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  • Writer's pictureBrad Parker

Kyle Rittenhouse: Self-Defense Lessons

Photo of Kyle Rittenhouse with arms raised walking towards police in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Photo of Kyle Rittenhouse trying to turn himself into the Kenosha Police.

It would be almost impossible to miss the Kyle Rittenhouse trial underway in Kenosha. From the well-publicized trial and in-depth analysis by self--defense attorney Andrew Branca, we can pull out a number of items that are instructive in our training and mindset for self-defense:

  • We will be tried in two courts -- the state court and the court of public opinion.

  • We will not be tried in a justice system, we will be tried in a legal system. Prosecutors are actively working against us to "win" the case.

  • Our past behavior and social media posts will be scrutinized and used in the court of public opinion against us. Unless the evidence is that we are good people, then our past will be memory-holed.

  • Our actions will be second-guessed by people who were not there.

  • We must be innocent of wrong doing. In other words, we can't start the fight, then claim self-defense.

  • Our reactions must be reasonable. We must be able to articulate why we felt so threatened that responding physically was the only option we had. Like when someone rushes us and points a gun at our face.

  • The threat must be imminent. It must be happening right now or about to happen at this moment.

  • Our defense must be proportionate to the attack. A slap for a slap, a punch for a punch. We can only use lethal force if we are facing lethal force. This gets complicated when there is a proven disparity of force involved. And, we can't claim a base "fear" or that we were "scared". However, when someone physically chases us, hits us with a blunt force object, and grabs our rifle, it's reasonable to conclude they are looking to overpower us so they can kill us with our own firearm.

  • We have tried to avoid trouble at the start. There are still about a dozen states that require a duty to retreat, but most states don't. Still it's a good idea if we can do it -- see the point below.

  • Retreating can be a usable tactic. Retreating buys us distance. Distance buys us time. Time buys us options.

  • It doesn't matter that all three attackers were criminals. Most likely we will not know the backgrounds of the attackers, therefore, it's not admissible in court that they are criminals.

  • The AR-15 is an effective self-defense tool. The intermediate round is effective enough to stop murderous attackers. It is reliable. It is handy enough to wield at arm's length.

  • We might not be interested in politics, but politics is interested in us.

  • We will probably not get a jury of our peers. And the jury is being threatened with doxing and violence. They are facing a lot of pressure designed to convict us.

We must train -- and educate ourselves -- like our lives depend on it.

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