His name is Kyle J. Rittenhouse. Say it.
On August 25, Rittenhouse attended a riot in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The 17-year-old was an exemplary student and community volunteer who loved America and who responded to pleas from a local business to protect his place of work from rioters. Rittenhouse grabbed the AR-15 sporting rifle he purchased with COVID-19 relief funds and went to a scene of lawlessness to help do what the police force was not doing; to serve and protect.
It’s there that tragedy for Rittenhouse unfolded. Upon separating from his group to check on another property, he was accosted by rioters who were flinging projectiles at his head and coming toward him while promising they would kill him. He open-fired on the closest suspect who was most capable of harming him.
Then, Rittenhouse immediately fled from the scene, but vigilantes followed. But upon his egress, Rittenhouse stumbled when a number of men – who were verbally promising him harm – caught up to him. Rittenhouse shot two men, both of whom were armed (one had a skateboard he was using as a weapon and another had a handgun). As God would have it, these men turned out to be criminals and at least one (perhaps two) were convicted pedophiles.
Rittenhouse then fled for his own life, tried to flag down police, and ultimately surrendered to local law enforcement.
There is no question that events unfolded as I described them because they’re on video. Further, the events are on video from multiple vantage points.
Moreover, while it’s indisputable that Rittenhouse did nothing morally or legally wrong, some might still like to impugn his intentions that evening with some kind of fevered insistence that he just went there to kill black people. But again, their assumptions don’t mesh with reality; press outlets happened to interview Rittenhouse before the incident, who only testified to the purest of motives. And furthermore, no one he shot was black.
Atop all of this empirical evidence that Rittenhouse did nothing wrong is the lack of evidence that the young man was tinged with even the slightest stain of racism. Other than supporting Donald J. Trump – as 70 million other Americans – there is nothing in Rittenhouses’ record that would suggest he so much as flirted with personal prejudice. But for extremists, supporting the Republican candidate for office is – in and of itself – evidence of hate.
It’s here that I have to make two different assertions. The first is the Kyle J. Rittenhouse did nothing wrong that evening. The second is that Kyle J. Rittenhouse is a hero.
The second assertion, I have no desire to support with empirical evidence because it’s not an objective truth claim. It is, admittedly enough, my opinion. But the thing about opinions is, they don’t have to be defended because subjectivity can’t be defended. It is merely my opinion, as an autonomous, free-thinking human being, that going out of your way to defend another’s life, liberty, or property is virtuous and admirable.
But the first assertion is indeed an objective truth claim. Nothing Kyle J. Howard did was morally or criminally wrong. I’ll happily defend this with empirical evidence because there is no subjectivity in the statement. I’ll say it again…
Kyle J. Rittenhouse did nothing morally or criminally wrong.
I only use the adjectives morally and criminally so as to specify that Rittenhouse shouldn’t be accused of doing everything right. It was not smart to separate from his group and therefore present himself as an easy target to the murderous rats who tried to devour him. It was not smart of his compatriots to let a 17-year-old serve over-watch duty (although it should be granted that the United States has had 17-year-olds provide over-watch since our inception). But neither of these mistakes are morally or criminally wrong.
Rittenhouse had a legal right to be present where he was present. Legally, the presence of firearms is not considered an “incitement” to violence. And legally, shooting at people who are verbally promising to kill you while physically attacking you is not wrong. Neither is it morally suspect.
In the clearest of terms, Rittenhouse should be commended for defending himself against insurmountable odds. And as a gun guy, Rittenhouse should be commended for exercising extreme trigger discipline in (1) only shooting at those actively trying to kill him (2) only shooting until those threats were eliminated and (3) hitting what he was aiming at.
My children and I watched and re-watched the footage from Rittenhouses’ brave acts of self-defense and we admired the restraint of his trigger-finger, as well as his dutiful and responsible retreat to avoid even more carnage.
And so, I had published an article at the Montana Daily Gazette entitled, Hero, Kyle Rittenhouse, Released from Jail After Citizens Raise $2 Million Bond. The piece was a simple one that explained how Rittenhouse was able to make bail, the general work of news reporting. However, my sin was two-fold; the first is that I referred to Rittenhouse as a hero (my opinion) and the second is that he did nothing wrong (and objective reality that a jury will soon determine).
For this reason, my publication was demonetized and I was banned for another 30 days on Zuckerberg’s platform.
According to Facebook, the “community guidelines” I violated was their ban on supporting “dangerous groups/people.” But reports around the country indicate that even stating Rittenhouse’s name on Facebook will attract their censorship-bots.
My crime so as to be silenced was to have an opinion I’m not supposed to have and repeat objective truths I’m not allowed to repeat. And on top of these two cardinal sins, I said the name that shall not be named…
Kyle. J. Rittenhouse.
What Facebook is doing is social-engineering and thought control in the name of sensitivity. What Big Tech is trying to do is not control our speech, so much as control our thoughts. And that’s why we say damn the man and continue to speak his name…
Kyle J. Rittenhouse.
As Facebook has prejudged Rittenhouse as a “dangerous person” (when attacked), they are violating the sacred principle of American jurisprudence – going back to English common law and beyond – of being “innocent until proven guilty.”
This young man has not been tried yet, let alone found guilty. And I would surmise that if the charges against him aren’t eventually dropped, he will be found innocent by a jury of his peers. I’m absolutely convinced that given the overwhelming video evidence from that evening that there is not a jury anywhere in the United States that would convict him of homicide or manslaughter, let alone in America’s heartland of Wisconsin.
When Rittenhouse is eventually found not guilty, what should be Facebook’s civil penalty for libel against the young man? If ever there was a case for libel, Rittenhouse has one against the Big Tech censors who have convicted him in the public marketplace preemptively.
I genuinely hope that whatever payday awaits the young man from Big Tech includes the punishment that they must say his name…
Kyle J. Rittenhouse.
[Editor’s Note: This article was written by Gideon Knox Group president, JD Hall]
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