“He shouldn’t have been there.”

People, including people who are pro-2nd Amendment and pro self defense, have been making this claim. I just have to shake my head.

“He shouldn’t have been there” is a stupid argument. As a free citizen in a free country on publicly accessible property he had every right to be there. As a free citizen in a free country he had every right to be armed for his own protection. As a free citizen in a free country he had every right to move to stop an incipient disaster (a burning dumpster on its way–never mind how for the moment–to a gas station where it might well set off a conflagration that could kill hundreds).

Other folk, however, did not have every right to offer violence in “retribution” for that act of extinguishing a burning dumpster–that they lit on fire and were pushing toward that gas station. Being a free citizen of a free country doesn’t extend quite that far.

Let’s look at that. A dumpster had been lit on fire. It didn’t spontaneously combust. It was lit on fire. It wasn’t rolling of its own accord into the gas station. People were pushing it there. A large fire in a gas station. Folk don’t want lit cigarettes in gas stations for fear of starting a fire. How much worse is a burning dumpster?

If that gas station had gone up–and what other possible reason than setting that off was the purpose of folk pushing a burning dumpster into it–the fire would have spread. Burning gasoline doesn’t stay in one spot. It spreads. And gas stations have a lot of gasoline, almost like it’s their reason for existing.

Oh, wait, nothing “almost” about it. It’s exactly their reason for being.

Good luck getting the fire department to respond promptly in the middle of a riot.

How many people would have died in the resulting fire? For that matter how many of the rioters? Had Kyle not been there, that fire would not have been extinguished because there was nobody else to do it, nobody but the rioters who set the fire.

Kyle shouldn’t have been there? Thank whatever gods you worship that he was. He probably saved more lives than he was forced to take in self defense…because the rioters were upset that he extinguished the fire they started.

Going further, what argument that Kyle shouldn’t have been there does not apply to anyone else? His age? This infantalizing of older teens is kind of ridiculous. 17-year-olds can join the military with parental consent (at least they could when I was that age). But, really, the argument that he shouldn’t have been there is an argument that folk rioting, looting, and committing arson should have free rein. They should be allowed to destroy and kill (arson kills, maybe not every time but often enough that it’s considered a very serious felony) with no one to stop them? Is that really the society you want?

Was it, on some level, unwise for Kyle to be there? Perhaps, on a personal and short term level, yes. After all, if he weren’t there, then he wouldn’t have been forced to shoot three men in self defense, he wouldn’t have been wrongfully charged with murder, and he wouldn’t have been dragged through this long court battle, and he wouldn’t have the target on his back that the Left is putting there.

And the rioters would have lit that gas station on fire.

Society functions because of people who are willing to put their own short term advantages aside for the benefit of others. Society functions precisely because of people like Kyle. Were his actions wise? Again, on some level perhaps not. They were more than wise. They were laudatory.

Be like Kyle.

35 thoughts on ““He shouldn’t have been there.””

  1. Have you seen the “defense” that I saw about the time of the shooting?

    They weren’t rolling it into the gas station, they were rolling it into police and private vehicles to set THOSE on fire. I can’t remember if this is next to the ones that were flipped over or not, but that is also a fire hazard that very likely would’ve killed people. (Well, fire hazard above and beyond A FLAMING DUMPSTER.)

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  2. I agree completely with this post. However, you hit one of my online pet peeves: Please do not type “free reign”, that’s just wrong. The phrase you mean is “free rein”, as in not pulling on the reins of the horse you are riding. The horse is free to go where it likes, because you are leaving the reins alone. On the other hand, if you pull on both reins, you are “reining in” the horse, making it slow down and then stop. Thank you.

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  3. Attorney Robert Barnes, who was on the defense team up until the trial and seen even more evidence than was submitted at trial, stated that if Kyle hadn’t been the one Rosenbaum would have attacked someone else that night seriously injuring or killing them because Ziminsky was egging the Looney on, cranking up the violence. He pointed out that in all the video the defense had Ziminsky was at the center of violence always just behind Rosenbaum and that Huber, Jump Kick and Yellow Pants were all in the same area. That the videos show they were moving around as a wolf pack. They had no direct evidence Ziminsky, Huber and the other 2 knew each other before meeting that night but there was enough circumstantial that Ziminsky took advantage of Rosenbaum mental state to push greater and greater violence.

