Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Why Kyle Rittenhouse was at the very least guilty of reckless endangerment

*Kyle Rittenhouse: at the very least guilty of reckless endangerment despite plausibly acting in self-defense* We know from studies that the presence of armed individuals in protests, strikes, riots etc increases the chances of violence tremendously. This is true currently and historically. And we know that the presence of heavily armed civilians opposed to activist groups intimidates & provokes its protesters & rioters. As you would expect, these deadly weapons increase death anxiety, increasing the “fight or flight” response. Now, while this provoking & anxiety-producing intimidation does not eliminate the claims to self-defense by heavily armed individuals in the US, what it does do is add an additional element of reckless endangerment to any self-defense actions they may take. In part this is because being heavily armed necessarily increases danger not only for the unarmed person, but in some ways also for the armed individual. Any hostile approach by the unarmed individual can now be interpreted as risking having your gun taken from you and used against you—a risk that is nonexistent or far smaller if the individual is unarmed or armed with non-lethal or less lethal weapons. If to this we add the recklessness of using excessive, disproportionate force that also risks collateral damage, we have a clear case of reckless endangerment, even if self defense is justified. Also, since the individual despite having the right to bear arms, has chosen to carry a deadly weapon of disproportionate force, any action plausibly in excess of its minimal weapon deadliness or close to minimal weapon deadliness required to stop the threat, should be interpreted as intentional homicide. Because with great power comes great responsibility. In the case of Rittenhouse, we know his AR-15 full metal jacket bullets penetrate through armored vehicles & are not only much more likely to kill & maim than the hostile actions of unarmed or lesser armed individuals, but these bullets can easily go through a body and keep flying—maiming/killing others in the crowded environment he was in. Of course, there’s also the possibility that in addition to reckless endangerment, there was an element of intentionality. In other words, it is quite possible that Rittenhouse wanted to use any plausible self-defense pretext to kill individuals who he disliked and were hostile to him. That for instance may be why he shot one of his victims 4 times instead of one. But since the legal standard is “beyond reasonable doubt”, this will be harder to prove than simply reckless endangerment unless we adopt the aforementioned doctrine of making the armed individual responsible for actions plausibly in excess of the minimal or close to minimal required to stop the threat with their weapon. That is unfortunately not the current legal standard.

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