Kenosha, Wisconsin. Rittenhouse. Racial Protests.

The state of Wisconsin is an open carry state. You do not need a license to carry a gun in public, but you do need to be at least 18 years old. Rittenhouse is 17.

He’s been quoted as saying that he went out on that fateful day to protect public property.

He has a right to do so. He doesn’t, however, have a right to carry the rifle he carried.

The video I saw has him shooting two men, one fatally and another in the arm.

Preceding the video, he acknowledged having shot a man who died later. Reportedly, a trash bag had been thrown at him and he shot in response. That is not captured on video.

In the video mentioned above, taken moments after the first shooting, Rittenhouse falls to the ground and is attacked by a man with a skateboard. Rittenhouse shoots and kills him. Then another man approaches while pointing a gun. Rittenhouse shoots him in the arm. Then he gets up and walks off toward police vehicles entering the area and the video stops. Apparently, he was arrested later that day at his home.

Rittenhouse shouldn’t have been at the protest site while armed.

He showed poor judgment, and so did all others who, knowing he was planning to do so, did not make an effort to dissuade him.

He is 17 years old. He is not authorized to carry a weapon in the open.

When tensions are inflamed, anything can happen. Whoever had any supervisory influence over Rittenhouse failed to exercise it, and so did a huge disservice to the young man and the victims.

No one has a right to destroy property. Anyone’s property. No matter how angry they might be.

We all have a right to protest, as vigorously as we see fit. But the moment we choose to damage property we are in violation of the law and likely to trigger retaliation.

Law enforcement must act to stop the destructive acts.

We have agreed on that as a people.

No matter how horrible the act that leads to a protest, damage to life and property should not be condoned.

In the course of our ongoing racial protests there has been a profound lack of firm leadership, from all sides, Republicans, Democrats and in between, who have failed to say to the rest of us, ‘you are entitled to protest, yes you are, we need to hear your complaints so we can better act to prevent these injustices from happening again, but as you protest, do not hurt others or damage what they have worked so hard to build. There are injustices in our system and protest plays an essential part in finding remedies, but there is no place for the injuring of others as we protest or for the damaging of what is theirs.’ These messages should be going out to the public every day.

As the protests continue throughout our land, it is this lack of political and moral guidance calling for restraint that is sorely absent. Our leaders must answer us.

Oscar Valdes is the author of Psychiatrist for A Nation and other books. Available on Amazon.

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