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  4. I think he shouldn’t have been there because the life he risked was worth so much more than the property he protected.

    (I think that saying he saved lives by preventing a big fire is too much of a reach.)

    Now, I’m not saying that the lives of his three attackers were worth spit. The pedo, the beater, and whatever the other one was – too bad so sad – they do not figure into my opinion. At all.

    But Rittenhouse’s life was worth so much more than the value of the (possibly) burnt-down building. He risked everything in an act of poor judgment for a low value reward – putting out a dumpster fire for sure, saving an old building maybe.

    It was glorious, certainly, and of huge political benefit to multitudes, but he personally risked far too much for what he himself received in return. (I’m not including the value of what he may receive starting now as reward from a grateful mobb – a huge value, but it would have been completely speculative to predict such a return back on that night. I’m judging the decision he made when he made it.)

    He almost sold himself way too cheaply. Only luck saved him.

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    1. But Rittenhouse’s life was worth so much more than the value of the (possibly) burnt-down building.

      By that logic, carried to its conclusion, nobody should be there. Everybody should just cower in their homes and allow the barbarians unfettered opportunity to burn, loot, and destroy.

      Is that really your position?

      As for just a “burnt-down building” are you serious? It wasn’t just some building, it was a gas station a place by the very definition being loaded with incendiary materials (you know, gasoline and diesel fuel). Here’s a video of one to get an idea:

      https://www.cnn.com/videos/us/2018/08/02/new-mexico-gas-station-explosion-orig.cnn

      Now, the station in the video was in a rather isolated location, so the fire didn’t spread beyond the station itself. It was not in the center of a town, with other buildings all around just primed to catch fire and become part of a “fiery” protest. I don’t know about Kenosha, but in Indiana, at the very lowest level arson which risks injury to others is a level 4 felony carrying a penalty of prison for 2-12 years and a $10,000 fine. If it results in serious bodily injury, it’s a level 2 felony which carries a penalty of between 10 and 30 years.

      Arson isn’t some prank. It isn’t a “boys will be boys” thing. It’s a very serious felony which puts other people’s lives at risk–those who have to fight the fire if no-one else. I know the media have been rather dismissal of arson with their “fiery but mostly peaceful” protests but, put bluntly, it’s absurd.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. It is just property people say.

      They say Black Lives Matter, and given what the academics pivoted to, it could be interpreted as them meaning, of the things involving a black person, only their life matters, all else is nothing.

      So, perhaps by their lights it is all right to take whatever property from a black person, because their /life/ matters. Taking the property resulting from every effort is slavery. Saying that the property of blacks does not matter is to endorse the slavery of blacks.

      Perhaps by their lights it is all right to beat a black, or to rape a black, so long as they are very carefully kept alive.

      Now, we know that the academics do not mean this, the academics saying this stuff simply do not care about people who are not academics, even if their skin color is officially the same. All the credentials in the world do not make an academic an expert in speaking on behalf of someone else.

      The academic theorists endorsing the violent terrorism with ‘it is just property’ can be proven hypocritical because they are not endorsing that their own offices, their own university institutions, be burned down.

      Basically, that field of scholarship has attracted or trained a bunch of awful people. Who do not even speak for black academics in other fields. Even if the woke Anti-Racist TM university administrative officials are treating that field as authoritative over black academics.

