Rittenhouse Verdict Societal Implications Thread

It’s the news dominating discussion as the cycle fades into the din of Thanksgiving week, so here’s a thread to discuss the acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse, the teenage vigilante who everybody agrees killed two complete strangers in the street with a weapon he legally should not have possessed–and just got away with it. Washington Post:

President Biden on Friday called on Americans to respect the jury’s decision in the Rittenhouse trial, telling reporters that the system “works” and declining to discuss a previous tweet in which he appeared to suggest that Rittenhouse was a white supremacist.

“I stand by what the jury has concluded,” Biden said upon arriving back at the White House from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he underwent a routine colonoscopy. “The jury system works, and we have to abide by it.”

Later Friday, in a statement issued by the White House, Biden urged Americans to “express their views peacefully” and said that while the verdict “will leave many Americans feeling angry and concerned, myself included, we must acknowledge that the jury has spoken.”

Although Rittenhouse has been acquitted of all the charges brought against him in state court, the fact that Rittenhouse crossed state lines to carry a weapon he wasn’t legally allowed to own could still result in federal charges:

Legitimizing a claim of “self-defense” in a situation where someone has put themselves directly in harm’s way with an illegal assault rifle almost guarantees future killings like those carried out by Kyle Rittenhouse. Rittenhouse’s acquittal on a claim of self-defense after traveling across state lines to roam the streets of Kenosha during a riot sets a precedent that could well inspire a dramatic increase in armed vigilante violence during future protests of all kinds. The open carry ban in Denver is all that prevents a similar situation playing out in Colorado’s largest city, as we saw last summer when an idiot at a racial justice protest in neighboring Aurora unloaded his openly-carried weapon at a passing vehicle injuring two fellow protesters.

One thing is sure: no good will come of this verdict. It rewards every kind of behavior society should not.

40 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Genghis says:

    This outcome was foreshadowed on the night of the homicides, when the cops gave Rittenhouse and his compadres bottled water and a rousing "Thank you for your service" speech.

  2. Sparky says:

    This is a green light and a clear signal to all aspiring violent militias/vigilantes and MAGA mass murderers that they can kill as many people as they want with no consequences. It will be open season on protesters from now on.

    This shameful excuse for a country will only become more violent and more lawless as the years grind on.

  3. MartinMark says:

    Well, whatever you think of the jury’s performance of their role, they were the least fucked cog in that machine

  4. MartinMark says:

    Biden’s statement highlights everything we need to know about the difference between left and right in America.

    On the one hand, we have President Biden overtly endorsing the obviously broken system and its unquestionably unjust outcome, while implicitly calling for peace; a call that the left will likely largely follow.

    On the other hand, we have the deranged criminal Trump and his deranged violent followers, literally getting away with murder, and joyously celebrating that, while calling for more.

  5. Meiner49er says:

    I see a lot of people saying that if the defendant were any color other than white, he would have been shot on sight. True.

    But I think we also have to acknowledge that if the weapon had been anything other than a gun (a switchblade, or a baseball bat), we'd have a guilty verdict.

    Blessed be the gun owners, I guess. sad

  6. Diogenesdemar says:

    I take some small comfort in knowing that Rittenhouse has almost no chance of living to a ripe old age . . .

    . . . he’ll likely die by his own hand using one of his freedumb toys,

    . . . or, he won’t be so very lucky in the next armed confrontation he initiates.

    . . . he’s not one who might come to mind when you try to picture either “stable,” or “genius.”

  7. Sunmusing says:

    ok, this is the new "Rittenhouse Defense"…If a magat mask grabber comes at me to grab my mask, or to do other violent things, I can now blow that magat's face off…seems fair…

  8. Moderatus says:

    The prosecutors overreached. This might shock some of you but I don’t approve of Rittenhouse’s actions. But it was not a case of first degree murder. They should have gone for manslaughter.

    • kwtree says:

      Nice that you don’t approve of wholesale state-sanctioned murder of leftist protesters. Since that’s a bit of a low bar, please take a look at my diary
      on Lakewood  street corner protests from last summer and fall. These started out as “Black Lives Matter” silent vigils at intersections, and evolved to include signs for other issues, including Democratic GOTV efforts. For the latter, we were often mimicked and accompanied by Trumpers waving giant Trump flags.

      Most passers by were supportive or neutral; however, some felt they had to yell “All Lives Matter” or call us terrorists, or Antifa, or what have you. Some threw water bottles; some flipped us off or cursed.

      Since Rittenhouse walked free, I’d expect escalation from these latter people.

      Here’s my questions for you: since these were peaceful, usually silent vigils, would your average gun totin’ MAGA lovin’ freedom fighter be justified in blowing one of us away? Those Black Lives Matter signs are certainly threatening to your buddies, and if a manslaughter verdict is the toughest penalty they might receive for their actions, would it be worth it to silence another leftist? 

      Also, are people with whom you disagree allowed their First Amendment Rights, or is that only for Republicans and conservatives?


