Sigh. People's perceptions have gotten seriously detached from reality. A lot of passionate neo-progressives believe that Rittenhouse killed black people, that he was a known white supremacist, and that he was spraying bullets into the crowd. All of those are false. As for the third of those, Rittenhouse did not shoot or attempt to shoot anybody who was not actively physically attacking him or threatening him with a weapon. If he had wanted to kill innocent people, it would have been easy; instead he did his best to escape instead.

Watching video of earlier in the evening, the protesters/rioters/arsonists (they are not the same, but they were mixed up together) were confronting the armed folks standing in front of the auto sales building (including Rittenhouse), who came to protect property, by invitation. The protesters did not look at all intimidated or in fear, but were quite aggressive. I did not see the armed folks point rifles at the protesters, though. It didn't get serious until Rosenbaum chased Rittenhouse saying he was going to kill the kid, and tried to grab the rifle - at which point Rittenhouse shot him, but then tried to run away from the crowd/mob, rather than being terrorist. He later shot somebody who had hit him in the head with a skateboard and tried to get the rifle, and somebody who pointed a handgun at him. In both cases, Rittenhouse stopped firing after the threat stopped (one shot each in the latter cases). To call that terrorism is way out of touch with reality. But if you want to stay in the neo-progressive tribe, you have to atleast pretend to believe it was white supremacist terrorism. Facts have no weight.

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100% facts. It's amazing that so many people are having trouble putting this together.

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"A lot of passionate neo-progressives believe that Rittenhouse killed black people, that he was a known white supremacist, and that he was spraying bullets into the crowd."

That isn't psychosis. They're just uninformed and filling in the gaps with their biases.

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I agree. I don't believe that I called it psychosis; it's not my nature to sling around a word like that. But it is becoming seriously detached from reality, via ideology and rampant confirmation bias.

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"During a period of psychosis, a person's thoughts and perceptions are disturbed and the individual may have difficulty understanding what is real and what is not. Symptoms of psychosis include delusions (false beliefs) and hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that others do not see or hear)."


Sounds synonymous with "detachment from reality" to me

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Chris, please rethink that reasoning.

All that you have done is assert that one way to be out of touch with reality is through psychosis, which we can agree with. But nothing in your description implies that psychosis is thereby the ONLY way one can become detached from reality.

Another would be dementia due to aging and degenerative brain diseases. Yet another would be delerium, a short term process caused by medical issues and which will clear up once those issues are treated. And I believe that some ideologies, in particular those which emphasize the subjective over the objective and dogmatic attachement to Reinforcing the Narrative above adherence to the truth, can also result in detachment from reality.

By your reasoning, a doctor might say "I see you have a fever; the description of West Nile virus includes fever which sounds like your symptoms, so I conclude that you must thereby have West Nile virus". I would not return to a doctor who so reasoned.

West Nile => Fever is not synonymous with Fever => West Nile.

As an example of detachment from the real world, a large portion of self-identified liberals put their estimate of how many unarmed black people are killed by police at 10s to 1000s of times higher than the actual rates. That's seriously detached from reality, but it's not psychosis. On the other side, amazing numbers of people believe that Trump won the last election in a landslide victory, which I would claim to also be very disturbingly detached from reality - but still not thereby meeting the criteria for psychotic.

Your saying in effect that "well, since psychotic people can also be detached from reality, it follows that you are calling anybody detached from reality psychotic" is not defensible reasoning. I hope you will withdraw that logically problematic argument upon deeper consideration.

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Lately I've been seeing a growing number of people speaking inn terms of "my truth" and "speak your truth." Wrong word. They are talking about opinions, which may or may not contain truth and should not be confused for it. People hold their own opinions as the gold standard for truth with no consideration for the idea that they might be wrong. The internet provides a bubble full of people who agree with "their truth" (sic).

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The shift towards emphasizing the subjective may have many roots, but one is in post-modernism, where the idea that objective truth exists is rejected, and personal experience ("lived experience") is held to be sacrosanct. As that academic school of thought got politically weaponized by activists spreading out from the university, I believe this concept got translated to "my truth".

My universe is not completely rational, in that I have some space for the mystical or transcendant in my universe, but the above is just naked subjectivity and an open invitation for bias to run unchecked through people's interpretation of the world. I think it was watching "The Crucible" (movie from the book about the Salem Witch Trials) when I realized what once you detach from the material world of evidence, many people will project whatever suits their psyche as the truth, unhindered be evidence or logic. More reading convinces me that giving great weight to reason and evidence is essential to a functioning civilization today.

I'm concerned that the woke will tear down the load-bearing columns in the basement of our national psyche, destroying the science-oriented civil society which produced the wealth and peace which made their delusions harmless when confined to a small niche. They are unwittingly leading the destruction of the wealth they hope to redistribute. All reason and (relative) objectivity is framed as whiteness, to be supplanted and dethroned in favor of passions and demogogery.

In some real way, they know not what they are doing. And yet, most of them do sincerely mean well; they do no intend evil.

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I love your title "Passion guided by reason"! Being based over in the UK, I am not close enough to the pulse (and didn't follow the news) around the Rittenhouse events.

What strikes me, meanwhile, is that we have two important movements in the West: the one to which you refer ('personal experience') I would characterize as individualism and hyper personalization. I exist through my difference. The individual is sacrosanct and, if you embrace Transhumanism, wants/deserves to live on forever. The second movement ('where you detach from the material world of evidence') presumably comes out of the Deconstructionist school of thought where some feel emboldened to remove events (even words or lyrics) from their context to give them alternate meanings. History, historical figures and past literature is being revisited under this lens. As an upshot, alongside the fact that no one listens to the same radio station, watches the same programmes at the same time, reads the same news or goes to the same events, we no longer have shared narratives or facts. As such our sense of community is deeply broken.