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  5. There are a number of locationa “downtown” that I have a “right” to be but I am just not that curious about what/who is there that i would actually go there. Rittenhouse wandered into a situation where he had every “right” to be, although I think I would have opted for someplace else. Then again, I have found my self in a dangerous situation in a “safe” suburban light rail station, so you never know. As an older adult, I would have avoided the area of a Bolshevik riot since unpleasantness was likely, but everyone evaluate situations differently and you never know until its over. It was “his” town ands his coice. My decision to avoid an area has nothing to do with Kyle’s “right’ to be somewhere. Kyle’s behavior was reasonable and he handled himself quite well, especially since it appeared that he was targeted. His behavior, his “right” to be there, and my likely decision to be someplace else, are all different and unrelated things. That should be clear in any discussion. He was in “his” town, doing useful things when he was targeted by the Democratic Storm Troopers. He didn’t need “Brandon’s” permission to be there. I suspect that he looked like an easy target. He wasn’t. Not Kyle’s fault or responsibility for the deaths and injuries. He did well when the Democratic Defectives came after him.

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    1. Thing about Kyle being in a stupid place, where stupid people are behaving stupid.

      Pretty much everyone in America now is in a stupid place.

      The smartest possible place for an American to be right now, would probably be in an anticommunist secret police or death squad. And that is still a stupid place to be.

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    1. If America wants to be pissy about George Floyd’s death, they can damn well accept the personal responsibility they bear for a lack of better policy, and fix it.

      If /you/ want to complain, accept that, objectively, it is a problem that you contributed to.

      People who take certain drugs, such as Meth, are not able to safeguard their own welfare while they are under the influence. They are mentally impaired, and not necessarily capable of moving through space without injuring themselves, ignoring that the injury occurred, and then making it worse or failing to care for it.

      When you have someone, say maybe a retard, who is naturally mentally impaired in that way, they will either be in a place with caregivers, and kept alive, or not, and eventually cause their own death. This is one of the horrible truths about certain levels of mental impairment.

      But, with being high on recreational drugs, the impairment is temporary. So, a) you do not have grounds that are as well legally established to force that person into a healthcare institution b) the periods where self harm is a greater risk are spread out, instead of continuous. So, pulling numbers out of air, if three months constant impairment with no outside care has a 75% change of accidental death, spreading those three months out over a year, a decade, or four decades, is not going to likely result in so quick a death. (I don’t know how the stats for this would work, but the same period spread out almost certainly does not have the same risk of death.)

      It is actually a little bit worse that the impairment is temporary. With a permanent impairment, you can learn coping skills appropriate for the level of mental function. Permanent conditions are also ones where you don’t find yourself needing a completely different type of coping skill than you ordinarily do.

      So, fundamentally, substance abusers are exactly a category where one might expect that being in the custody of a psychiatric hospital might prolong their lives. Compared to the street, even a fairly horrible hospital might be safer.

      Substituting public areas for hospitals, and substituting police for psychiatric nurses, is always a worse standard of care. We do not have some magical supply of humans uncaring of their own life and welfare to employ as psychiatric nurses or as cops. They are going to make working conditions for themselves that minimize the risk of early death. In a psych hospital, they can be sure that all weapons are secured, and that a patient isn’t concealing something. So, if someone is wild, uncontrolled, and poses a danger to their own physical health, they can safely use the minimum number of big hefty nurses to wrestle the guy down, and hold him. Out on the street, you need more cops, and if you don’t have them, especially with one cop, lethal force may be more likely.

      So, in essence everyone who wants American society held responsible for a junkie dead after wandering outside, had better be willing to prioritize confining substances abusers.

      The actual Libertarian ‘substance abusers should not be confined’ types are mostly willing to accept them dying on the streets, and not inclined to blame the world for not keeping the lunatics alive.

      The folks who want both ‘criminal justice reform’, ‘an end to mass incarceration’ and for a junkie’s death to be automatically blamed on whoever the nearest cop is can pound sand.

      And yeah, junkies take up prison space. We would have more spare room for non-violent junkies if we were executing more of the violent criminals.

      So, this is on the people who pushed for the current policies.

      Complaining about Floyd’s death was from the first, obviously transparently bullshit contrived as an excuse for political terrorism, terrorism meant to usher in a mass murdering communist dictator ship. I exempt a few people from that, who would not have allowed the riots, and would have had some people in the PD resign over the training, instead of trying this thing of filing murder charges in court.

