Ross: The new definition of social distancing
The jury now has the case of Kyle Rittenhouse, who went to Kenosha strapped into a friend’s AR-15, and killed two people during last year’s riots. He is claiming self-defense.
And I listened closely to the closing argument of attorney Mark Richards – who is defending Rittenhouse against charges of reckless homicide – because I wanted to know what he thinks the ground rules should be if you happen to see someone carrying an AR-15 and then shooting a person with it.
And rule number one seems to be: Do NOT challenge the person, or yell at him, or harass him, or follow him. Because he may then see YOU as a threat, and shoot you in self-defense, which is what happened to Joseph Rosenbaum:
“My client does not have to take a beating from the hands of this mob or the hands of Mr. Rosenbaum,” Richards said. “Mr. Rosenbaum might be little, but he’s a pretty muscular guy. Some 30-some-year-old guy can take a 17-year-old kid nine times ‘til Tuesday.”
The defense attorney was especially annoyed to hear the prosecutor, Thomas Binger, calling his client an “active shooter” just because Rittenhouse killed Rosenbaum.
“There is no evidence whatsoever that he was an active shooter, other than Mr. Binger calling him that. And there’s no evidence that any of those other individuals who attacked him in the mob that night were attacking an active shooter,” Richards said. “He wasn’t shooting. And if they want to be the heroes, and they want to beat somebody, and do what they’re going to do to them, they’d better be right, and they weren’t. Kyle Rittenhouse shot Mr. Rosenbaum because he was attacking Kyle.”
“They’d better be right.”
Message received! In the world that this lawyer is describing, if you see someone gunned down, the safest thing is to assume it was self-defense. Because if you get all angry thinking that it’s reckless homicide and start chasing the guy, or you try to disarm him, he might feel threatened, and shoot you too in self-defense!
And conceivably, keep going until he finally feels safe, or until the ammo runs out.
In the world described by the defense, we would adopt a new kind of social distancing, where the safest distance between two people is defined by whoever has the gun. And if that’s what it takes to prevent this from happening again, so be it.
Listen to Seattle’s Morning News weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.
- Tune in to KIRO Radio weekdays at 5am for Dave Ross on Seattle's Morning News.