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George Floyd died on May 25, 2020, during an arrest by Officer Derek Chauvin and three other police officers in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Hours after Floyd’s death, a bystander uploaded video of the incident, and now people everywhere were made aware that yet another person had died while in the custody of law enforcement, when there should have been no reason to expect the person being arrested to lose their life.
Protests first emerged in Minneapolis, then spread to the Minneapolis–Saint Paul metropolitan area, and then nationwide to more than 2,000 cities and towns in more than 60 countries in support of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.
On August 23, 2020, Jacob Blake was shot and seriously injured by Police Officer Rusten Sheskey in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The Blake shooting was followed by unrest, which included rallies, marches, property damage, arson, and clashes with police. On August 25, 2020, amid the unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old lifeguard and police cadet, went with friends to help however they could. Rittenhouse, with basic first aid training, treated several persons with injuries, helped remove graffiti from the local high school and was asked to help protect a car dealership from any attempts of vandalism or arson.
Rittenhouse was also armed with a Smith & Wesson M&P-15, Smith & Wesson’s variant of the Armilite/Colt AR-15 platform (the most popular sporting rifle in the United States, with an estimated 18 million AR-type rifles in private hands in the USA).
For those unaware, one Joseph Rosenbaum, who was convicted for raping five separate children ages 9 to 11 and had spent more than a decade in prison, had been discharged from a Milwaukee hospital following his second recent suicide attempt and was dumped on the streets of Kenosha the same day he would later die, August 25, 2020.
That evening, he crossed paths with Rittenhouse and threatened to kill him. Rittenhouse attempted to leave, but found himself cornered, when Rosenbaum attempted to seize Rittenhouse’s rifle. Rittenhouse, fearing for what could happen if Rosenbaum was successful in his attempt, fired four rounds in quick succession, and Rosenbaum collapsed to the ground. Rittenhouse immediately called a friend for guidance, but before he could get help, the crowd began to turn on him as if he were an “active shooter.”
Rittenhouse retreated and ran toward where he knew police were, but before he could get that far, he tripped and fell to the ground after being hit in the head, then fired twice at an unidentified man who jump-kicked him. Others in the crowd approached Rittenhouse while he was still on the ground, when Anthony Huber, a man with a repeat history of domestic abuse, struck Rittenhouse with his skateboard and struggled for control of the rifle.
Rittenhouse fired once, fatally shooting Huber in the chest. Finally, Gaige Grosskreutz, who had a previous arrest for being armed with a firearm while intoxicated, approached Rittenhouse and pointed his Glock handgun at him. Rittenhouse then shot Grosskreutz once in the right arm.
Some have argued that since Rittenhouse was not yet 18 years old at the time, he was not old enough to legally possess a firearm on his own, but Judge Bruce Schroeder, who is overseeing this case, has dismissed the misdemeanor charge of “possession of a dangerous weapon by someone under the age of 18.”
Firstly, because Wisconsin law allowed Rittenhouse to carry a rifle as long as it met certain criteria, which it did. But furthermore, I believe that Judge Schroeder is well aware of 2nd Amendment case law and knows of Nunn v. Georgia (1846), where the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that, “The right of the people to bear arms shall not be infringed. The right of the whole people; old and young, men, women and boys, and not militia only; to keep and bear arms of every description, not such merely as are used by the militia, shall not be infringed, curtailed, or broken in upon, in the smallest degree; and all this for the important end to be attained: the rearing up and qualifying a well-regulated militia, so vitally necessary to the security of a free state. Our opinion is that any law, state or federal, is repugnant to the Constitution and void, which contravenes this right, originally belonging to our forefathers …”
In the end, Rittenhouse, regardless of his age, or his home of record, or wherever he may travel to, retains the unalienable right to self-defense, the right to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” as mentioned in our Declaration of Independence. The same right that we all retain, and no matter what, should any of us ever be assaulted and fear for our safety, or our life, then we have the right to use any means available to defend ourselves. Rittenhouse had a rifle. Had he not, he would have been a mostly unknown victim of whatever Rosenbaum would have meted out.
Had others, like Huber and Grosskreutz, minded their own business, Rittenhouse would not have had to defend himself against them, as well. This is probably the most videoed case of self defense to occur to date. Rittenhouse had no malice intended in any of his actions and was responding to being attacked by an angry mob. Hopefully, the jury will see the obvious and exonerate him of all other charges, so that the rest of “We the People” can go about our business without the fear of being prosecuted should we ever have to defend our own selves against an attack by someone who is unhinged.