Looking at the awesome feat that lay behind the construction of the Great Pyramid of Giza, whose wonder we still can't explain today, it seems that we may have lost touch with the higher civilization behind its creation. Our knowledge and understanding of the world (through science) has clearly had peaks and valleys over the centuries. It occurs to me that we may be riding toward a trough these days in the way that we talk about "my truth" (per @Dave Murray) and even "my science."

There must exist a more reasoned path that can avoid having to swing a pendulum so widely and wildly in the name of progress.

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Interesting thoughts, but I wanted to focus on one aspect:

"the one to which you refer ('personal experience') I would characterize as individualism and hyper personalization. "

It's interesting that the advocates of "lived experience" are also often explicitly disdainful of "individualism".

Another dimension of division in our society is over individual rights vs collective focus. As one example, folks on one side would consider a system as being more fair as it comes closer to equal opportunity for each individual. The other side measures fairness by equal outcomes for each population group. In the real world, these different concepts of fairness do not always harmonize. Given equal opportunities, some cultures will make different use of those opportunities, and will have different levels of success (outcomes). For example, Asian-American communities often make very good use of public schools, including advanced schools which require testing for entrance (almost all of which have disproportionate Asian-American students, sometimes remarkably so). Given different degrees of taking advantage of opportunities among different cultures, one can only achieve equal outcomes by fostering unequal opportunities, deliberately holding back some from reaching their potential while giving assistance to those from other cultures so that their population wide statistics would match on outcomes.

The full picture is more complex than that, but this captures the core of one difference between equal opportunity for individuals, and equal outcomes for statitistical groups.

I would say that affirming that anybody can become a member of a different gender by just so declaring, is a kind of hyper-individualism - saying the gender is a construct of social consensus, but nevertheless indicating that each person gets to redefine gender (and pronouns) in any way they idiosyncratically wish. In no way to they wish to submit to any social consensus (unless it happens to coincide with their personal truth, which trumps anything else).

There does not seem to be a consistent philosophical or semantic underpinning to much of modern activist politics. But they often decry individualism, while honoring "lived experience" - but usually only for members of a designated oppressed group.

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It's true that the 'narrative' around and against individuality is spun on both sides of the aisle (if such an aisle actually exists, outside of Westminster that is). It's fascinating to see how the word equality is used in different contexts. The focus on equality of outcomes is something that France's socialism, for example, extols. Getting equality of opportunities right, meanwhile, is a harder gambit. And indeed, the full picture is more complex and nuanced, especially when you start to open the field of discussion to other countries and cultures. I've long marvelled at how France and the US share two capital tenets in Liberty and Equality, but with the latter have implemented a different, if not opposite, interpretation. Neither is perfect.

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What a wonderful conversation going on here! Like everyone else, my life experiences shape my perceptions and viewpoints. It is important to keep in mind that that is not my truth, but my perception of it. This poem, written in 1887 comes to mind. Worth reading again, the importance is explicitly stated at the end.


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That's a great poem, Dave. We all come with our biases, form our story. That's one of the reasons I've been focused on the concept of empathy. And it's not necessarily about being nice or submitting to the other. It's about understanding the other person's context. So much work to be done on that front ... and it takes effort and, per the comments above about the individual, removing our own ego in order to listen deeply (without judgment) to the other side.

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"Lately I've been seeing a growing number of people speaking inn terms of "my truth" and "speak your truth.""

God, so true. I blame Oprah for this as she's the first person I ever heard say it😄. It struck me as strange the very first time and I couldn't have been much older than 10. The natural evolution is that males who *feel* as if they're women feel as if you're attacking them if you point out that they're not literally women.

Objective reality is being asked to completely bow to subjective experience.

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Nice to see you on Substack. I did a double-take when I saw this piece in my inbox, confused.

The back and forth here was jarring because I like this medium as a way to compose our thoughts and make good cases for our beliefs; but this woman was completely disinterested in getting at the truth, as you pointed out. What I don’t get is why someone clings to their position so tightly that they can’t answer simple challenges honestly. If we can’t converse we’re doomed.

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I'm confused too!😅 How did I end up in your inbox if you didn't sign up?! Regardless, glad you found your way over here Michael. Good to see you!

And yes, you sum up the problem neatly. I'm amazed at how far people will go to ignore facts that conflict with what they want to believe. You can't learn if you're determined not to change your mind.

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Amazing. Really. Not surprising that people are so fragmented when they can't even agree that buildings on fire are indeed on fire. Some sort of postmodernist attempt to "deconstruct" it. No heroes in the event - I don't have a "team". But the general climate of unchecked lawlessness - looting, petty theft, property destruction, etc. started to strongly increase that summer where I live and has continued. The only people it seems to help are the criminals themselves and politicians/activists showing how much they "care" about "helping people".

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"Not surprising that people are so fragmented when they can't even agree that buildings on fire are indeed on fire."

Truly astonishing that some people have reached this point. As you say, there are no heroes in this story. But what I found fascinating about this article is that simply presenting the facts of the case put me on "the wrong side" in some people's minds.

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Yeah, that is happening a lot. Tribal loyalty and betrayal trumps any concept of truth. And yet a lot of the folks doing this are well intentioned, decent folks.

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When I run into these extremist/fake news-sourcing nutjobs (ye shall know them by their suspicion of the MSM) I ask them if they ever run their sources through Media Bias Fact Check (mediabiasfactcheck.org) and ask them where they get their information from. You will almost never get an answer from them, because they've probably just done it and learned their sources score high for bias and low for factualism.

If they refuse to cite their sources then I tell them I will assume they're getting their 'news' from fake news and conspiracy theory-heavy news sources and to let me know when they want to have a *real* conversation.

You can't do anything with someone like Allene. She's as brainwashed as any Proud Boy or Boogaloo, just on the opposite side of the political divide.

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"ye shall know them by their suspicion of the MSM"

😁 So true. I automatically check out a little when somebody starts railing against "the MSM". Yes, genius, ALL news sources are biased. You're not beyond the looking glass because you've figured this out. Especially as you just get your "news" from randoms on Facebook instead.

