Turns out, that film crew, part of a documentary team working for Fox host Tucker Carlson, had been embedded with the Rittenhouse defense team throughout the trial.
Whatever the verdict, Rittenhouse, an irresponsible kid who as a self-appointed protector of property wielded an AR-15 assault rifle against people, was going to be famous.
I asked John Rosenthal, co-founder of Stop Handgun Violence, a Massachusetts nonprofit that advocates for common-sense gun control, what might have happened if Rittenhouse or some other self-appointed vigilante showed up with an AR-15 at Boston Common two weeks ago, when right-wing demonstrators clashed with counterprotesters.
There could have been carnage, he acknowledged, but he’s also confident that Boston police would have arrested anybody walking around with an assault rifle because, unlike 43 other states including Wisconsin, Massachusetts enacted an assault weapons ban.
Rosenthal notes that in most states, there are strict limitations on the numbers of rounds that hunters can carry. For deer, it’s usually five. For duck, it’s usually three. But in most states, he says, there are no round limits on people who carry military-style weapons.
So, as a nation, we do a better job protecting hunted animals than hunted people.
Like other gun control advocates, Rosenthal worries about the message sent by the Rittenhouse verdict, especially in the 23 states that have stand-your-ground laws. Rather than deter self-appointed vigilantes, he said, the verdict suggests it’s okay to take to a public event a weapon designed to kill as many humans as possible in the shortest period of time; that if someone approaches you and you perceive that person to be a threat, you can shoot them with impunity.
“What does it say that we put more limits on police officers than we do on teenage idiots walking around with military-style assault rifles?” Rosenthal said. “What a country.”
Kyle was just your typical young white Christian man looking for the opportunity to shoot people on the street, as young white Christian men typically do.