The Rittenhouse Trial

Because I started my blogging “career” as a gun blogger, the fact that I haven’t posted about the Rittenhouse case may have surprised a few longtime readers. However, I chose to refrain from commenting about it because I wanted to have access to all of the evidence before making an ass out of myself (better to be an ass who analyzed the evidence than an ass who didn’t).

Fortunately, the entire trial was livestreamed. Rather than listen to my usual assortment of podcasts while I worked, I opted to listen to the livestream of the trial. This gave me the opportunity to hear both the prosecution’s and defense’s cases. Based on the cases put forth I agree with the jury’s decision to find Rittenhouse not guilty on all charges.

A quick browsing of Twitter shows that a lot of people disagree with the jury’s verdict. It also shows me that many of the people expressing the strongest opinions, as is the tradition of online debates, didn’t watch the trial and misunderstand how the justice system in the United States is supposed to work (which is different than how it often works).

Let’s start with what I consider to be one of the most important characteristics of a functional justice system: presumption of innocence. When the state brings charges against an individual, the individual is assumed to be innocent. This means that the burden is placed on the state to prove the individual is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If you watched the trial, you saw how weak the prosecution’s case was. By the end of the trial the prosecution was leaning almost exclusively on video captured from a drone. The prosecution claimed that the video showed Rittenhouse aiming his rifle at people. This according to the prosecution proved that Rittenhouse instigated the situation and therefore lost the right to claim self-defense. Setting aside the minutia of self-defense law (what qualifies as instigation, when you lose the right to claim self-defense, when you regain the right to claim self-defense, etc.) the drone footage didn’t conclusively show Rittenhouse aiming his gun at people, which means the evidence didn’t prove the prosecution’s argument beyond a reasonable doubt.

I’m highlighting the drone footage because it allows me to segue into another point: trials have rules. A lot of rules. One rule is that the defense must be given access to the prosecution’s evidence. The prosecution provided the defense with a compressed copy of the drone footage. The defense brought this up in trial. A lot of online publications tried to make this sounds like the defense was desperate, but it was raising legitimate concerns about artifacts that are introduced when video files are compressed. Miraculously the prosecution produced a higher resolution version of the video footage and asked to show it to the jury… without first give the defense reasonable time to analyze it. This lead to the defense filing a motion for mistrial. Again online publications tried to make the motion sound like a desperate last ditch effort by a losing defense, but in actuality the motion was filed because the prosecution broke the rules.

This segues into a third point. Judges are basically referees. They ensure both the defense and prosecution (as well as everybody else in the courtroom) play by the rules. A lot of people accused the judge of (amongst other things) being biased in favor of the defense. Having watched the trial I can’t agree with those accusations. The judge came off to me as being pretty fair. Some of his actions did favor the defense, but some of his actions also favored the prosecution. The most obvious action he took that favored the prosecution was not declaring a mistrial (I believe the motion for a mistrial had merit and the judge would have been well within his rights to declare a mistrial).

These are just a few highlights that I chose to explain some of the important features of a trial. In truth the prosecution made a pitiful showing. Not only did it bring a weak case, but it violated some major rules (bringing up the fact Rittenhouse choice to exercise is Fifth Amendment right, which is a big no-no for a prosecutor, being one of the more egregious violations).

So, despite what many Twitter users seem to believe, a criminal trial is not meant to be a mere formality that enacts the desires of the loudest majority. It’s meant to be a strictly defined process to determine whether a person is guilty of a crime. While you’ll find no shortage of criticisms of the United States justice system coming from me, in this case I believe that the trial was executed more or less appropriately and the verdict was correct based on the arguments made by the defense and prosecution.

What annoys me most about this case is that even though the video footage of the entire trial is readily available on sites like YouTube, people will continue to spout falsehoods about it and the events that lead up to it. I still see a lot of tweets claiming that Rittenhouse illegally crossed state lines with his rifle or was illegally in possession of the rifle because he was a minor (those who watched the trial know that neither statement is correct). I also see a lot of tweets accusing the judge of being biased or a white supremacist (which mostly derive from a joke he made about Asian food that was actually, and pretty obviously in context, a joke about the current supply chain issues). Nothing the judge said during the trial leads me to believe he’s a white supremacist (and considering all three of the individuals Rittenhouse shot were white, I’m not sure why this is something people are wasting so much bandwidth arguing) and, as I wrote previously, his actions didn’t indicate any obvious bias.

It’s All Gone to Hell

Last night’s riots left their mark and have continued through today. I’ve been watching several livestreams and it’s obvious that local law enforcers have completely lost control of the situation. It turns out that the mechanism used by the State to oppress the masses is easily overwhelmed (surprising nobody). Governor Walz has called in the National Guard to reinforce the law enforcers, but what may go down as the single dumbest statement uttered by a Minnesotan has likely nullified whatever chance may have existed to get this riot under control:

#Breaking: During presser in Minneapolis, Hennepin County Atty Michael Freeman says #GeorgeFloyd video “graphic, horrific & terrible.” His job to prove “violation of criminal statute.”