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This is why I'm trying, it's difficult, to shed my partisanship. It is normally someone on the left, saying that the political right is this and that because of their getting fake news from Fox. Here we have someone on the political left with a highly biased news source ignoring the actual facts that may be found and latching on to the spin that supports their worldview. Truth is hard to discern once the conversation becomes politically partisan. We are all vulnerable to the same emotions.

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We suffer from the delusion that we're any different. Have you read Jonathan Haidt's The Righteous Mind yet? Got it for Christmas, just finished it an hour ago. Really, really dense with information and data on 'why good people are so divided by religion and politics'. Not densely written, just so full of valuable insights it's a wonder the book doesn't explode from the pressure ;) Haidt describes himself as liberal but I suspect his liberalism has moved closer to the centre, like mine has, and he's closer than either you or I are. He makes a case for ideas liberals have that are, in his opinion, really really right, some things conservatives get really really right, and also that libertarians get really really right. He says humans are 90% chimp, out for our own interests, and 10% bee, part of the hive, and that we have a 'hive mind' that can be switched on through transcendent experiences, which can be but aren't limited to drug or religious or meditation experiences. He talks about how we all think we're in control of our minds and *none* of us are; our conscious mind is a very small rider on the huge elephant of our subconscious which the one who's *really* calling all the shots. He talks about the moral foundations we've all built, but in different ways, from the same six parts of it. Liberals are motivated more by care for others and inclusion, conservatives by loyalty, authority and sanctity and how there are good evolutionary reasons for all (including religion, with the 'secret sauce' of its success being when you bind people together in something sacred it encourages/mandates them to be less selfish, which often carries out to the world at large. Really fascinating stuff, and a book I'm going to have to re-read. It will make you think differently about whatever ideology you think is the 'right' one, hopefully make you recognize the weaknesses in your creed, and wonder what the other side might get right. I'm beginning to find common ground now with right of centre conservatives, not the hard right, just as I have less patience now with the hard left.

I call it The Murky Middle, where you don't always like the company you keep. You will find yourself occasionally even finding value in 'problematic' pundits and celebrities who you mostly dislike but shit, s/he just said something I really agree with! Cognitive dissonance! (Learn to live with it :) )

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Jan 29, 2022·edited Jan 30, 2022Liked by Steve QJ

All of those political tests show me very slightly right and a bit more libertarian. Agree on some stuff, disagree on others. Probably what makes me to the right is my thoughts on firearms. I'd prefer everyone, including felons to have them than only government & criminals (I repeat myself) have them. I've been shot at, both in combat and as a civilian which makes me that way, but I understand that my preference is just mine and might not be right for all of society. Indeed, some who share my experiences came away with different views.

The first time I laid eyes on dead Viet Cong, I observed that they were all very young. Empathy kicked in; their mothers are waiting for them. So was mine. Empathy died. I'm sad to say that empathy turns off at times to this day when I wish it wouldn't. A scar that never healed. Not right for everybody or even me. An emotional self-defense mechanism. At an intellectual level I still have both empathy and sympathy.

That little personal bit is to say that even though I am aware of the "lived experience" that shapes my opinions, I don't hold them as truth for all. My demons are not that of others, nor theirs mine. That's where the trouble come, people with different traumas often don't understand each other.

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I've lived in Canada for the last 17 years and I've experienced a much less violent society than I did when I lived in the US (CT, for the last 18 I was there). Toronto is still one of the safest cities in North America although the gun violence rate has gone up considerably since i've been here - mostly because of gangs on 'those sides' of the city. I myself stand little chance of being murdered because I'm an older woman (maybe ten or so younger than you if you were in Vietnam) and the only way I'll get murdered is if I get randomly caught in a gang shooting (unlikely, but they've happened in 'good' parts of the city) or if I get murdered by a partner (even less of a chance than a random bullet since I don't tolerate controlling or abuse in anyone and most men can't get past the first coffee date with me. It's *much* more difficult to get a gun here as a civilian and we like it that way. We're okay with occasional raids on neighbourhoods to get rid of illegally owned weapons. The laws are a bit different out in the western Prairie provinces where there are legitimate reasons to own guns for protection and more problematic shootings like there are in the US: Sometimes someone gets problematically shot while committing or having just recently committed property theft and destruction crimes, racial profile of the crime victims - white - and the of the shooting victims - Indigenous. But at least where I live, in a highly urbanized city, I can walk around safely at night, even after I moved here as a hot young chick of 42 lol. Canada hasn't suffered the social, economic and legal breakdown that the US is currently undergoing so it's different here. I'm good with keeping guns hard to get here, and I wish they were harder to get in the US, because frankly, Americans have proven they can't handle liberally-available guns. I'm not sure what America's future is but I'm sad to say I find it bleak, and I'm sure glad I don't live there anymore. Never will again. Too FUBAR'ed at this point to consider it.

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I understand your point of view. I do cringe at the phrase "gun violence" though. To me, it's just a matter of violence, without regard to the tool. I went to a vocational high school, now a "magnet school" where I was a slight racial minority since it had a large population from the Pruitt-Igoe and Peabody Projects. Several students got stabbed or sliced every year I was there. That experience led me to a dim view of black people. As a Marine in Vietnam, we were brothers, at least thru the wire, ready to go in harm's way for people we might not even like. A black Marine in my platoon did just that for me and I know that he really didn't like white guys much. New view, all men are brothers. We experience new things and get new views.

Guns were a common thing when I was young, not yet demonized. A rifle rack was one of my elementary school woodworking projects. In the summers I stayed with my grandfather in the Ozarks where I was trusted to go into the woods with a rifle or shotgun to hunt. As a young adult I was a competitive shooter in Handgun Silhouette. The high school I went to had an indoor small bore rifle range and an armory for the rifle club and teams. I have a picture in an old yearbook of the Girls Rifle Team that had just won the intramural rifle championship for St. Louis that year. Yes, in the 60's high schools competed against each other in rifle marksmanship. Half of the girls in the picture are black. Times have changed.

