(Aug. 26) The shooter who killed two people during Tuesday riots in Kenosha, Wisconsin, should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Yes, it is necessary for authorities to use whatever means necessary, including force, to quash violent riots. Key word: authorities. There is no good excuse for vigilante groups, especially of outsiders, to take that job upon themselves.

That’s exactly what appears to have happened in Kenosha. While facts remain to be ascertained, it appears that 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, who has been charged with firing the shots, was part of a militia group, or at least imagined himself to be allied with vigilante militias. At least one militia group was acting not merely in lieu of law enforcement, but in defiance of law enforcement. In an obviously volatile situation, every single person acting in defiance of law enforcement is morally responsible for any violence that ensues, and by the very act of defiance is by definition a criminal.

A burned out car lot in Kenosha after the riots

Rittenhouse apparently lived not in the neighborhood where the shooting took place, but 15 miles away. What was he doing in the riot zone? Why was he armed? Why was he there after an announced curfew, in defiance of the curfew? Every person defying the curfew, whether protester or militia, is committing a crime, and is thus a criminal.

Of course someone has the right to protect his own property from rioters and urban terrorists, and anyone acting lawfully has the right to defend his own life or that of innocents. Nobody, though, has the right to travel across state lines to insert himself into a violent situation, carrying a gun, after a curfew, and then claim to be acting in self-defense. No matter what other provocations there are, such a person has himself become a provocateur….

[The full column is here.]



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