Kyle Rittenhouse, the seventeen-year-old from Illinois, who got into deadly confrontations with rioters in Kenosha, Wisconsin, showed he is more a man than the older men who attacked him. He found himself in the same situation that millions of young men throughout history have: when confronted by an attacker in warfare or civil unrest, you make the stark choice–it is him or me. Rittenhouse did everything possible to avoid the confrontations. He tried to leave the rioting scene when he was separated from the older men he accompanied in a local business’s defence. He was asked to take part in protecting the local business that was set on fire in the rioting the night before. He armed himself, yes, for self-protection, and that is how he used his rifle, an AR-15, in the end.
Moreover, he knew how to use his rifle. He fired five shots at the first attacker (when the first shots were fired), and one shot each at the second and third attackers as a last resort when cornered by them. Regrettably, two of the attackers died, and the third suffered a grievous wound to his arm. Whether he should have been there or not is academic. The fact remains, had Rittenhouse not used deadly force to stop the attackers, he would be either seriously injured or dead at the rioters’ hands. A second-hand account of what happened to the attacker who survived states, “I just talked to [name redacted] too–his only regret was not killing the kid and hesitating to pull the gun before emptying the entire mag into him. Coward.” (National File) Following the shootings, he ran to the law on the scene, trying to surrender to the police. The police on the scene told him to move along. He turned himself in to the police in Illinois, and he faces several criminal charges in Wisconsin.
He will have his day in court. He killed two men and wounded a third. Being a man means facing the consequences of your actions. I think he understands that. He will have to live with the reality that he killed two men. It will remain on his conscience for the rest of his days. He is caught up in a critical situation, not of his own making that will determine the rest of his life. As the investigation into the shootings is underway, the available evidence supports the argument that he acted in self-defence. It will be some time before a judgement is handed down–he faces six charges. In the meantime, he will endure the media’s efforts and various interest groups to paint him and his family being all manner of villainy. I wish him well as he rides out the storm ahead. I hope he will be able to get on with his life when the court proceedings are concluded. Given how the young Rittenhouse handled himself when he came under attack that fateful night, I think as he matures and leaves his adolescence behind, he will become a fine man. He aspired to join the police force; I hope he can realize his ambition as he showed excellent character strength for such a young man. I think he will be an acceptable candidate for the police force if he stays the course he took before the unfortunate events in Kenosha interrupted his career path. Regardless, his life will never be the same.
Jason and Fran on their way to their deer stands on a November afternoon.
The Liberal government led by Justin Trudeau enacted the prohibitions of 1500 makes and models of semi-automatic rifles via an Order-in-council. It came as no surprise as I knew long before now that the Liberal Party of Canada does not care about the rights and freedoms of Canadians when it comes to gun ownership. I am a gun owner–I started handling guns in 1969 when I was eight years old. My father gave me and my siblings our first lessons in the safe handling of firearms. He bought a .22 calibre pellet rifle and taught us how to handle safely, take aim and shoot at targets in our back garden. While my siblings did not take up an interest in guns, I am a lifelong enthusiast for firearms and hunting. My dad gave me my first shotgun, a Savage hammerless single shot in 16 gauge, back in 1975 when I was fourteen. I had to wait until I was fifteen and completed the Hunter Safety Course and pass the safety test before I got my first hunting license. Once certified as a licensed hunter in 1976, I took to the field with my single shot 16 gauge shotgun and never looked back. Continue reading →
The term assault weapon comes up frequently in media reports on guns in society. The term has its origins in the 1980s and is credited to Josh Sugarmann executive director and founder of the Violence Policy Center (VPC) and noted prohibitionist. Before founding the Violence Policy Center in 1988, Sugarmann served as communications director for the National Coalition to Ban Handguns (renamed the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV) in 1989). The term assault weapon entered common parlance after Sugarmann authored a publication entitled Assault Weapons and Accessories in America in 1988. Sugarmann and the Violence Policy Center are among those advocates of prohibition who frame the argument that ban is a matter of public health and safety, that this trumps the individual right to own and use guns. In their effort to advance this agenda, prohibitionists resort to the underhanded tactic of framing the debate in a manner that confuses the issue, causing people to quarrel over what is they view as good guns vs bad guns. Continue reading →