      • Voyageur says:

        kwtree, the people who flipped you off, cursed you and called you terrorists had an absolute right to do so.  Free speech is not for the left alone.

        • kwtree says:

          I never said that the drivers- by did not have that right- and our policy was not to engage with them. The people who threw trash and water bottles at us did not have the right to harass us physically.

          The Trumper who kept stepping in front of us and blocking our signs with his giant flag was in a legal grey area. His actions were confrontational and intended to start violence. The Jeffco police thought so, too, as they asked him and his fellows to stand on a different corner. 

        • MattC says:

          No one has the right to assault another.

          SCOTUS has decided (correctly) more than once that some categories of speech do not have the 1st Amendment guarantee and protection.

          I am probably forgetting some, but defamation, obscenity, real threats, fraud, child pornography, speech as art of illegal conduct, speech that incites imminent lawlessness, speech that violates intellectual property law, true, some commercial speech and the ones I am forgetting.

          Did any of the opposition speech or belligerence directed at the street corner activists rise to the level of any of the not protected and even prohibited categories? I am neither lawyer nor law enforcement.

          kwtree's point is spot on. How many of the good citizens of Kenosha will be less willing to protest or speak out now? How many provocateurs with violent intent, with or without weapons, will be motivated to come to Kenosha, Lakewood, Charlottesville, Portland, Tulsa Ferguson, or Selma? If even one, the idea of America is diminished.

          Speaking of self defense, when protestors in American feel threatened, when can they legally shoot? Hell, when can they lawfully bear arms?

          If I emulate George Zimmerman and decide to defend a community that neither includes nor wants me, can I? Sensing danger and risk in another state can I load up my weapons and drive over placing myself in a conflict sure to elicit threats, can I start shooting when I feel threatened?



          • Voyageur says:

            How about “All lives matter?”

            ” Restrict illegal immigration. “

             “There are small but measureable IQ differences between various identity groups, with Asians testing the highest.”

             ” Abortion takes human life. “

             “Israel has the right to exist as a Jewish national homeland behind secure borders.”

            All of those and a lot more would get you banned from many college campuses today, Matt, and might make you the target of violence.  Do you regard those as examples of speech unworthy of legal protection?  And if not, how far would you go to protect the rights of traditional thinking on college campuses?

            • kwtree says:

              Links with specific examples of political persecution, please, not just vague assertions.

              Even John Eastman, revealed to be a proven insurrectionist, kept his jobs at three different institutions, not just CU Boulder, until his January 6 actions made that untenable. Students at Cu were boycotting his classes- which is their right.

              Disagreement and dialogue do not equal persecution. Studies show tolerance for conservative views on campus.

              Yes, professors lean left (although with some caveats). But much of the research says conservative students and faculty members are not only surviving but thriving in academe — free of indoctrination if not the periodic frustrations. Further, the research casts doubt on the idea that the ideological tilt of faculty members is because of discrimination. Notably, some of this research has been produced by conservative scholars.


            • RepealAndReplace says:

              Wasn't there a Asian-American student at Yale Law School who is a right winger and got busted for politically incorrect stuff?

              I can't remember his name but it was couple of months ago.

            • MattC says:

              I do not know if any of those examples rise to the SCOTUS defined level. I am not a lawyer.

              My point is that there is a level.

              As for "…make you the target of violence" if I am armed, and I feel threatened, I can open fire, right?

              I would also point out that any of those examples or a thousand others spoken with intent to suppress protected speech, become a problem because of the illegal intent to suppress.

              You know this, V. No one should get to silence the press trying to report the news. Likewise, protected political speech cannot be suppressed and should not be intimidated by threats of violence.

    • unnamed says:

      Wow!!!  Moddy.  You actually said something that makes sense!!!   Sorry.  I still have to put my eyes back in their sockets.  They bugged out when I read that.

  9. Peromyscus says:

    Seems to me this verdict directly applies to the shooting of Lee Keltner by the private security guard, a year ago at a BLM protest.  Keltner had just used pepper spray on Dolloff when the shooting occurred.  Keltner is being charged with second-degree manslaughter and has pled not guilty.

    Security guard claims self-defense in fatal shooting at Denver protest; victim identified – ABC News (go.com)

    • JohnInDenver says:

      VERY different status of participant.  Someone hired to provide "security" without getting the required permit is in a different circumstance.

      Very different legal standards, where the guard is acting without authorization to have a gun in Denver (which denies "open carry" and unlicensed concealed carry) and the client (the tv station) did not hire "armed" security.

      And I'm not certain, but I don't think the state of Colorado offers a "stand your ground" law — I think the Supreme Court accepted the concept in a case, but I don't know circumstances or status as a solid precedent for all cases.

