Things we have learned from the Kyle Rittenhouse Trial

I have been following the trial of Wisconsin v. Kyle Rittenhouse pretty close over the last week. As someone who is prepared to defend themself, I have found it important to watch this trial and learn more about the justice system and the reality of a situation that any one of us could find ourselves in.

Being that I am on social media a lot (personally and as a Moderator of USCCA Pages) I have kept a close eye on the use of social media posts in relation to the questioning of witnesses such as Gaige Grosskreutz and Kyle Rittenhouse. Both the prosecution and the defense have used things from social media against them and I think it’s important to remember how that could affect MY trial if, God forbid, I was ever in a situation that either of these two were in.

Regardless of where you stand in the case or what outcome you may want to see, I’m curious as to what everyone else thinks about this, and when you post to social media of any kind, do you think about how it may look if you were ever questioned in your own self-defense trial?

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I learned long ago that words can come back to bite, sometimes from unexpected sources. No matter the format --spoken, written, recorded-- I try to choose my words carefully so that my meaning is clear and difficult to misinterpret, absent actual malice. I also try to avoid making sweeping generalities which may tend to “tar all with one brush”.

This is all really an extension of other conversations about what message might be sent by the quips and sayings we choose to display on our clothing or vehicles or weapons, etc. Words and bullets are much the same: once you put them out there you can’t get them back, so be careful how you use them.

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Don’t go to dumb places where dumb people are at a dumb time. There’s a whole world to visit; make better choices.

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I learned one lesson - think before you act.

It is not about criticizing Kyle’s presence in Kenosha. I don’t know if he was obligated to be there or not, but during riots me and my Family take care of our business.
My home is my castle. I’m protected by Law being in my castle.

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100%! Avoiding these types of situations is always the best option.

But, what if you defend yourself when you go shopping and charges were brought against you. Could there be things that you have posted online that may be brought up and used against you?

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I feel like my social media posts could be a problem, if taken out of context. I’m in the process of getting off SM. I hope I never have to draw my weapon on a human (I did on a coyote outside my chicken coop once) because I don’t want to be in the situation KR is in right now. But I also have to be prepared to protect myself and/or others.
KR seems well trained in firearms handling and safety but he didn’t use wisdom in going to the city that day/night. That said, he is young. He is probably a little impulsive. It seemed like a good thing to do to help others (first aid, fire suppression, property protection). Again, he’s young, not wise.

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It’s too much work for me to maintain multiple personalities, and I think it’s a fantasy to believe that anything you put out will not be traceable back to you.

I try to behave in all circumstances only in ways I’m willing to own. Not to say that words and actions can’t be twisted, misinterpreted, or just invented. I’m hardly a model of tact and discretion, and I can’t control what others do with that. I can only control myself — if I want to be taken as a good person, I need to present as a good person.

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Welcome to the community, @Mel12! Thanks for your thoughts!

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I read posts here about people’s reaction to perceived stressful situations, pictures of human shaped targets, their Armageddon ready carry status, and am glad my firearms are for recreational purposes and relaxation, my knives are artwork, my targets are round or square, and my present day life a veritable cakewalk.
I understand this is a self defense oriented community, the AAA for the carrying community…but I wish more gun owners would spread the word about the fun of this activity.

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I do wonder about it. I’m sure there are prying eyes on this very forum. Certainly if one had to defend in court and the prosecutor found out that the defendant was covered by the insurance policy attached to USCCA membership they would either visit or subpoena posts on this board.

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Rittenhouse’s breakdown in court struck me as a classic example of PTSD.
I’m not a psychologist, however I’ve seen this before.
Having a beer with an otherwise jolly fellow easily mistaken for a Viking giant (tall, bright red beard and hair) the discussion turned to the Army.
My giant friend was the night watchman at a candy company warehouse—he always carried pockets full of candy he generously gave out, explaining that one of the perks was that employees were allowed to help themselves when boxes were broken open and the contents spilled on the floor of the warehouse.
Then the conversation turned to Viet Nam.
His outfit was clearing out a village and he entered a hooch where there was a mother and child. The mother took an AK out from behind some baskets and he instinctively shot her. The child went for the AK and he shot him as well.
After telling me. he wept exactly like Rittenhouse did at the trial. Exactly like Rittenhouse.