I'll put on my tinfoil hat and opine that the anti-Second Amendment movement's man behind the curtain is politicians who want a citizenry that can't do what the founders did in the face of tyranny. Deep in its soul, the Rittenhouse debate is not about the actual self-defense case, it's about guns; for them or against them. Old guys like me, in America, see them as a tool.

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It's funny, because I think the ones who brook no discussion of intelligent gun ownership want to *enact* the tyranny, and the rise of gun bullying since the Obama years, when armed vigilantes would show up to intimidate town hall meetings, not to mention race- and gender-based mass shootings, don't disabuse me of that notion.

That said, I understand why Americans want them *today*. Y'all be crazy. Not kidding. All of you.

Guns weren't demonized back in the '60s because the NRA hadn't been taken over by loons yet. But crime *was* bad back then and things spiraled out of control. I don't think everyone needs guns and the research on this is quite quite clear - in countries with unfettered access to guns, the violence is *way* higher. The US is a bit of an outcast as far as the rest of the West is concerned. Just look at Australia - they got rid of a lot of guns after one or two bad mass shootings and their gun violence went way down. Same in Scotland after the Dunblane massacre.

Since I don't have to live in the Ignited States anymore I don't have the passionate feelings about guns as I once have - I'm just glad I live in a place that can seriously clear your head about it. Dave, you're living in a very real climate of fear, just as people were back in the '60s and I understand that, but just know...it doesn't have to be like that, and guns are part of the problem, not the solution. (Not unless the solution to the opioid problem is more opioids, and the growing abortion rate is more abortion clinics, and the spiralling alcohol problem--more alcohol--you get the picture.

I'm just saying...when you live in the middle of a violent shitstorm, you can lose sight of the fact that *there are alternatives*.

And they don't even involve a *total* ban on guns.

Just idiots with guns. No matter what their political philosophy.

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I totally agree about The Righteous Mind. Top recco. I chuckled at the information density comment - I was highlighting the book as I read, and it was comical that I almost felt it would be easier to highlight the non-notable sections! Only partly joking. But it was not difficult to read, just a lot of insights to ponder and integrate. My partner read it first, and we usually summarize the interesting reads for each other (like a search party splitting up to cover more ground), but as she was reading it, she was saying that I was going to have to read it myself too, and I was glad that I did.

And my political path is similar to yours; my spouse and I moved from lifelong progressive liberals towards that murky middle. Although perhaps even more, the left moved in directions we began to believe were unhealthy and counterproductive to the progressive liberal values and goals which have inspired us over the decades. I call this new ideology "neo-progressivism", because it does grow out of traditional progressivism but has mutated quite a bit making it fairly distinct.

I wonder if Haidt et al have found any shifts in the liberal/conservative moral foundations scores in more recent times. I have observed distinct increases in the purity and loyalty foundations among neo-progressives. A thing or person who has been denounced as unclean (off message) causes everybody else to shy away from them so as not to be tainted. And freedom to remain in the tribe is increasingly based on dogmatic conformance and loyalty to The Narrative.

I have found many thoughtful articles in Quillette. But I remember the first time I read something there which had a substantially more conservative framing than I can agree with; I was kind of irritated that this wonderful source of good perspective was hosting something like that. And then I had to chuckle to myself - choosing heterodox sources means that you WILL seriously disagree with some things there. I do not want Quillette to only present perspectives I agree with, I also want to stretch my mind with articles I don't yet agree with, and some which I will never agree with, so I can decide which are which.

And like you, I found that I can agree with some things said by philosophical conservatives. Once you break the tribal filters, there is room to actually think about each issue in itself, rather than needing to take a tribally defined position.

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Yeah, Quillette is problematic. I've read some great stories there but I also recognize it's considered a far-right source with a mixed history of fact-checking: https://mediabiasfactcheck.com/quillette/

Sometimes shitty sites have good articles. A writer I respected on Medium mentioned an article she was consulted for as a therapist; the subject of the article was on victimhood and its ideological narratives and how harmful they can be; this is a therapist whose work and articles I respect. So I checked out the article she was featured in; great article, but the source? The Epoch Times, a notoriously far-right site with a lousy history of fact-checking. It's hard for me to recommend that article even when it's good when it's on a shitty site even though a broken clock is right twice a day, y'know?

Haidt talks about increased polarization, especially on college campuses, since The Righteous Mind; read The Coddling of The American Mind yet? Killer book!!! It's about Gen Z snowflakes.

Just started this morning Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything About Race, Gender and Identity. Fascinating so far, and offering a good explanation of what 'post-modernism' is and how it has tainted public discourse and discussion and turned its back on objectivity and evidence-based thinking.

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Jan 28, 2022Liked by Steve QJ

I am not sure there is a lot of value engaging with this person, they were not able to build coherent threads of argumentation, nor did they stay on point long enough to get anywhere.

Perhaps there is value. If so, I wonder if there might be a way to gain a kind of common ground that would also allow them to save a little face, and see your point a bit. If you listen to the emotion behind the illogic, she is upset at the level of violence in our society, and she thinks it is bad that the armed dude is inserting himself in this situation.

She is tossing the word terrorist around... but really what she means by it is "bad actor" or "bad action". and in fuzz headedness she sees you defending this badness. You take pains once or twice to notice you are not supporting militia or even his actions, but still she see you as taking the "other side" thus in favor of these actions.

when faced with this kind of simple minded reasoning, perhaps the best is to try to find common ground as the basis for the discussion. its really bad he was there, its really bad the police did not maintain order. its really bad what happened. We agree on much. But this simply a bad situation, not does not fit the definition of a terrorist actor. maybe if you agreed to ten things before saying it, you could get a begrudging acceptance of that claim.

not sure. might not have made any difference. mostly it I think logical nuance is lost on this person. all the words are a mumble, the only thing that really is interpreted is X is good or X is bad, and to her rittenhouse == bad.