      • notaskinnycook says:

        Yes there is one here, JiD. Here’s which states have them: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stand-your-ground_law

        • JohnInDenver says:

          The Wikipedia article confirms what I thought … Colorado doesn't have a law, it has a court decision:  "8 of the 38 stand-your-ground states[11] have case law/precedent or jury instructions so providing: California,[12][13] Colorado,…"

          An attorney, writing in the Vail Daily, says

          Some states add a bit more. In those states — Colorado is not one of them — there is first a “duty to retreat.” A threatened party must first make an attempt to avoid the use of deadly force by attempting to leave a threatening situation if possible. In these states, only after an attempt to retreat may a defendant lawfully use deadly force.

          Other states have “stand your ground” laws in various flavors and permutations. Stand your ground laws provide that when an individual is attacked in his or her home — and sometimes elsewhere — there is no duty to retreat and reasonable force can be used.

          The argument in the Denver tragedy will center around the precise nature of threat the protester presented, the peril the shooter perceived, whether the threat was imminent, whether the shooter’s perception in light of all the circumstances was reasonable, and whether the force he meted out was proportional to the threat with which he was presented.

      • Peromyscus says:

        In the hearings for this murder trial, it seems that the issues are the same – i.e. the fact that Dolloff was hired security or shouldn't have had a gun isn't affecting the "stand your ground" defense.  Those hearings are set to resume on Dec. 10.  I still think Rittenhouse will loom large in the analysis.  Evidence discrepancies the focus of motions hearing in Civic Center Park shooting trial | Local News | denvergazette.com

  10. allyncooper says:

    Time for you to retract and make corrections to your story Pols instead of simply parroting falsehoods published on the web or tweets by Jerry Nadler (one of the foremost proponents of the Trump/Russia collusion conspiracy based on a fake dossier utilized to obtain a FISA warrant.)

    Rittenhouse did not cross state lines with an "assault weapon". The AR 15 was at a friends house in Kenosha according to police records and court testimony. The friend who bought the weapon for Rittenhouse is being prosecuted (and rightly so) for being a "straw buyer" which is illegal.

    The AR 15 was not an "illegal weapon" as you allege. The court at trial dismissed the count of possession of an illegal weapon because the AR 15 was a legal weapon under Wisconsin statue.

    The jury came to a unanimous verdict of "not guilty" on all counts after deliberation of the facts, not the kind of hearsay and falsehoods as contained in your post.




    • kwtree says:

      Allyncooper, you’re jumping at gnats and ignoring the rabid rats.

      The gnat: Rittenhouse didn’t cross state lines with  the AR15. He did pick up the gun, which as a 17 year old he was not allowed to carry, in Wisconsin. So it makes no difference; the gun was illegal for him to carry. 

      AP looks at the actual crimes Rittenhouse was charged with show some “rats” he should have been convicted on: 

      The first count was Rosenbaum’s murder.
      Second was firng at McGinnis.
      Third was firing at an unknown man.
      Fourth was murder of Anthony Huber.
      Fifth was injuring Gaige Grosskreutz.

      All were aggravated by the weapon Rittenhouse chose to carry. Most were endangering safety and showing reckless disregard for human life.
      Do you deny that those two men would be alive today had Rittenhouse not showed up carrying an AR15 and showing disregard for public safety and recklessness with human life?
      The judge was biased. The jury did not see video showing Rittenhouse as the instigator. Had he been black, his victims would be lauded as martyrs and heroes.

    • Colorado Pols says:

      Thanks for the feedback, we did edit this post to correctly account for the weapon's location. Also the judge did throw out the charge of possession of a dangerous weapon on a technicality a few days before the verdict.


  11. som sai says:

     Colorado Pols are you saying it is illegal to cross state lines? Millions do so daily, indeed Rittenhouse did so the day before to go to work. Are you saying Rittenhouse wasn't legally able to carry the rifle which had a barrel 16.25" long? If so you are mistaken, as was established during the trial. It is perfectly legal for a 17 year old to have a rifle of that size. You should probably delete that whole thing.


    But beyond that why do you wish a teenager who has rightly been found by a 12 person jury to be innocent, to be further harassed? Talk about vigilantism? What do you call it when someone, a minor mind you, is found not guilty as anyone with eyes and a quick look at the vids can tell you, is railroaded into a conviction by a mob of the self righteous? That is exactly what our system of justice is built to guard against. You should be ashamed of yourselves. 

  12. kwtree says:

    som sai* , that sweet lil’ teenager shot at 5 people, and killed two. The video that the jury did not see ( because judge didn’t allow it) clearly showed Rittenhouse instigating the violence..

    He was 17- not allowed to carry a weapon unless hunting ( game, not people). Politifact said your claim that Rittenhouse was legally carrying is false.

    So how do you figure Rittenhouse is being “railroaded into conviction by a mob of the self-righteous”? Are the families of Rosenbaum, Huber, and Grosskreutz a “mob”? They will soon be plaintiffs, and Rittenhouse will be paying them most of whatever ill-gotten gains he gets from his crimes.

    No, no shame for Pols. For you, Mr. “I am”, there’s plenty of shame you should feel.

    (* som sai means “ I am” in Slovak)

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