Then drops bombshell:

“But there is other evidence that does not support a criminal charge.”

Even if Freeman has no intention of charging and arresting the officer(s) involved, there was no reason to add that last bombshell. That added a tremendous amount of fuel to an already burning firestorm.

Keeping track of all of the places in the Twin Cities experiencing looting or riots has become futile. The situation is changing too rapidly. As of this writing I know riots or looting have occurred in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Maplewood, and Woodbury. I’ve also heard mention of civil unrest in Cottage Grove and Burnsville. Stillwater’s law enforcers have apparently thrown up barricades, but those will do absolutely nothing if a determined group of rioters make it that far east. The sun hasn’t even set yet. If the last two nights are any indicator, what we’re seeing right now is the free sample. The main course will be served after sundown.

I’m not going to bother trying to deconstruct everything that is happening. Instead I’m going to provide some advice to help those of you living in the metro area increase your odds of surviving this shitshow.

  1. Don’t go to Target right now. Most of them in the metro have been closed already and for some reason Target has lived up to its name and become a primary target of the looters. Maybe this is a lesson on being more careful when choosing a company name.
  2. It’s easy to underestimate how fast riots move. Today was a good lesson in this fact as riots spread into St. Paul and some of its neighboring suburbs in a matter of hours. Just because a riot isn’t occurring near you doesn’t mean it won’t reach you soon. Treat the riots like a storm, follow their movements closely.
  3. There is no reasoning with a mob. If riots are coming to your neighborhood, run.
  4. If you don’t have a bug out bag ready to go, pack your shit now. By the time you realize you need to flee, you won’t have time to pack your shit.
  5. As a general rule hotels are cheaper the further away from the metro you are. Consider your flight a vacation for which you’re trying to get the best deal. Run as far as you can.
  6. Emergency services are going to be tied up. They will likely not respond if you call them. You’re on your own.
  7. If you work in the Twin Cities and your place of employment isn’t already a smoldering crater, call in sick. Fortunately, the COVID-19 scare makes this easier than ever.
  8. Go strapped or get clapped. You should have a gun loaded and ready to go. At a minimum you should have a handgun that you can carry on your person. Ideally you should have a long gun at home loaded and ready go to.
  9. Camping is great this time of year and the campgrounds in Wisconsin should be open for business.
  10. Last but not least, if you have a thin blue line sign or sticker on your home or vehicle, you might want to remove it sooner rather than later.

There’s nothing anybody can do to stop these riots anymore. They have to burn themselves out. The only thing you can do is take care of you and yours so concentrate on that.

Criminalizing the Act of Combining a Box and a Spring

It has begun. Carolyn McCarthy has introduced the The High Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act, which would outlaw boxes with inserted springs that are able to holder more than 10 rounds of ammunition:

As lawmakers return to Capitol Hill today to kick off the start of the 113th Congress, Democrats are already priming for a renewed battle over gun control, announcing the introduction of a bill banning high-capacity ammunition magazines before the first House session had been gaveled in.

The High Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act, which is being introduced by Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y., and is co-sponsored by Diana DeGette, D-Colo., would ban the sale or transfer of ammunition magazines holding more than 10 rounds. That standard was the federal mandate between 1994 and 2004 under the assault weapons ban, which expired in 2004.

As can be expected from McCarthy, she is outright lying in order to justify this arbitrary creation of new criminals:

“These assault magazines help put the ‘mass’ in ‘mass shooting’ and anything we can do to stop their proliferation will save lives in America,” said McCarthy in a statement. “These devices are used to kill as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time possible and we owe it to innocent Americans everywhere to keep them out of the hands of dangerous people. We don’t even allow hunters to use them – something’s deeply wrong if we’re protecting game more than we’re protecting innocent human beings.”

I’m not sure where McCarthy gets her information but in Wisconsin you can hunt with standard capacity magazines. If you go to Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) page you will see the proof:

Question 6: Is there a magazine size limit for hunting deer?

Answer: There is not a magazine capacity limit for deer hunting. Hunters may use any size magazine to hunt deer (3 round, 10 round, 30 round are common). Hunters in “shotgun only” areas are able to use as many slugs as their shotgun will hold (no plug needed).

Restrictions on magazine capacity for hunting use is a state-by-state issue, there is no blanket ban on the use of standard capacity magazines for hunting in this country. Once again we see Carolyn “Shoulder Thing That Goes Up” McCarthy making up malarkey in order to justify her blatant attacks against lawful individuals.

Now that you’ve heard what this legislation is purported to do let’s consider what will actually do. If passed this legislation would make the combination of a box and a spring illegal if that combination is able to hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. That mean this bill would authorize state agents to kidnap, imprison, and even murder an individual who has that magical combination of extremely simple objects.