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"I wonder if there might be a way to gain a kind of common ground that would also allow them to save a little face"

Yeah, this is a really fair point. I'm not sure there *was* a lot of room to Allene to save face as she started off at such a ridiculous point (she also came in extremely hard in the private messages which is why we're a little confrontational straight away), but I could have gone a little gentler on her.

The fascinating thing about this article has been the way that simply stating the facts of the case put you on "the wrong side" in some people's eyes. Once they've established you as the bad guy, they're invested in disagreeing with you, even when you present them with incontrovertible facts.

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Jan 30, 2022Liked by Steve QJ

indeed. in the present world stating facts is stating allegiance. somehow we need to pull back from this abyss.

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One thing the left loves to do is expand the definitions of words to meaninglessness. That includes terrorism, but sometimes language needs to evolve to embrace greater, broader realities. Maybe the dicitionary def needs some, erm, redefinition. Maybe we need an adjunct word for it, or differentiate between political/religious terrorism and, say, the need to cause terror for a variety of reasons, while keeping it within the realm of not allowing every liberal bugaboo to be included ("Everything is white supremacy and racism, and both are violence." - not a real quote, just my summation of how white supremacy and racism are meaningless now.) I consider mass shootings to be a form of terrorism but I acknowledge it doesn't fit the Merriam-Webster definition. Protests are peaceful, rioting, destruction, and injury/killing of others is not, the latter of which is a form of terrorism. Maybe we need different words entirely, while acknowledging that at the core of terrorism is a desire to control others through fear.

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I agree with Steve, the Rittenhouse case is so far away from terrorism primarily because of his intentions, that the word just does not fit. Now to your comment:

I agree the left does have a tendency to expand a words usage beyond recognition.

I also agree that words shift, and need to shift over time.

In the case of the word terrorism. I have never liked that word much, since it is wielded as if it were objective. but is usually is not. It depends on which side you are on to decide is a person is a terrorist or a freedom fighter.

for example many do not describe Israel's demolition of homes that are involved in rocket launches as terrorist acts. Still no one deny's the owner of the home often did not launch the rocket, but are civilians. Israel is trying to break the political will supporting these actions, by attacking the population at large (as well as the actors when they can).

Others WOULD call this a terrorist act, and would say the Palestinans are simply acting in self defense. Thus I think the word is not an honest one. It tries to put an air of objectivity on what is truly just an opinion about who the "good guys" are.

Maybe a word like aggressor is an honest substitute for Terrorist. (of course most speakers are not striving for honesty.)

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I have tried to consistently use 'terrorism' to refer to the use of terror tactics against civilians as a means of seeking political power. Attacks on soldiers are not terrorism (they may be conventional or guerilla warfare), but attacks on teachers are. Random violence by criminals is not terrorism. Suicide bombing of civilians is.

Where it gets admittedly more complex is when one tries to define "state terrorism". It clearly exists - whether the Junta in Argentina diappearing opponents, or the Nazi's shooting Norwegian townspeople near where partisans had ambushed their soldiers. But the boundaries are fuzzier.

And Israel is a case in point. They seem to me to waver back and forth over the line between state terrorism and military offensives against assymetric warfare. If their goal was really to wipe out civilians, they could increase their casualty count by 100 fold very easily; it's clear to me that they do want to minimize civilian casualties, while their opponents want to maximize it on both sides (ie; killing Israeli civilians as well as launching missiles from civilian buildings to provoke a counter attack which would stir up more resentment). But Israel may be more willing to accept civilians casualties as a side effect than I am willing to accept. Morally, it's a quagmire.

I still apply terrorism only to those who try to gain power through terrorizing civilians. There are other words for other bad things which are not terrorism. I resist redefining it in order to inaccurately borrow the negative connotation.

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passion your texts all makes much sense. here is the strongest counter argument against the focus on civilians. There are powerful groups... and less powerful groups. those with less power have no choice but to attack civilians if they hope to attack the opposition... this is not support for their terrorism. but powerful groups use that word to vilify the opposition while justifying their own actions. also not cool. I just don't like that word. The key is violence. beyond that it becomes quite political if it is more-bad or less-bad violence. just my thought....

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Good points, and the editorial 'we' will probably never agree on what constitutes terrorism because it depends on your POV. Everyone likes the word 'terrorism' because it's so loaded with emotionalism. However, it's not fair anymore, I think, and I guess you agree, to stick to the strict dictionary definition. 'Racism' is another one that has broadened to include and recognize new forms of colour discrimination we didn't acknowledge or even realize before, but it's not the same as a lynching. So calling someone who said 'coloured people' a racist is way different from calling a lynching racist. When I was growing up we used to talk about 'prejudice'; it was attitudes and beliefs, and we applied 'racist' to actions. We have lost that nuance in public discourse; Matt Damon left Twitter after being 'canceled' by Alyssa Milano and Minnie Driver who took umbrage at his delineation between a butt grab and a rape.

At this point in history, I'm ready to start calling right-wing aggression like the Capitol attack 'terrorism'. It's ideologically driven by frequently armed mostly males, with striking similarities to ISIS, Al Qaeda and other Islamic terrorist groups that came to our foreminds after 9/11. I called certain Christian fundamentalist groups 'terrorists' much earlier when they began behaving rather a lot like the traditional 'terrorist' groups of the '60s and '70s: They blew up buildings and assassinated abortion doctors. No different than the IRA blowing up a government building or assassinating two Ghandis and Menachem Begin.

But I'm open to new ideas for how to articulate various types of bad actors and aggressors. Terrorism has 'evolved' since the 1970s as has political protest; maybe we need new language, but with boundaries. Because you know the left will destroy its real meaning in fifteen minutes.

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Bombing abortion clinics and assassinating doctors definitely fits the definition of terrorism (but the incidents are small in number).

