecuted Rittenhouse for but murder would not be among them.

I was hoping that the judge would dismiss the case when the prosecution rested but he didn't. So, now the defense is putting on its case. What I'm worried about is that if this case goes to the jury, are they going to do the same thing that the Chavez jury did and convict either because they are woke or because they are afraid of the mob coming back and attacking them personally?

The fact that the ABC interviewer allowed the wounded man to contradict his sworn testimony with impunity is a travesty. This is going to become another "Charlottesville" moment. All we are ever going to hear is the lie he told ABC and we are never going to hear his sworn testimony.
 
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Jon

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I think we all agree that Rittenhouse should not have brought his gun to a riot.
If he did not have his gun, might he be dead by now? Rosenbaum already threatened to kill him if he caught him alone. He did catch him alone, and chased after him. Rosenbaum didn't say he wanted to kill him because he has a gun.

Pat, apart from the first bit, I agree with most of what you said. And the jury...I'm sure they are out to protect themselves. Self defence! People were videoing the jurors as they went to court. Look at the recent threats from the BLM leader in New York. Violence if the mayor doesn't do this or that. Those who opposed the rioters are viewed as the enemy. Jurors who say not guilty are the enemy. They are not safe.

I understand what you are saying Doc, but I don't see how someone running away from others who are (possibly/probably) trying to kill him means he can no longer defend himself. As for the baiting point, they got angry when he wanted to use a fire extinguisher to put out a fire. Is that considered baiting? They got angry if you didn't fist-pump the air saying BLM (I think it was that). Is that baiting, not bowing to the baying mob? If a rabbit runs away from a dog, the dog will chase the rabbit. Did the rabbit bait the dog?

From my perspective, if you are running away from a mob of people who are shouting "Kill him", "Cranium him", "Beat him up" etc., you are in imminent lethal danger. When you are laying on a hard floor with multiple assailants attacking you, you are extremely vulnerable. How well do you think this child would survive when you have a tall adult of say 200lbs flying through the air landing on your head with full force, as your head bounces off the concrete, followed by being smashed in the head by a skateboard? Then whatever follow-up the frenzied mob would have inflicted?

Rosenbaum claims he was following Rittenhouse because he might need medical help. Well, if that was the case, why did he have his gun in his hand? Why does he admit in court that he only got shot when he pointed the gun at Rittenhouse's head, and two days later tells ABC news that he never pointed his gun at him?

Rittenhouse's actions were fully justified.
 
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Jon

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Folks went to that location expecting violence. They got it. I am conflicted. The problem isn't when the shooting started. It is each of their expectations from before the shooting started. That is where the real "wrongness" occurs.
A journalist goes to a riot to film it. Does he now lose his right to self defence? A boxer goes into the ring, but his opponent tries to strangle him to death. Does the victim not have a right to defend himself?

Also, wrongness has degrees. Five miles per hour over the speed limit and you are wrong. So is murder. Going to a riot with intent to protect buildings may be viewed by some as wrong. But that is on the other end of the scale of wrongness compared to a mob of convicted felons chasing down a child with the intent to kill him, beat him up or cranium him.
 

The_Doc_Man

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I may be playing Devil's Advocate, but Rittenhouse clearly did something very wrong the moment he stepped out of the door to his house while carrying the weapon he carried. (Or any other weapon.) The guys who died clearly did something wrong the moment they stepped out of the door to their houses while carrying something usable / credible as a weapon. Who is to blame? They ALL are.

Your "Journalist goes to a riot" question is (excuse me) just a diversion. The Journalist went to cover a news story and thus had a legitimate purpose to be in the area. Rittenhouse does not have that excuse. He was not a deputized citizen. He was not a journalist. He was not defending personal propery in the area. He wasn't protecting someone specific. He wasn't there, armed, by accident. He had NO LEGAL REASON to be specifically there. The right to peacefully assemble no longer applied once the situation got violent. No, Rittenhouse didn't lose the right of self-defense. However, openly carrying a rifle in that circumstance is clearly a provocative action in and of itself. Had he not actually shot anyone but the sight of his weapon caused a gathering to become a riot, he would have been guilty of incitement to riot.

You are trying to put some nuance on this and focus on the self-defense aspect. But the evening didn't start there for ANY of the members of this tragedy.
 

moke123

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However, openly carrying a rifle in that circumstance is clearly a provocative action in and of itself.
And illegal under Illinois law. He was 17, Illinois law says you must be 18+. There is also no "Stand your ground law" so he had a duty to retreat.

The recording of him days earlier where he stated he wished he had his AR to shoot the looters is quite telling. It was not introduced at trial.
 

The_Doc_Man

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@moke123 - you and I are often on different political sides, but here, I have to say that there are SO many wrongs involved that sorting out right from wrong is simply intractable.

The absence of a "stand your ground" law is only a speed bump since even in such states, there MUST be a recognition of the constitutional right of self-defense at the point where the defender realizes that his opponent is actively following him and therefore, retreat is merely delaying the inevitable.
 

Jon

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Nothing wrong with Devil's Advocate Doc. It is a good way to tease out the debate. I will probe likewise.

I noticed you said what Rittenhouse did was "very wrong", but what the 4 chasers did was "wrong". I see that differently. I see the criminal intent of the rioters to be very wrong, and a much lesser degree of wrong to Rittenhouse. Perhaps that might explain why the 3 known chasers were all violent convicted felons.

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Source:

Regarding the journalist, I think I understand what you are saying. It is if you had a legitimate reason for being somewhere, and someone else didn't, the person who had that reason would be allowed to defend their life, while the other person should let their life be taken, correct?

Had he not actually shot anyone but the sight of his weapon caused a gathering to become a riot, he would have been guilty of incitement to riot.
He did not incite a riot. There was already a riot. Are you saying that there is a law which says you can incite your own murder?