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Welcome to our Community @Mel12. During my classes, I do strongly suggest that my clients/students make a serious attempt to wean themselves from all SM. Everything and I mean EVERYTHING on SM will be taken out of context my an over zealous prosecutor trying to make a name for him/herself.

At this point in my life, I have to ask myself: “Who am I trying to impress on SM?” To be honest, no one really and truly cares about my opinion unless and until it aligns with their own.

Stay safe out there.

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If I could summarize my social media posts related to self-defense, it would be to die of old age with my family safe without me having to call the USCCA for a post-shooting incident.

  1. Stay away from trouble spots.
  2. If 1 didn’t work, heed Kenny Rogers’ words of wisdow,
    “Walk away from trouble if you can
    Now it won’t mean you’re weak if you turn the other cheek
    I hope you’re old enough to understand
    Son, you don’t have to fight to be a man" :notes:

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Reminds me of my CCW instructor. His exact words, “if taking another man’s life didn’t affect you, something’s wrong with you.”
He strongly suggested, if we’re involved in a self-defense incident that resulted in the taking of one’s life, seek professional help—immediately!

I deliberately limited my social media posts on the Rittenhouse trial although I couldn’t help laughing at the perennial crybaby Lebron who mocked Kyle.

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I don’t think anyone needs to be watching anybody ahead of time for this to be an issue of concern to anyone posting here or elsewhere in a public or semi-public forum.

After an incident, anyone being investigated is likely to have their social media presence examined along with any other history shedding light on a person’s values, attitudes, activities, associates, expressions — which might include devices seized and warrants obtained. At which point, threads will probably lead to user names, passwords, accounts, etc to be examined as part of whatever investigation is going on.

If one is doing bad stuff, they can hope to remain shielded by some privacy policy or measure — but it might be simpler to just not do bad stuff. If your media presence is all good stuff, maybe investigators will get bored and cut you loose. :thinking:

It’s true that there likely are observers or trolls out looking for domestic terror signals, or just random “see something/say something” exposures. But I don’t think “the spies” are the hazard in developing an awkward social media trail prior to a defensive force incident.

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This forum is the closest I come to social media. No FB, No snapchat. No nothing. Never have, never will. To communicate with someone, I write letters, which pretty much insures that the only “hard copy” is in the hands of the intended recipient. Maybe an occasional text message, usually regarding an upcoming family reunion in which the response is a generic “I’ll be there.”

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I learned there are still some conscientious judges left in our system. When the people no longer trust the judiciary to reflect the constitution what is left? I still feel the majority of the system is corrupt and no longer recognizes the constitution as the law of the land, but there is still some semblance of hope.

Also, use your rights, dont waive them. I wish I could say with confidence your rights will protect you, but in todays world that would be a stretch. Just stay out of trouble as best possible.

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I worked with a friend at my PD who took the life of two men as a result of being the SWAT sniper. One was a close in shot while within 75 feet of the house using at the time his H&K MP5 when the guy ran out the back door at him with a knife. (Murder suspect). 2nd was a man hidden in his house who shot through a window and killed one of my best friends as they were preparing entry. This sniper saw only the flash as it was still dark but his shot still hit the suspect in the neck killing him instantly. This friend was also former Delta Force and could run 10 miles and not break a sweat. But in all our talks he was fine and to this day he lives a good well adjusted life. Both of these shootings happened 25 years ago and I have no idea how many lives he may have taken while active with DF. But he really has no issues, no dreams/nightmares and so on. So not everyone is affected the same way in deadly force situations.

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The main thing is keep you piehole shut. No interviews, no FB postings, no going to bar with people you dont trust. The internet never forgets or forgives.
I dont agree with what Rittenhouse did by going there. Going into a trouble zone, no matter how good your intentions may be, is just asking for problems. But Rittenhouse handled that whole thing like a pro. From what I heard from his testimony it sounded like a real bad dream. Running from people whose sole intention is killing you. No help from police or anyone else. It was just him and a group of really evil people. A lesser man would have sprayed and prayed the crowd. He showed real presence of mind by shooting those who really were trying to kill him.

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