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  6. I will merely point out that a citizen had every right to shoot the people pushing the dumpster, since any resultant explosion was likely to kill or maim people. (Arson is considered a violent felony everywhere, as far as I know. OK, maybe not San Fran.) Kyle simply trying to put it out was taking the “de-escalation” route.

    Of course, at one time, rioting was also considered a violent felony and worthy of a whiff of grapeshot. Our oh so much more ‘advanced’ and ‘tolerant’ society that recoils in horror at that idea really isn’t an improvement.

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  7. When I have to rebut the “he shouldn’t have been there” argument I just point out that I agree with that position. The whole situation should never have happened. Note that the shootings did not happen on the first day of a riot, nor was it the second. The shootings happened on the third day of a riot where the governor of the state refused to send in the Guard to quell the unrest. The police had been ordered back and allowed those rioting free rein to burn and loot as the mob desired.

    A 17 year old should never have been faced with the choice of allowing the mob to destroy the town that much of his family resided in. A 17 year old should never have been in the position to be the last line between said mob and further destruction. This incident can be laid squarely at the feet of the governor and the mayor for failure to do the jobs they were elected to do and protect their society from mobs of rioters.

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  8. “But Rittenhouse’s life was worth so much more than the value of the (possibly) burnt-down building.”
    A little nuance here – porperty is value, someone or many someones gave hours, days, even years of their lives to build, improve and use that property. Loss of property is always a loss of quality of life, sometimes minor, but also sometimes a major loss. Mr. Rittenhouse’s family lived in Kenosha (Antioch, IL is a suburb of Kenosha, although both could be described as exurbs of Chicago) and he was there to help clean up – there is video of him cleaning grafitti. He was trying to help people, and good for him he was armed and ready to defend his life. The people who lived there suffered from the destruction of property. Consider Rudy Giulani’s cleanup of New York City- rather than let low level destruction stand, he and the police prosecuted and cleaned up grafitti, low level destruction (boarded up buildings, etc.), and minor crime because that led to reductions in ALL crime. Property is valuable, and should also be defended.

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  9. I say “he shouldn’t have been there” not as a moral statement or a statement implicating him. No. I say it as a matter of tactical judgement.

    What’s rule 1 of a gun fight?

    If you said “Bring a gun”, you’d be wrong and owe me $5, because rule 1 of a gun fight is “don’t be there.” We carry guns for when badguys force us into a lethal. Encounter.

    Now, that’s exactly what happened with Kyle. He didn’t go looking for a fight, and he was 100% in the right morally, legally, and sensibly to put out that very literal dumpster fire.

    But voluntarily going into a riot zone (armed or unarmed, it matters not) is violating the 1st of the 3 rules of common sense:

    1. Don’t go to stupid places and
    2. Do stupid things
    3. With stupid people.

    KR did neither 2 or 3, but going into a riot zone to help protect mere property was a foolish risk.

    But the state is not nanny and doing something foolish for the right reasons (like Kyle did) is not immoral nor illegal and it doesn’t negate one’s right to self defense either.

    Kyle did everything he reasonably could have done knowing what he knew then, but he still shouldn’t have been there.

    But “shouldn’t have been there” should never have left Littlebinger’s lips. That wasn’t in his perview as a prosecutor. Not when Kyle had even more lawful and legal reason to be there than the rioters.

    But a sound sage should’ve put a hand on his shoulder earlier that day and said, “young man, what you want to do is a very noble thing, but it’s also very stupid.”

    At least Kyle went armed, which was incredibly sensible.

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    1. No. I say it as a matter of tactical judgement.

      And the same objection applies: the arguments about not being there apply to everybody, not just Kyle. And if we accept them as a valid general rule then they are equivalent to saying that nobody should resist rioters. They should be allowed to do whatever they want, secure in the knowledge that nobody will challenge them.

      That may be “safe”, for a while at least, until the rioters come to where you are and nobody comes to your aid because they are making that “tactical judgement.” But, at least for now, the people not being there are safe.

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    2. TActical critique applies to every one of us.