The capitol event had several components, just as in the aftermath of the George Floyd murder there were several components to the reaction - some were peacefully protesting, some were rioting and vandalizing, some were looting, etc. The mass protests were often mostly peaceful, but after dark it was often mostly rioting and looting (often by different people). I do not smear the whole crowd by the actions of a few. And I feel similarly about the Capitol riot - the 700 or so who entered the Congress deserve to be appropriately prosecuted (some for more serious charges), but there were thousands there who did not. I think I could go along with a description that there were some terrorist type folks within the crowd, but I would not characterize the whole event as terrorism, any more than called all the protesters on the left "rioters".

As for the left destroying meaning...

I have been consciously avoiding the standalone usage of 'racist' and 'racism' in public dialogue for a year or more now. DiAngelo (following CRT) redefines racism as something all whites do and which nobody else can do. Kendi defines anything which is not anti-racist (by his definition) as being racist. The dictionary often defines it as holding views that one race is superior to others. In common usage it's often used for animosity or disdain based on race. People talk past each other.

However, even DiAngelo agrees that people of all races can and do have racial prejudice, hatred or discrimination. Those compound terms are still understood in close to the same way by all sides.

So when I'm writing or talking and I'm about to call something racism, I ask myself whether I intend to refer to racial bias, racial discrimination, racial stereotyping, racial hatred, or racial prejudice (etc) - and then write or speak one or more of those more specific forms. This pause to reflect on a more nuanced word (and a less adulterated/hijacked one) is actually good for my own thinking as well. I recommend this practice, since the unqualified terms have been so corrupted that they often hinder communication rather than aiding it.

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I like that. Force the left back into saying the words they mean rather than, like Alice, making them mean whatever they want them to mean.

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"the left"

I stopped reading there

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Maybe you should have read a little further to see if my comment was worth completing or not. You didn't give yourself enough information to make that determination.

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Anyone who talks first about how "the left" abuses language is simply below the temporal salt. I am more than halfway through my life and I just have no more time for that crap.

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Jan 28, 2022Liked by Steve QJ

"Changing people's minds requires exponentially more effort than just telling them the truth in the first place. Which is why it’s so important that we’re discerning (and open-minded) about what web accept as reality."

Amen, Brother!

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This is my second issue of the commentary. Quite impressed.

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Jan 30, 2022Liked by Steve QJ

"OMG!" This is the only thing I can utter after reading this back-and-forth :-(

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Side-thought: American society is being torn apart by two forces:

1) a hypertrophied passion for individualism, driven by notions like survivalism ands sovereign citizens, etc.

2) a degree of tribalism probably not seen since the Neolithic

Individualism, a belief of the essential uniqueness of each person and his right to live that uniqueness without restraint (or consideration, cooperation, participation ...)

Tribalism, the sacrifice of all personality to the group and wholehearted embrace of the group, even unto preposterous beliefs e.g. Trump won the election,

Aren't these ... opposites?

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"Aren't these ... opposites?"

They are. But I'm not seeing so much of the passion for individualism. I think, as well as good old fashioned political partisanship, the trend towards increasingly toxic identity politics (and the inevitable backlash) has driven those who would usually avoid identitarianism to form their own identitarian group.

It's the age old problem of knowing what you're against but not really knowing what you're for.

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Good observation, Steve.

One fear I have is that the neo-progressives will stimulate a nasty counter reaction through it's heavy handed overreach.

I recall during George W's time in office, they were running roughshod over the process, and some wise observers said that their hubris and self-righteousness would blind them and cause them to make major mistakes which would bring them down. Now I see the left following that same path, and they are not being aware of what they are stirring up. Trump was surprise #1.

I do NOT want an authoritarian right to come to power, but neither do I want a totalitarian left to take over. Both tendencies reinforce each other, and I oppose both.

I've been a lifelong Democrat and have to date voted only for Democrats or Greens. I was relieved when Trump lost the presidency. But it's clear to me that the Democrats have the slimmest control of Congress, and did not win a mandate from the voters to undertake massive restructuring of the government and society. Biden won because he was not Trump; in the Democratic primaries he outpolled all of the more progressive candidate, because most Democrats wanted the healer and uniter he promises to be, a moderate who would get us back to more less polarized governance. Alas, he has not followed that role; neither those to the left of him nor those to the right of him want any reconciliation. And his administration is acting beyond his mandate, alienating a LOT of people. His poll numbers are remarkably bad (and Harris is doing worse).

I personally think that a second Trump term, or a Ted Cruz, would be terrible for the country. But the Democrats seem to be p*ssing enough independents off (and even Democrats) that they are setting up the stage for something like that.

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Chris, I would agree that there is a serious increase in tribalism (division into competing tribal affiliastions as people's "identity" or primary sense of self).

However, I do not see survivalism and sovereign citizens type behaviors as a substantial factor in today's world. Yeah, there are a few oddballs that make the news, but I don't see any broad demographic trend which shows up on polling, for example.

There is a very broad conflict between a focus on the individual as the core unit of society (eg: defining fairness as treating each individual the same and striving for equal opportunity so each individual can maximize their potential if they wish) versus perceiving many overlapping population groups based on identity as the best unit of measure (eg: defining fairness as diverse statistical population groups achieving equal outcomes). This is often framed as equal opportunity vs equal outcome, but it's also individual focus versus aggregate focus.

An example would be reparations for slavery. The collective identity focus is to divide people based on skin color, and say that all those with one population group owe a debt to all those of another population group, based on what others in those population groups did or expereienced historically - a debt which is the same for everybody in each population group, without taking into account whether any given person is succeeding or failing.

By contrast the individual focus looks at each person's situation, and uses broad policies like support for the people living in poverty without dividing them into population groups; to the degree that historical wrongs have manifested in economic differences today, some groups will benefit more (ie: more individuals within that group will qualify for support). In this case you could say that at the collective level, a disadvantaged group will receive more benefits - but it's self leveling. As more or fewer individuals of some group fall under the poverty line over time, more or fewer people in that group receive benefits. And this can handle intersections - it adapts to all combinations of intersecting identities, by adapting to the net sum effect of all.

