Before sending a Kenosha, Wisconsin, jury to deliberate if Kyle Rittenhouse is a murderer, Judge Bruce Schroeder informed Rittenhouse’s hand-picked jury that his fate rests on the “privilege” of self-defense.
We now know what the jury decided.
Neither side disagreed that the 18-year-old intended to shoot Anthony M Huber, Joseph Rosenbaum and Gaige Grosskreutz. They don’t disagree that the Smith & Wesson M&P 15 is a dangerous weapon. However, under Wisconsin’s self-defense statutes, Rittenhouse was allowed to use deadly force, even if he provoked the 25 August attack, if he “reasonably believed” it was necessary to prevent his own death. Even though he traveled to the city and walked into a chaotic scene with a killing machine.
“A belief may be reasonable even though mistaken,” the jury instructions read. “In determining whether the defendant’s beliefs were reasonable, the standard is what a person of ordinate intelligence and prudence would have believed in the defendant’s position.”
Before former Kenosha alderman Kevin Mathewson summoned “patriots willing to take up arms and defend our city from the evil thugs”, no one else had died during the unrest in his city. Before Rittenhouse killed two people
and wounded another, no one else had been shot. So, why is it reasonable to believe Rittenhouse needed a killing machine to protect himself against the “evil thugs” who were not shooting and killing people?
The “reasonable man” test derives from the description of a nondescript English character called the “man on the Clapham omnibus” – a reasonably educated, but average, hypothetical passenger on a London bus route whose thoughts and actions are defined as “ordinary”. The US supreme court case Graham v Connor enshrined this concept into law. The reason police are often acquitted of killing unarmed citizens is that they can argue that a “reasonable” police officer would have used deadly force, even if the officer turned out to be wrong and the victim was unarmed. When I first heard this principle, the first thing I thought was: “A white person came up with this.”
Because all of our opinions are shaped and colored by our experiences, “reasonable” is a subjective notion. Only white people’s perceptions are made into a reality that everyone else must abide by. Think about how much privilege one must have for their feelings to become an actual law that governs the actions of people everywhere.
Story continues at: White Reasoning