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.