Where Do We Go From Here?

I don’t get the Rittenhouse verdict. And I doubt I ever will. I understand Wisconsin self-defense laws are a mess, but that still doesn’t change much for me, and the reason it doesn’t is because I fundamentally do not understand one key thing.

And that is that I do not now nor never will understand how someone gets to claim self defense after driving thirty miles with a loaded weapon to look for trouble. That’s what happened, with both Rittenhouse and at least one of the dudes he killed. And I don’t get it. You got all amped up, grabbed your gun, got in a car, rode thirty miles, threw yourself into the midst of a ruckus that didn’t fucking involve you, and ya fucked around and found out.

You weren’t an innocent. You weren’t on your front porch and defending your family or property from a riot. You weren’t in McDonalds and a riot broke out. You were out in the streets wilding. You were an enemy combatant. There’s no claim of self defense that will make sense to me. Period.

The other thing I do not get is just how drastically things have changed in my lifetime. When I was younger there just wasn’t this fetishization of guns. People round here had them, but they were thought of as tools. It’s weird watching pickup trucks and guns go from things you had because you needed them and used them to cultural statements of manhood. The only people who had guns were hunters and farmers and maybe a couple veterans and ex cops. Or rifles that were passed down. But they weren’t toys or shit like that.

Same with pickemup trucks. The only people who had pickup trucks when I was a kid did manual labor or owned or worked on a farm. And they were tools. It was a regular thing to see several light pickup trucks with “farm use” spraypainted across them. Or someone with an old beater with a bunch of construction toolboxes slung in the back with some ladders and other shit. But unless you were a single dude, it was not your only mode of transportation. You went to the doctor or church or to the fair or the grocery in the ford ltd or the oldsmobile or the cutlass.

But now guns and pickup trucks aren’t tools anymore, and I find that weird. I haven’t touched a gun since I got out of the army, and I’m just not in that line of work anymore. I don’t own a band saw, a jackhammer, a nail gun, or any other tool, either, because I don’t need them. And I don’t own a pickup truck because I don’t need one for work. I see people carrying around guns at the most benign level to be as weird as a craftsman walking into the grocery store with a powerdrill strapped to their hip.

At the less benign level we have a bunch of lunatics running around heavily armed with stickers all over their unscratched 80k monster truck with zero dents, and they’re just there to be menacing. And I don’t know how we unwind this insanity and change this cultural statement or if we even can. And that’s a shame, because with that nonsense comes the evil that we saw in Kenosha.

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