      I’ve basically made a bunch of poor choices with my life, because now I /don’t/ have the skills to 1) collect intelligence 2) analyze and generate a kill list 3) make either good bombs, or given self driving cars, a reliable hack 4) service the kill list while targets are alone in their car in an isolated location 5) without getting implicated.

      The people who are doing this stuff can without a trial be identified reliably enough by civil war standards, with sufficient skill. There are absolutely ways to kill them. With sufficient skill.

      A small number of people actively servicing the correct targets could gut this thing, and allow it to settle down. Then we could quietly and nicely figure who among the living is also implicated, try them, and execute them for treason, murder, arson, conspiracy, etc.

      But, very few people have all the skills. And the ones that do are choosing to wait.

      I have none of the skills. I knew that earlier in life, when I was setting direction for skill development, and made other choices.

      But, pretty much every American is in a stupid place, now, because of the effin’ communists. And, everyone without all the skills probably made a mistake in not having all the skills.

      For the place he found himself in Rittenhouse did very well. He used his skills appropriately. In my view, criticizing him is bullshit.

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    3. “don’t go stupid places”

      I consider that it’s better to go to the riot than to wait til the riot comes to my neighborhood (and the raids in Walnut Creek just proved it’s coming for all of us), and it doesn’t look so stupid anymore.

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      1. In another context it was said “if you have to play, then better an away game than a home game.”

        The more certain people are allowed to riot without response the more they’re going to riot and the farther the rioting is going to spread.

        One could riff on the poem “First they came”

        First They Rioted

        First they Rioted in that city, but I didn’t respond because I don’t live there.
        Then they rioted in that city, and again I didn’t respond because I don’t live there either.
        Then they rioted in that other city and, once again, I didn’t respond because, nope, still don’t live there.
        Then they rioted here and nobody responded because they don’t live here.

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  10. My sister, the Feminist, said exactly that:
    Rittenhouse shouldn’t have been convicted of murder, but that he should have been convicted of some minor crime (no, she had no idea of exactly what law he could be convicted of violating, but I left her slide on that) because “he shouldn’t have been there”.

    “Congratulations”, I said, “you’ve come around to agreeing with all those male chauvinist pigs that ‘she was asking for it'”.

    Much sputtering, but my wife broke it up before I could drive the point home. I’m sure that everyone here can follow the analogy.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. As far as arson goes, if the building is occupied, it is legal to shoot anyone attempting to burn it.
    If it is a building that would be expected to be occupied at that time or place, you are not required to confirm occupancy before killing the arsonist. So, homes, or businesses during business hours, but not a shed on the back 40, since a shed is not normally a structure that would be occupied.
    I’m reasonably sure this legal policy also applies to vehicles, but don’t recall seeing instances to document it.
    Buildings/structures that present unusual threats to the public, such as gas stations and compressed gases storage facilities would also be a 24/7 shoot on sight situation. Fuel and compressed gas transport trucks also fit this category.

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      1. Why were the arsonists pushing a flaming dumpster instead of directly setting a fire? I think that was because they knew what they were doing could kill people, and didn’t intend suicide. Starting the dumpster rolling and then running away while it rolled on might get them to a safe distance.

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        1. Dumpster, being a large moving mass, could also be expected to damage the fuel pumps, encouraging large gas spills which would create the conflagration they wanted. Frankly, I think these guys went beyond rioters. They were outright terrorists.

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    1. I can’t say about other states but here in New York, you are allowed to use lethal force if reasonably necessary to stop arson in the first or second degree. Yes that includes cars or boats.

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      1. A car might contain 20 gallons of gasoline, and in my own experience that will burn with such intense heat that it will set damp grass on fire 20 feet away. A gas station normally has enough fuel on hand to fill up hundreds of cars, at least. I can’t imagine what that fire would be like.

        Some claim that the rioters were “only” trying to set some parked cars on fire. If the fire reaches the gas tank, one car is a big enough blaze to kill people who are caught near it, and to start a fire that will burn out the neighborhood and keep spreading until the fire department gets through the rioters. But the first place it would spread is the gas station…

        And the rioters understood enough about the dangers to put the dumpster between themselves and the target instead of directly setting fire to the target.

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