As I write this article the Kyle Rittenhouse trial is still ongoing as the Jury is deliberating. By the time you read this, we will likely know the verdict. Regardless of the outcome, one point that was raised by the prosecution against Rittenhouse, and used against him, was the fact that he had body armor in the car. Let’s learn from all the elements of this case, including this:
Again, at this writing, I have not seen the verdict, but the decisions made by the defendant that have been used by the prosecution against him are clear. Let me clarify my own non-legal professional opinion on this case: Rittenhouse, being there to begin with, was a bad idea; he was only 17 years old and he was wearing a slung rifle that is a trouble magnet in such situations. But, his actions taken once violence erupted were clearly self-defense and the fact that this case even went to trial is entirely political in motivation. While we can argue over his lack of sound decision making up to that point, his actions in the shooting are what is being tried, and his actions were clearly in self-defense.
With that said, a number of valuable lessons come out of this case. Remember that a jury of your peers does not mean a jury of fellow gun people. The average juror will know nothing about firearms or self-defense. Any actions that a self-defender takes will need to be justified to the average juror. The fact that your gun is scary and black looking will need to be argued away by the defense team. Seriously. That is the level of firearms knowledge and understanding that a jury will hold at the outset.
This particularly despicable prosecutor in the Rittenhouse case made a big fuss about the rifle, naturally, but also about body armor that was actually in a vehicle, not on the defendant’s body. Why would the prosecutor bring this up? Simple: to paint the defendant as a nut job who rolls around with a rifle and body armor, just looking for an opportunity to act out his Call of Duty fantasies. This is a reminder that, in the aftermath of a justifiable use of force in self-defense, everything will be used against you by a prosecutor that is motivated to prosecute.
I am an advocate of having rifles and body armor, but I have long argued that both are of limited use in the civilian world outside of home defense. Keeping a rifle and body armor in a vehicle is likely only a way of providing an easy score for a thief. The nature of violence clearly demonstrates that bad things happen fast and the likelihood of the self-defender ever making it to the rifle and armor is almost non-existent. You will fight with the handgun you are wearing. Not to mention the fact that running around an active shooter scene, or among a violent mob, with a long gun makes you a target for law enforcement and other armed citizens. It can also gain the attention of the thugs in the vicinity, as the Rittenhouse incident shows.
Therefore, ask yourself, is it worth keeping gear that is exceedingly unlikely to ever be used in your vehicle to begin with? Could an incident happen in which the zombie hoards spring up and attack you while you are in the city and you need to don your body armor, grab your AR, and fight your way out? Sure, I suppose it is possible. However, what is far more likely?
You use your concealed handgun to defend yourself and in the aftermath the prosecutor makes hay out of the fact that you had a rifle and body armor in your trunk. You were, obviously, a lunatic who was just waiting for an opportunity to go on a rampage. When Cricket the neighborhood Crackhead got himself shot by you (never mind that Cricket pointed a gun at you, the prosecutor will put Cricket’s grandmother on the stand to testify that he was a good boy) he became the victim of a cold-blooded killer. After all, what kind of individual keeps an “assault rifle” and body armor in the car? A right-wing, gun nut, anarchist, obviously!
I am not big on keeping a rifle and armor in the car, but that is because I fail to see the practicality of it, save for people who live in rural areas and may actually need the proverbial “truck gun.” For a guy in suburbia or an urban environment, it serves little outside of being a theft waiting to happen. The handgun is the weapon of personal protection against unexpected violence. The possibility that a malicious, leftist, prosecutor may use what property you keep in the vehicle against you is just another fact that you should contemplate when making your decisions as to what you carry, and where you keep it. Just my two cents.
Well said. The footage shows that lot of the other guys guarding businesses there that night were decked out in gear, ammo, patches, camo apparel, etc. Now imagine if they ended up in front of the prosecutor, and suddenly you realize Kyle’s “loadout” (overused term I know) was remarkably light so it was hard to taint him in trial. Companies and influencers are pushing low-vis tactical chest rigs and carrier gear for social unrest situations onto users who think they now fit the gray man profile. Don’t be suprised if they end up having to defend themselves when attacked, no matter how flawless and lifesaving their actions were, a rogue agenda driven prosecutor will introduce each and every piece of gear into evidence to “educate” the jury about the defendant’s intentions.
Agreed. And, I am not saying don’t have it for the appropriate situation, but just keeping it in the vehicle for a fantasy scenario may be more trouble than benefit.
3+ M193 ceramic rifle plates if you research and look at good testing to prove they work, are inexpensive. Putting them in the trunk at a certain angle gives some protection against a car jacking, if you get shot at. If you are in a city, gangs are increasingly doing 3rd world style assassinations at traffic stops, you can see some video of this, that have AR-15 converted to machineguns or drug dealers carry body armor and short barrel rifles e.g. AK pistols. The threat from the gangs is a possible vs fantasy case. Carrying a AR pistol allows an equal fight, usually there are 4 gang members coming out of a car for car assassinations. Your logic of worrying about theft is a weakness, that is why people invest in car safes, this is why they have car insurance. These are life and death risk mitigations, so worrying about loosing $3,000 in a rare case or worrying about the reality we will always face of a public, a jury and a legal system that never looks kindly on self defense are not reasons to risk your life or your family’s life based on a bias of theft or the fear of trial. Think through your advice before placing people at risk if they follow it.
Show me an incident in which a civilian self-defender had time to get their “AR Pistol” into action to defend themselves in public. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
Now show me how many civilians have brought one to bear against an active shooter while away from home. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
Now show me how many rifles are stolen from vehicles each year.
If we want to look at facts, I think it is clear who is thinking through their advice before dispensing it. Using a rifle in civilian self defense outside of the home is a fantasy. Having enough time to put armor on to respond is an even bigger fantasy. Combine that with the greatly increased risk of getting shot by responders because you are carrying a rifle, there is no realism in what you are promoting.
Violence happens quickly and training with your handgun rather than playing fantasy weekend warrior camp with your rifle and armor in the car is what makes sense based on what really happens.
I’ll admit I have a set of ceramic/PE plates in my car. It’s not that I think I’ll need ’em, more that I had a set then found another set I wanted to try leaving me with two. Since I can only wear one at a time I have one set up in the home and another in my Subaru. It probably will never get used but if I do need it I’ll be glad it’s there. If it gets stolen it would suck but I won’t be out much.