November 20, 2021

From a military legal worker:

I'm seeing a lot of ignorance and misinformation flying around about what happened in Kenosha, and I'm going to set the record straight from a professional legal position... as well as from a former military position. I'm going to explain some things from a more technical angle derived from my many years as a paralegal and from my experience working in federal criminal justice and prosecution.

Legally, if you are in the process of a commission of a crime, it negates your ability to claim self defense if you kill someone. As in, it can't even be entered as your official defense in court. It is similar to getting rear-ended at a red light through zero fault of your own, but you were driving without a license or insurance. It automatically makes you at fault because you weren't even legally allowed to be driving.

That 17 year old in Kenosha had committed two crimes and was not even legally allowed to open carry the rifle he used to shoot three people. This means that he legally cannot claim self defense.

Another key discussion is the Castle Doctrine. Some of you may be vaguely familiar with it, as it is what allows you to use deadly force when someone comes into your house unlawfully, etc. But there are some finer points most people don't realize that you generally have to do some formal legal studies to know.

First, as soon as someone sets foot inside the threshold of your home uninvited that you believe intends to commit a crime, you can legally use deadly force and it is immediately considered self defense, even if they haven't made any violent threats or actions towards harming you.

This is because in every instance outside your home, you are required to retreat and extricate yourself from a dangerous situation if possible. It is a legal mandate, not a suggestion. Your home is considered the final retreat point, and legally you should be safe in your "Castle." There is nowhere else to retreat to, etc. This is why you are able to immediately use deadly force.

However, it is NOT to protect your property, it is for protecting your LIFE. And once the burglar, for instance, has left your home... the threat to your life is considered neutralized, and deadly force is no longer authorized. So if a burglar runs out the door and down the street with your TV, you are no longer allowed to shoot after them because they are not threatening your life. You call the police, you file a claim with your insurance, and you get a new TV. If you shoot a burglar in the back down the street, you can and should be charged with murder.

While you are out in PUBLIC, this means a lot of things obviously. It means that there is far more scrutiny and boxes that must be checked in order to claim self defense. You must be in IMMINENT danger of losing life and limb. Getting into an argument and feeling scared of being punched by an unarmed person? Not likely to be a situation where deadly force is authorized. You MUST retreat.

If someone shoots at you or pulls a knife on you in the street, that is deadly force and can be met with deadly force. But if the person is unarmed, you cannot shoot them because you're afraid of a little scuffle. That is why Rittenhouse illegally shot the first protester, and it is one of the many reasons it cannot be considered self defense. The man threw a plastic bag with trash in it at him AND MISSED, and Rittenhouse shot him. He chased his victim and instigated a fight by brandishing and flagging people with his rifle, because he is an untrained idiot with a gun. The protester was not a threat, and even if he was, all he had to do was retreat back to the police line. He rushed at protesters with a gun drawn to pick a fight, and people are acting as if he were just there to keep the peace.

He fired INTO A CROWD, and it's a miracle he didn't hit more people. More people that hadn't thrown a plastic bag. More people that were just trying to protest police brutality, which is a real issue in this country.

And then when he did finally run away, some more protesters attempted to subdue him after he had already murdered someone, he tripped, and shot two people trying to stop him from shooting others.

The fact that the police didn't arrest him and take him into custody right then and there, even if they suspected it could be self defense, is a grave issue with that police department.

I could further dissect this situation, but for now I'm going to end with people passing around misinformation about the victims being "criminals so they deserved it."

First, there are no actual records of Jacob Blake or the people shot by Rittenhouse being in the official sex offender's registry. None of them raped a 14 year old girl years ago, that is complete fabrication being purposely spread by right wing extremist sites in order to try and justify the shootings.

Jacob Blake was indeed awaiting trial for sexual assault and trespassing, and did have a warrant for his arrest. It was not assault on a child, because that is a different charge with a different title. On the charging document, it would literally say that it was against a child. From what is publicly known, he allegedly broke into an ex girlfriend's house and allegedly assaulted HER, but he is innocent until proven guilty, and still deserves his day in court. He could truly be innocent.

Rittenhouse's victims do not appear to have had any record, and even if they did, he couldn't have known that at the time. You cannot insist a shoot was justified AFTER the fact because "that person was a criminal." Criminals have rights too, whether you like it or not, and it is enshrined in the very documents that built our country. If you don't like the constitution and bill of rights, I don't know what to tell you.

This is also not MY OPINION, this is literally how the criminal justice system and our laws work. I hold a degree in paralegal studies and served 8 years as an Army paralegal. I've worked for the criminal division in the Chicago US Attorney's Office, and currently work in federal law enforcement. This is what I do for a living, and I am not pulling this out of my ass, and my knowlege is a culmination of working in the field and being passionate about justice for 16 years. I'd be happy to send you sources and opines and case law and statutes if you need it. I did not get this from "mainstream media," and I am not brainwashed by the left. I'm an independent progressive.

May he face justice for what he did, and may we find a way to get on common ground before more fuses to this powder keg are lit.

This has been my Ted Talk.