Why the Rittenhouse Case Has Changed Everything

“You don’t need an AR-15,” U.S. News and World Report told readers just three and a half years ago. ThinkProgress in 2018 published a piece called, “The myth that civilian gun ownership prevents tyranny.” When Ben Shapiro justified private ownership of guns to counter potential tyranny in the United States, CNN’s Piers Morgan guffawed contemptuously. “Do you understand how absurd you sound?” Morgan asked Shapiro in 2013. Until recently, people laughed at the idea that an AR-15 could be used for legitimate self-defense purposes. 

Nobody is laughing anymore, not even the gun control people.

Now we have videos of Kyle Rittenhouse with an AR-15 slung around his shoulder as he waded into a riot-plagued community to hand out bandages and protect property. In the summer of 2020, the mobs ruled and nobody dared oppose them. They toppled beautiful works of statutory art. They burned businesses and even a police station. They seized real governmental control over several city blocks in one of the country’s most important cities. Revolutionaries established other “autonomous zones,” in Washington, D.C., Portland Oregon, and Asheville, North Carolina. Nobody dared enforce rules regarding private property, social distancing, curfews, or even murder.

A year later, the rule of law has finally begun to reassert itself. When the Rittenhouse trial judge dismissed the gun charge, it may have spelled doom for the prosecution’s theory of the case. The charge was key to muddying the self-defense theory, and recasting Kyle to look like an aggressor for the mere fact that he possessed the firearm. Like his leftist overlords, the prosecutor has pushed the “he-shouldn’t-have-been-there-with-a-gun” narrative as justification for convicting Rittenhouse. On that night, the streets belonged to the righteous mob. Anyone who opposed anything the mob did was, by then-candidate Biden’s definition, a white supremacist.

The mob in Kenosha sent a fearful message: You better not anger the mob. Because if the mob can burn down Kenosha, no suburb is safe. Making Americans feel unsafe in the face of unrestrained political violence was what the summer of 2020 was all about. As one author wrote of the violence and looting in the summer of 2020, “it seems to have gotten white people’s attention as the uprisings reach their neighborhoods. I hope every white person knows that whatever injustice or fear they might feel is only a shadow of what Black people have carried with them their entire lives. It’s why we march. It’s why we protest. It’s the message we’ve been trying to convey.” 

For months now, the media has been reprising its disgraceful smears against the Covington High School students by heaping lie after lie on the frenzy of lies about Rittenhouse. The media needed only to know the race of the Kenosha shooter and the politics of the victims. That was enough to invent the rest of the story to fit the narrative. 

But one thing the media can’t hide are the basic facts. No longer can Americans be told that the AR-15 is not a legitimate tool for self-defense. The mob physically attacked Rittenhouse three times—each of which attacks easily could have led to Rittenhouse’s death. Had Rittenhouse not had the AR-15 to defend himself, he might not be alive today. Everyone who watched the trial saw it. 

The Left doesn’t want to punish Rittenhouse for murder. It wants to prevent others from standing up to future mobs to protect themselves. The Left rules with fear and the threat of mob action is its most potent weapon. If Americans know they can legally protect themselves from the mob, the mob will lose its power. That’s why Rittenhouse’s example is so powerful and why the Left is so angry at him. History warns that whether the costume is bolshevik red or fascist black, the mob is the vanguard of tyranny. Denying the threat of the mob cannot be separated from the prevention of tyranny.

Americans have been secretly filling up their closets with firearms for the last several years. By one estimate, there are approximately 17 million AR-15s and similar rifles in private hands. When faced with a violent mob, a pistol with 10 rounds really isn’t enough to stay safe. The Rittenhouse case is a clinic in exactly why Americans have a right to an AR-15.

As the jury retires to deliberate, we can’t really know for sure what the final outcome will be until the verdict is announced. But, thanks again to the Constitution, Rittenhouse received a public trial and anything short of an acquittal will revive jury intimidation allegations. Americans saw that the media lied to them about the facts of the case. While that suits many, even a few leftists expressed shock and surprise at the level of deception. 

Police and 500 National Guard troops have begun positioning to quell the violence expected following the Rittenhouse verdict. It’s one indication that the authorities expect a not-guilty verdict. But there’s another reason to think there may not be another riot in Kenosha if Rittenhouse is vindicated: Rittenhouse will be free to return to his community to protect it. And so will countless more inspired by his example to hold the line against the Left’s political violence.

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About Adam Mill

Adam Mill is a pen name. He is an adjunct fellow of the Center for American Greatness and works in Kansas City, Missouri as an attorney specializing in labor and employment and public administration law. He graduated from the University of Kansas and has been admitted to practice in Kansas and Missouri. Mill has contributed to The Federalist, American Greatness, and The Daily Caller.

Photo: Sean Krajacic-Pool/Getty Images

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