You are trying to put some nuance on this and focus on the self-defense aspect. But the evening didn't start there for ANY of the members of this tragedy.
Correct, I am saying you have a right to self-defence, and whatever happened before that does not matter. You are always allowed to defend your life, unless you are intentionally trying to take a non-aggressors life.

I think I understand what you are saying though. You are saying that his act of running away was incitement to his own murder. Yes?

If you have a dying family member, and you break the 20mph speed limit (doing 30mph) while you are rushing to hospital, does this lawbreaking mean someone should be allowed to kill you and you cannot put up any defence?

If the journalist is armed but has a legitimate right to be there, does that mean he has no right to self defence because his carrying a gun (like other rioters) was the trigger for his own murder?

I think your position is this, correct me if I am wrong....If there was a defenceless pregnant black woman on her own in a wheelchair frantically wheeling away from a chasing mob - who are threatening to kill her - and towards the warm welcoming arms of the police, she has no right to self-defence as they drop-kick her in the face, smash her over the head with a skateboard, and point a gun at her head. Her earlier looting meant she was culpable in her own murder. Or in other words, you have no right to use leathal force to defend yourself from imminent death.

There is also no "Stand your ground law" so he had a duty to retreat.
He wasn't just retreating, he was running away in fear for his life. He followed his duty. Wikipedia seems to suggest that this law pertains about your duty to retreat before using deadly force.

And in the same article, it says this:
The alternative to stand your ground is "duty to retreat". In states that implement a duty to retreat, even a person who is unlawfully attacked (or who is defending someone who is unlawfully attacked) may not use deadly force if it is possible to instead avoid the danger with complete safety by retreating.
Clearly, he could not retreat whilst laying on the ground, and he was trying to retreat as Grossenbaum caught up with him and lunged at him.

@moke123 - you and I are often on different political sides, but here, I have to say that there are SO many wrongs involved that sorting out right from wrong is simply intractable.
Doc, I don't think it is that hard. Ignore the minor violations. Ignore the fact that Grosskreutz was carrying a concealed weapon without a license. Instead, focus on the issue in court: was this homicide or justifiable self-defence.
 
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Steve R.

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Personally, I think he is a political prisoner.
I will go with political prisoner. Biden, as I understand it, already poisoned the well by unilaterally declaring Rittenhouse "guilty", without evidence or even a nod to due process. One could also make a case, based on other government actions, such as the FBI becoming involved in school board meetings, that an "intersection" can be made made to designate those physically opposing BLM/Antifa/CRT, etc as the actual domestic terrorists.

What is particularly disturbing and apparently not discussed, why are the people committing mob violence and looting not being charged with a crime? (Consider that the FBI is expending exorbitant resources searching the film footage of the January 6th rally to locate people, target them, and charge them with a "crime". So why not here? The answer is obvious, it does not further the political objective of persecuting those on the "right".) This would be especially valid concerning those who physically attacked Rittenhouse and are still alive? That also leads to the question of: if the police are allowing crimes to be committed and do nothing, how can you persecute a private citizen for intervening?
There is also no "Stand your ground law" so he had a duty to retreat.
Exactly how do you retreat if you are surrounded by numerous people physcially attempting to hurt you and your back is on the ground?
Moreover, why focus solely on Rittenhouse's conduct with demands that he be subject to criminal scrutiny, yet ignore those attacking Rittenhouse or otherwise looting and rioting. Assaulting, rioting, looting are all criminal acts.
 
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Jon

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I would like to understand why the Left and the Right seem to have a different view on this though. What about if a lone black man was being chased by a violent mob of hooded white supremacist Klu Klux Klan members down the street, shouting "Kill him!"? He trips and falls. One drop kicks him in the face, the other smashes him around the head with a wooden plank (no skateboards back in those days!), the other puts a gun to his head. Should he say, "Ok guys, its my time to die..." Or is he allowed to defend himself? He did illegally download some files earlier that evening. Did he lose his right to life?

Or in another incident, a mob of violent angry Israeli criminals are chasing an isolated Palestinian child. He falls. They jump on his head, smash his head with wooded planks, aim a gun at him. Is he allowed to defend himself? He cannot defend himself against a converging mob. So he needs an equaliser, does he not?

If you think the black guy should be allowed to use lethal force to protect his own life, how is it different to the Rittenhouse case? What about the lone Palestinian?
 
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AccessBlaster

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looting, rioting, and killing by "protesters" are also illegal. When ordinary people see law enforcement sitting on the sidelines while looters and rioters take control it becomes a vacuum in leadership. It's this vacuum of leadership that creates a situation where militias are formed out of necessity. Had the law been enforced against illegal violent riots there would be no Kyle Rittenhouse.

At the southern border where lawlessness is allowed to go unchecked, I predict ordinary people will take up arms to defend themselves and their property.

Before you can "build back better" you need to tear it down.
 

NauticalGent

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I was wondering when Steve and AB would chime in! I am a little surprised no one was mentioned the reason WHY he was in the vicinity with a rifle...
 

Jon

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He had a rifle for personal protection. As it happens, it seems if he did not have his rifle, he could already be dead.

There is no evidence he was hunting down rioters, although that is the impression the usual outlets are trying to portray. But them saying so doesn't make it so. It is just propaganda. I am happy to see any evidence that he was hunting down rioters. Go on, show me!

The only evidence I see is the opposite: him running away from rioters who want to kill him.

I personally think fair trials have become difficult in America. You have presidents weighing in on cases before trial, threats of violence to jurors and cancel culture looming in the background. Social media is the outlet to poison minds and put fear into those who don't vote Left. Even the social media platforms themselves tilt the bias! These are not conditions for impartial justice.
 
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