Opinion: Would You Let Your Armed Teenager go to a Protest?

The Old Man

Court paves way for misguided acts of valor

I suppose it’s good to know if your underage son or daughter procures a weapon, seeks out trouble in a nearby town, kills two people, and wounds a paramedic, all will be forgiven — self-defense.

Self-defense? Against a man with a bag of socks? Or a skateboard?

It's a provocation to show up at a protest rally with an AR-15 assault rifle. Americans may be armed to the teeth, but it’s still unnerving to encounter a teenager walking around a protest with a military weapon.

This would have been the perfect time for responsible gun owners to gain some credibility by condemning the absolute lunacy of a seventeen-year-old kid traveling thirty miles from home looking for trouble — no way!

Instead, conservatives fall all over themselves, making Rittenhouse a hero and coming to his defense. Just when you think that there might be a responsible gun owner, they prove you wrong. Instead of taking the high road and pointing out a blatant abuse of gun ownership, gun owners stand up for what is wrong with guns in the US.

The court verdict for a “white” shooter is predictable but extremely disappointing. I wonder what the verdict would have been for a shooter of another color? Actually, I don’t wonder at all. I know without a doubt, Kenosha, Wisconsin is eighty percent white.

When you go to a protest armed, there is but one message — intimidation. Don’t mess with me. I’ve got a gun. I’m not here to debate. I’ve got a gun. Self-defense? That’s ridiculous. Suppose an individual is concerned about their safety and has absolutely no conceivable reason to put themselves in danger. In that case, you stay home — you don’t seek out a dangerous situation and label your action self-defense. Rittenhouse had no conceivable reason to be in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

I don’t believe that guns have a place in any protest. When a person shows up at a demonstration with a weapon, they show up to intimidate. What right does one citizen have to threaten another? A plastic bag of socks is not intimidating. An AR-15 is scary intimidation.

Right now, provocative gun owners have a bit of an edge. They can show up at a protest and change the dynamics of the playing field in their favor. It seems our country is OK with that. One person has a gun. Another is unarmed — that’s about as lopsided as you can get. What will our world be like when the rest of us tire of intimidation.

Everyone in the US has a right to free speech and protest perceived injustices without the intimidation of people armed to the teeth. What happens when everyone shows up at a protest lawfully armed? Why should a peaceful person suffer the indignation of armed intimidation by another? Soon everyone will show up at city council meetings armed. Not one side intimidating the other, both sides equally armed and ready to exercise their constitutional rights to bear arms and shove them in your face.

This is our brave new world.

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Looking for solutions to improve our world. I write about politics, education, climate change, and any issues important to average Americans struggling to survive in a world gone mad.

Chico, CA

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