At the rate things are going merely having the knowledge of how firearms operate will be a punishable offense. I hope advocates of gun control are happy. In their zeal to prevent violence they managed to introduce legislation that will initiate violence against lawful individuals possessing simple mechanical devices.

You’ll Get Half… of Nothing

I spent all of yesterday in Holmen, Wisconsin at a three gun tournament. Since I woke up at 07:00 and didn’t get home until 23:00 I didn’t have any time for blogging so you get half of nothing today. On the upside I think I shot fairly well and had a great time.

As a footnote I noticed that the spam filter went full Nazi this weekend and several comments were being held for moderation. I approved them all and made an occult sacrifice to the spam filter gods in the hopes that this won’t happen again. Sorry to everybody who had their comments held over the weekend.

Add Brew City Shooters Supply of Milwaukee, Wisconsin to the Blacklist

If you live in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and have shot at the Brew City Shooters Supply range know that your personal information was given to the local police:

Wisconsin -( Carry has learned of some concerning information that we would like to pass along to our membership and right-to-carry interested folks in southeast Wisconsin.

In a recently published Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article which you can read here

It was reported that the former Badger Guns (now Brew City Shooters Supply) has, since 2009, been reporting the names of every customer that comes in to use their firing range to the West Milwaukee Police Department.

In this time over 25,000 customer names were reported to West Milwaukee Police Chief Dennis Nasci who ran a background check on each through “his system”.

So far in 2012 it was reported more than 8,800 customer name records have been supplied to West Milwaukee Police by Brew City Shooters Supply to have a criminal background check run on them.

If there’s one thing I hate it’s a company that treats its customers like suspected criminals. At least I’m lead to believe that Brew City Shooters Supply suspects all of their customers are criminals since I can think of no other reason that they would report every one of their customers to the police. Either way I’d refrain from giving them any business as their behavior, if nothing else, is an effective means of creating a local firearm registry.

Being a Statist is Stressful

The news came down yesterday that Scott Walker won in the Wisconsin recall election. Needless to say my progressive friends are livid, my neocon friends jumping for joy, and I don’t recognize the state as a legitimate entity so I gave no shits. What’s interesting to me is watching the reaction of my progressive friends.

After both the Al Franken vs. Norm Coleman and Mark Dayton vs. Tom Emmer election results rolled in the neocons start claiming voter fraud. Expensive time wasting recounts were held, which put the Minnesota Republican Party into a rather precarious financial situation. In both cases my progressive friends were demanding the neocons just conceded and stop acting like whiny children. Now that the tables have turned, now that the neocons have won a round, my progressive friends are starting to scream voter fraud. I’ve seen this link circling. It was written before the recall election but makes a case for possible voter fraud occurring due to one company’s tight control over the voting machines used in Wisconsin.

As additional evidence my friends have been putting forth the fact that more Republicans showed up than is traditional. No shit. You guys were moving to recall their team’s governor, you can guarantee they’re going to show up. It’s like the increase in Christian voters when gay marriage bans are up for vote, there is a vested interest in the group winning so more of them show up to vote than normal. It’s not a sign of fraud, it’s a sign of self-interest.

Worrying one’s self over these matters is very stressful, which is partially why I gave it up (even though I do admit to having a relapse once in a while).

Wisconsin Right-to-Carry Law Takes Effect Today

Congratulations Wisconsin, today is the day you finally allow people within your borders the right to self-defense. People within the state can finally obtain carry permits while those living outside of the state may have their permit recognized. I posted Wisconsin’s reciprocity list a while ago and am happy that Minnesota’s permit made the cut.

First there were 50, but now there is only one as Illinois stands alone as the only state that doesn’t afford people living within its borders to carry the most effective means of self-defense.

Wisconsin Releases List of Recognized Out-of-State Carry Permits

Starting November 1st those who live in Wisconsin will be allowed to obtain carry permits and exercise their right to self-defense. In addition to that, those holding carry permits from many other states will be able to exercise legal armed defense. Wisconsin’s Attorney General released their reciprocity list and I’m glad to say Minnesota made the cut:

  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Nebraska
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Pennsylvania
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Washington
  • Wyoming
  • Puerto Rico
  • U.S. Virgin Islands

That’s a fairly inclusive list, which is good to see. I’m also glad this law came into play before the Christmas season as that is when I end up entering Wisconsin with some frequency.

Wisconsin to Get Legal Concealed Carry in Soon

It seems Governor Walker is set to sign Wisconsin’s carry bill in two days:

Gov. Scott Walker plans to sign a bill allowing Wisconsin residents to carry concealed weapons next week. Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie says Walker will sign the measure at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, July 8, at the Grand Lodge Hotel in Wausau. The bill would take effect on Nov. 1.

I’m glad that the bill will take effect shortly after being passed. This means, given proper reciprocity recognition, I should be able to carry my firearm for the Christmas get togethers I attend in La Crosse.