I disagree about a focus on individuals implies any lack of cooperation or participation. *Voluntary* cooperation and association can be huge parts of life for individuals - on sports teams, in churches, in families, in affinity groups, in civic groups. The kind of collective groups which would be less emphasized in a society emphasizing individua rights are those which are based on stereotypes and prescribed social roles - involuntary. Like - one is to be judged on the basis of overlapping social stereotypes about the population groups they are members of. Oh, you are Asian, and male, and homosexual and able bodied - so that tells me who you are, no need to delve further, I have you pegged once I know you intersecting identities. That approach highlights differences and conflicts between identity groups while downplaying any questions about how much an individual is typical or atypical of the groups, any differences between them individually and the stereotypes of the group. So the conflict of visions here is more about voluntary association and cooperation (for those focusing more on individual rights and responsibilities), versus externally forced segregation and stereotyping (for those seeing individuals as cogs in a social machine dominated by inter-group conflicts). It's the difference between "if you have the passion and can develop the skills, go for whatever feels like success to you personally" and "stay in your lane, keep others out of your lane, identify primarily with groups you are involuntarily a member of, don't stick out too much".

I am imagining that Steve QJ may at times feel these pressures - that he is supposed to conform to prescribed stereotypes and that being atypical of some involuntary population group is frowned upon.

Summing up, let us not characterize the extremely broad factors regarding focus on individuals vs groups, based on cherry picked extremes. Hundreds of millions of people value individual freedom and rights, and the portion of them who decide to live off the grid and grow their own food and isolate from cooperation is infinestimal, extreme, and atypical of the whole.

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Jan 29, 2022Liked by Steve QJ

no concrete ideas, but agree with your comments.

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This global loss of faith in objective reality scares the shit out of me. It has been worsening for some time and both sides of the political divide take some blame for it; the right in its determination is legitimize its cruelty and irrationality, and the left in its determination to never make value judgments.

For me the iconic image of our dilemma comes from the 1925 Eisenstein film Potemkin, when the sailors' food is being brought aboard, the meat rotten with maggots; ship's doctor Smirnov folds his pince-nez, holds them up to the meat, we see a closeup that even in this grainy B&W makes you want to puke, and pronounces, "these are not maggots"

That's where we are as a society. Armed crazies smashing windows? Just a tour group. These are not maggots.

Sen. Manchin blocking climate legislation while invested in coal stocks? These are not maggots.

Vaccines, not COVID, killing people? These are not maggots.

But I take issue with your view of Rittenhouse. If someone runs out into the street and into the path of a car without room to brake, that doesn't justify shooting the driver, and it is not self-defense. Pugsley had no business being there, he went looking for trouble, and he was just as much—worse—a violence junkie as the looters and smashers.

Violence junkies. Contemplate the term. They are not terrorists, they do not have political objectives (except maybe to portray peaceful protesters as violent, which never fails). They show up to use the safety of numbers to commit mayhem, which they enjoy. And of course the press ('scuse me, the "Main Stream Media" ... pssst, Allene, "mainstream" is one word) obligingly follows along, obediently making no distinction between protesters and VJs.

Seattle, 2006, the WTO protests; there was some delayed recognition that the people breaking the windows weren't the people showing up to protest the WTO, but that was the last time anyone took the trouble to tease the two apart.

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Did you watch the trial of Rittenhouse? What I've found is that unfortunately, my traditional liberal leaning news sources are quite often very biased and give people some "impressions" which deserve questioning.

The world (and the prosecution) scrutinized Rittenhouse's life and did not find evidence that he held "far right" or "white supremacist" views. He was with a group of armed folks invited to protect some private property and who mostly stuck close to the buildings, but he went out into the main crowd a few times. On one foray he can be seen using a fire extinguisher on a burning dumpster being moved towards buildings (one of the common ways of starting building fires in 2020). This greatly upset Joseph Rosenbaum, who threatened to kill Rittenhouse. Later tho Rittenhouse went out into the crowd again (away from the safety o numbers), offering first aid to anybody on any side. He can he heard in video recordings saying "friendly, friendly, friendly" and asking if anybody needed first aid. NOT pointing his rifle at anybody, not trying to start trouble with anybody. One of the prosecution witnesses testified that the only person he had witnessed administering first aid to a protester was Rittenhouse.

From the video and drone footage, you can see Rosenbaum hiding behind a vehicle and then charging Rittenhouse who was offering first aid. Rittenhouse runs away, but gets cornered by Rosenbaum, who tries to grab Rittenhouse's rifle (consistent with video and forensics). Not until then, when under immediate direct attack from somebody threatening to kill him and who is trying to get the gun away from him, does Rittenhouse point the gun at a person, firing at Rosembaum at close range. Then Rittenhouse tries to flee - not shooting at anybody else, not starting a fight. He fired only at people who were physically attacking him, or who pointed a handgun at them, and then stopped firing & ran away when each attack ceased. Watch the several videos carefully. Point at any case where Rittenhouse fired at anything other than a direct and immediate threat. You won't find any.

That's not a case of jumping in front of a car before they can brake and shooting the driver; the analogy doesn't remotely fit. The evidence is unambiguous that Rittenhouse was being attacked and chased, attempting to run away.

I hope we have learned something from the Arberry case. If somebody is running away and you have not witnessed them committing a felony, let them escape. Do not attempt to make a citizen's arrest, do not appoint yourself a vigilante, do not attempt to disarm them. Sure, take picture, get a description, report it to the police, but don't try to jump them; you don't know the whole story and you don't have the right to detain them. Like Arberry, they cannot know your intention and may understandably assume you mean to harm them, not just detain them until the police arrive. Bad things can happen, in any direction. Let them go if they are running away.

Was Ritttenhouse unwise to try to help? Absolutely. Would I have recommended his going to the riots to "help" by protecting property and giving first aid to people? Hell no. But is there evidence that he just wanted to cause trouble, or wanted to shoot at people, or even that he was against non-arsonist protesters? None whatsoever. He claimed that he supported BLM, but not arson and rioting; making that distinction is not a white supremacist viewpoint.

