No doubt Kyle Rittenhouse was afraid after joining a protest in Kenosha, WI, in August of 2020. The military uses the term “the fog and friction of war.” A demonstration that has grown into a riot is not different from a firefight. The human response is always confusion in the sudden noise, smoke, surging, and threats shouted at random. For a teenager who has decided to be the fierce protector, the reality of the situation must have been a shock. He saw people who were trying to stop him as a threat to his life. The jury, applying the self-defense law of the state of Wisconsin, agreed.
None of the information about that sad situation surprises me because I have noted a shift in the description of the guy in the white hat who saves the town. The good guy of the past always showed restraint. He did not advertise his ability to repel the bad guy. A firearm was only a tool to be skillfully used when needed. Now it has become an accessory to be brandished when someone wants to represent a bad a**. A gun backs up the slogan, “Don’t Tread on Me.”
The Thanksgiving we celebrate tomorrow and the coming of the word of love shown through the birth and life of Jesus that we will celebrate in 30 days should mean that life is good. We have nothing to fear in our daily life. Why have so many decided that they must take an initiative-taking step and defend themselves and their beliefs by openly carrying a gun?
People are also reading…
I had to treat my cap pistols as though they could hold bullets. My NRA life-member Dad taught me that you didn’t pick up a gun until you needed to use it. A safe contained his gun collection, and it was in a locked closet. My Dad supported privately owned guns, but he believed in safety restrictions.
Digital games depicting firefights are top-rated. The player gains points for taking down an opponent with a gun. The most lethal guns spray bullets rapidly, and an accurate aim is less important. The games are entertaining, but they can obscure the pain and suffering those real-life situations can inflict. As adolescents are learning how to be an adult, the adrenalin rush of advancing in a game can become linked to the display of strength using weapons. Given a cause to believe in, a young person, even an adult who frequently plays, can decide to take up arms in defense. The games are enjoyable, but the action they portray produces PTSD in the real world.
I believe that every citizen who will use a weapon carefully should own one or even a collection. However, I think that gun owners should be individually licensed just as car drivers are. When someone exhibits behavior that calls their safe use of weapons into question, they should lose their license until they prove they will fire with care. If Rittenhouse had qualified for a license, he might have understood how inappropriate walking into a crowd with a rifle drawn could be. I was not allowed to handle a gun without an adult presence until I graduated from High School.
When the subject of getting a gun license or permit comes up in conversation, I often hear arguments relating to the cost and bother of procuring the proof. Considering that a rifle or a handgun is expensive, the price of a safety class and a permanent piece of paper is negligible. Driving is more costly because insurance is required. We have the right to bear arms, but the constitution doesn’t say anything about the personal cost of that right.
A gun license will not prevent someone from getting a firearm through a straw sale, theft, or illegal purchase. It will give law enforcement a tool to confiscate a gun in some circumstances. It will make unlawful ownership more difficult. It might have prevented a naïve Kyle Rittenhouse from taking matches to a fire.
Linda Brugger, retired from the Air Force Reserve, leaning Democrat and community activist can be reached at IdahoAuthor@outlook.com. She welcomes feedback.