From a purely criminal justice perspective, the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse should be only about a specific period of time that began perhaps 30 seconds or so before he fired his first shot through to the moment he squeezed the trigger for the last time on that evening in Kenosha, WI. Beyond that, though – and beyond any legal considerations – lies a swirling and bubbling cauldron of nuance, symbolism, and, of course, politics. Though it may seem, on the surface, that those who wish to see the 18-year-old convicted view him as being on the wrong side of a political struggle, it could go deeper than that; this young man – whether the jury ultimately agrees or not – did something the left thinks no private citizen has the right to do; he acted in a manner he believed necessary to defend himself.
Outside of the courtroom, this is no mere matter of laws that regulate the use of deadly force. This is an assault – no pun intended – upon the most fundamental human right that has ever existed; the right to protect oneself against physical harm. Self-defense, being integral to survival, is the very core of individual liberty, for if one is not permitted to protect and defend oneself, then one is not truly free. That is, in a nutshell, why leftists reject the Second Amendment and why they want Rittenhouse to spend the rest of his life in prison; to teach the rest of us that we will not be allowed to take our personal safety and the security of our families and friends into our own hands; that, quite literally, we should not be permitted to ensure our own survival.
The Elimination of Instinct
The survival instinct is the strongest force driving every living organism. It underpins the urge to hunt or forage for sustenance, to find or create shelter, and even to procreate. It is the most fundamental element of individualism. When and how any creature reacts to a threat marks it out as being capable of exercising self-determination; a characteristic that progressives – or socialists, for there is ultimately no difference between them, save semantics – wish to see eliminated from human society.
Reacting to a threat includes the activities listed above; obtaining food and water, finding or constructing a physical shelter, and reproducing are all basic characteristics of life, and all come down, on the most instinctual level, to mitigating or eliminating the potentially life-threatening dangers of malnutrition, severe cold or heat – and, ultimately, extinction.
Taking physical action to protect oneself from violent assault is no different. Yet, leftists appear to object to the very idea that anyone would make the decision to defend themselves, their loved ones, or their property from attack. This warped way of thinking was most recently demonstrated in Los Angeles, CA, where the police department has urged city residents to make no attempt to resist, defend themselves, or protect their property in the event they become the victims of a robbery.
In a “community alert notification,” the LAPD advised Los Angeles residents, “If you are being robbed, do not resist the robbery suspects; cooperate and comply with their demands. Be a good witness.” Crime in that city is almost out of control, as it is in just about every Democrat-run city in the U.S. In the face of this, citizens are being urged to meekly comply with the demands of criminals and predators and to do as they are told, like sheep.
Self-Determination on Trial
Why? This advice is not disseminated out of concern for anyone’s safety; after all, an untold number of robbery or mugging victims have been murdered, regardless of whether they fought back or complied with their attackers’ demands. There are no solid statistics to answer the question of whether one is more likely to die resisting assault or obeying the wishes of one’s assaulter. The only sure thing is that one is less likely to suffer loss or injury if one is armed with a means of defense – and willing to deploy it against assault.
The visceral reaction to what Kyle Rittenhouse did on that fateful night has nothing to do with the specific acts of carrying and discharging a firearm. After all, one of his assailants – a convicted felon who could not legally possess a gun – pointed a pistol at him and not a single person on the left has expressed the slightest concern about that fact. The outrage at the decision Rittenhouse made stems, in reality, from the idea that he chose to determine his own destiny by taking action to protect himself in what he clearly believed was a life-or-death situation.
It is that choice, along with the ability to act upon it, that leftists believe should not be available to any individual without the express consent of the government.
~ Read more from Graham J. Noble.