Kyle Rittenhouse skateboard Huber

Anthony Huber beating Kyle Rittenhouse, who is on the ground, with his skateboard during the riots in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Harvard Law professor Noah Feldman has written one of the most intellectually dishonest takes on the Rittenhouse shooting to date. He ignores major facts of what happened that night (there’s video evidence, perfesser) in order to craft an argument that claims — given the very real chance that Rittenhouse will be found not guilty of the charges against him — the laws surrounding self-defense, especially where guns are concerned, are somehow broken.

We especially liked the bit about the “unarmed skateboarder.”

In a sensible world, the fact that [Anthony] Huber may have tried to disarm Rittenhouse, who had just shot [Joseph] Rosenbaum, would turn Huber into a martyred hero — not someone who posed a lethal threat to the shooter.

The logic that turns an unarmed skateboarder into someone whom Rittenhouse could shoot in self-defense again hinges on the presence of the shooter’s own gun. A jury could be convinced that Rittenhouse was acting in self-defense when he shot Huber, again because he was afraid that Huber might take his gun and shoot him.

Finally, Rittenhouse shot and injured Gaige Grosskreutz, who approached Rittenhouse while armed with a handgun. This is the only one of the three shootings that should even conceivably be considered as potential self-defense, because Grosskreutz was armed. But if Grosskreutz believed that Rittenhouse was a shooter on a spree — because Rittenhouse had just killed two men — then it also defies common sense to think that Rittenhouse was entitled to shoot him in self-defense just because Grosskreutz was armed. What about Grosskreutz’s right to self-defense?

The upshot is that Rittenhouse’s self-defense arguments may well go to a jury; and it’s not at all impossible that a jury might acquit him, except on the illegal underage possession of firearms charge. If that happens, the law on the books will have more or less been followed. But the gravitational pull of the right to bear arms will have made a mockery of our aspiration for the laws to make common sense. When there are guns involved, common sense goes out the window.

– Noah Feldman in How Guns Twist the Logic of Self-Defense Laws



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