How often am I confronted with the assertion that “a gun is for killing?” Invariably this assertion is used by prohibitionists in debates and discussions over gun ownership. It is intended to end the debate or discussion in putting those who argue in favour of gun ownership on the defensive. The expectation is you will have to reply with “yeah, but…” This expectation is nonsensical, of course; it is a common fallacy, the argument from ignorance. Those who put forth the assertion “a gun is for killing” insist it must be true as it has yet to be proven false. Is this assertion true? Are guns for killing? If this question demands a yes or no answer, then the answer is no, guns are not for killing. In short, a gun is a device that fires a single projectile or with a shotgun, many smaller sub-projectiles, or one large projectile. However, the answer to that question is not that simple; it requires a more nuanced response. Continue reading →
To prop up the Canadian Firearms Act imposed on Canadian gun owners by the Liberal government of Prime Minister Jean Chretien, Anne McLellan was appointed as the Minister of Justice in 1997 (a post she held until 2002). In propping up the Canadian Firearms Act, the Ministry of Justice came up with the slogan Aiming for Safety for the promotion of the Canadian Firearms Program, a component of the Canadian Firearms Act. I remember all this at the time, and then as now, when I review the transcriptions of Anne McLellan’s public pronouncements on creating a “culture of safety and responsibility around the ownership and use of guns,” I still register shock and disbelief. Is she that obtuse? How does making gun ownership a crime, enabling bureaucrats to prohibit makes and models of firearm arbitrarily and demanding that hunters and sport shooters register themselves and their property with the state do anything for safety and responsibility around the ownership and use of guns? In short, it does nothing of the kind; Aiming for Safety is nothing more than a euphemism for gun prohibition.
There have been a number of school shootings in the past several years. Of the various school shootings the only one where I can recall where I was and what I was doing when the news broke was the one that took place at Columbine High School in Colorado on April 20, 1999. I was working for Canadiana in its offices at the National Library National Archives of Canada at the time. I was searching for books in the library stacks and another employee had a radio on. News that there was a shooting at a high school had been relayed and the radio announcer was assuring listeners that the school shooting was not in Ottawa. Twelve students and one teacher were killed in the rampage, with twenty-four students injured before the gunmen, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, committed suicide. Since then there have been a number of shootings in schools, Virginia Tech, April 16, 2007 and Sandy Hook Elementary School, on December 12, 2012, for example, in which children and young people were murdered, in each case by a mentally ill individuals in unlawful possession (with the exception of Seung-Hui Cho who lawfully acquired his firearms) of the guns used in the shootings. These tragedies are exploited shamelessly by gun prohibitionists who insist that it is guns that are the problem and thereby it is gun owners who are guilty by association. The typical refrain is something along the lines of “if not for those selfish gun nuts who refuse to give up their deadly toys, those children would still be alive.”
As a gun owner and hunter, I am familiar with the range of attitudes toward my hobby. I have a modest collection of sporting guns, shotguns and rifles designed for use in hunting. As I am left-handed I prefer break action shotguns and bolt-action rifles. I have two pump action shotguns in my collection and no semi-automatic firearms. I have no pistols in my collection either as these are not lawful for use in hunting in Canada. I spend time on the skeet range throughout the year to practice mounting and swinging my shotgun and go to the rifle range to make certain my deer rifle is sighted in before taking to the field. I am not really a gun enthusiast. I know enough about the guns in my collection to give them basic maintenance to see they work as they should. For more detailed maintenance I rely on my hunting buddy Jason or a professional gun smith. Continue reading →