Rittenhouse is “no hero, as some of his defenders pretend. He behaved like a vigilante and didn’t deserve to walk free, given his recklessness,” the Wisconsin State Journal declared in an editorial. “Yet the law, unfortunately, skews in favor of shooters who claim self-defense. That needs to change.”
Rittenhouse, then 17, traveled from his home in Illinois to Kenosha, Wisconsin, last year during protests there against the police shooting of local Black resident Jacob Blake.
Rittenhouse “wasn’t making anyone safer by parading through crowds of angry people with a semiautomatic rifle strapped to his chest and, according to prosecutors, pointing it at people before the conflict escalated,” the newspaper noted.
When the night was over Rittenhouse had fatally shot two unarmed men, and injured a third man who had a firearm.
“Much of the case” against him “hinged on whether Rittenhouse had provoked the others. If carrying an AR-15 down a crowded street isn’t provocative, what is?” the newspaper asked.
What “Rittenhouse and other gun-toting, self-appointed ‘protectors’ of Kenosha needed to hear from our court system is that they are not the judge and jury when things go awry,” the editorial added.
The newspaper also raised an interesting puzzle: If “two people openly carry guns and point them at each other, whose self-defense claim takes priority?”
The state should be focused on “discouraging standoffs with guns, rather than encouraging more people to arm themselves out of fear or revenge,” the editorial concluded.
Read the entire Wisconsin State Journal editorial here.