My first impression was similar to yours, received from mainstream sources. But when I looked deeper, spent a couple of hours going over video analysis, and watched the evidence presented in court, my opinion changed. Being open to reconsidering an opinion when faced with good evidence is still something I value in myself and others.

There are violence junkies, but I see no objective evidence that Rittenhouse was one of them. No has anybody found any evidence of his seeking out trouble.

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"But is there evidence that he just wanted to cause trouble, or wanted to shoot at people, or even that he was against non-arsonist protesters?"

Oh Jesus H. Freaking Christ.

Is there any evidence that leaving gasoline-soaked rags near an open flame will cause a fire?

Circumstantial alone: he took the trouble to procure a gun, not just a gun but a weapon of massacre, and entered a zone of violent chaos. You can bat your eyes all you like but that is not innocence.

He was the only person seen administering first aid? Great, He was also the only person who shot and killed anyone.

But: before he went to Kenosha he told a lot of his friends that he wanted to shoot people there. Many witnesses to this. Thus endeth your argument.

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"before he went to Kenosha he told a lot of his friends that he wanted to shoot people there. Many witnesses to this."

Really??!! That's the first I'm hearing about this and I thought I'd seen everything there was to see on the case. Do you have a source?

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I easily found reference to the cell phone video in the NYT. See above.

Seems kind of strange that a guy living in Vietnam who followed the trial not very avidly read this several times while so many others who attentively followed it never read this at all.

Rittenhouse wanted to shoot people. That's why he brought a gun. An assault rifle, no less.

The moment he had a pretext to claim self-defense, someone was dead. Of course he didn't just walk around "I don't like your face" KAPOW because not even a cartoonishly incompetent prosecutor and a snake of a red state judge could have gotten him off that.

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So why did the other medic, Huber, bring his gun? Because he wanted to shoot people, or because he thought he might need it if attacked himself?

One of the most common cognitive flaws among humans is in regard to projecting motives to other people. The entire point of the trial was to assess the circumstances and motives of undisputed shootings - were they self defense or not? If the prosecution won, those shot would legally be victims unjustly harmed; if the defense won, then those shot would be aggressors from whom he was legitimately defending himself. The judge ruling that the prosecution could not call them "victims" until the jury had made that determination was standard procedure, not to bias the jury by presuming the outcome of a self defense trial. It would be routine in other self defense cases as well (including with defendants of other races). This was according to lawyers in the area. But some liberal sources failed to mention that context, and implied or stated that the judge was being outrageous and biased.

Likewise, you are projecting motives to Rittenhouse. While awaiting the video or testimony, what I have seen so far in terms of Rittenhouse's actual behavior fits a model of self defense *far* better than one of intending to find somebody to kill. Does your model of a killer proud boy include peacefully treating protesters to first aid and never threatening anybody in any way until being physically assaulted? If you are taking those as just laying cover in hopes of later getting a chance to shoot somebody, then we are getting into dicey territory.

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I didn't save any links but I heard this several times and I believe it came up in the case and was ruled inadmissible, as with referring to the people he shot as "victims." I could not find it again any easier than you but since my main source of news is the Washington Post and not YouTube it should not be hard to track down.

It was definitely not a quote of a quote of a quote of a quote. You do however have my word that I am not making it up nor propagating dubious sources.

Honestly, Steve, everything about this case disgusts me. Both the finding of innocence and the wild charges of white supremacy. In my mind "stupid kid" and "fucking second amendment" cover it. Clearly though this moron was amped up on the whole hero image, stalking around wit gun in hand and at the ready.

If someone wants to bracket a few seconds and say "look, he was defending himself!" I am not playing. He got an assault rifle and waded into chaos. Any mentally sound person would have stayed home.

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OK, let's be clear. There was rioting, arson, and mayhem; people were already being injured (tho not killed) before the first shooting. The records suggest a minimum of 3 other guns out in the crowd that night (ie: not including the armed folks defending the car lot), one handgun seen and heard on the videotape just before Rittenhouse shot Rosenbaum, one firing 3 shots just after, and the one that Huber pointed at Rosenbaum; but accounts say there were others.

I would agree that Rittenhouse was foolish. But by your standards, there was nobody on the street that night who was of sound mind, including the 3 folks who got shot.

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I didn't say that, didn't say anything remotely like that. I wasn't there.

But I do know that chaos attracts people who think mayhem is fun. There had been two days of mayhem that the cops did nothing about.

And only one person at the melee actually killed anyone.

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OK, please provide your sources.

If it's true that "he told a lot of his friends that he wanted to shoot people there. Many witnesses to this", then this will be some real evidence for your view, and will definitely modify my opinion.

I have been wrong before, and I admit it when good evidence arises. But I need more than your impression before I accept that, I need some harder evidence.

I did not say that Rittenhouse was the only person rendering first aid; only that he was the only person that a prosecution witness had seen rendering first aid - to a protester, before any shootings. The point is that he was wandering in the crowd offering medic services and yelling "friendly, friendly, friendly" before Rosenbaum attacked him - not looking for trouble. He tried to run away from Rosenbaum and only used the gun after being cornered. He then tried to flee again. After he tripped and was attacked and shot two more, he again ran away. He never shot at anybody who had not first attacked him or threatened his life (with a handgun). There are no allegations from the prosecution that Rittenhouse had injured anybody, threatened anybody, or pointed his gun at anybody before he was attacked by Rosenbaum.

Anyway, awaiting your documentation that Rittenhouse was hoping to kill people. That could be a game changer for me. I didn't see the prosecution bring that up, which strikes me as odd if you are correct, as it would have greatly helped their case. So I suspect you got that from a rumor or unreliable source, but it's possible that I'm wrong and I await evidence. Over to you.

Rittenhouse's shootings have been legally determined by a jury to have been legitimate self defense, after hearing all the evidence. So far, all the people I've seen smugly condemn him have been deeply ignorant of the evidence presented by both sides at the trial - they want to second guess the jury based on their far more limited knowledge from only biased sources.

The shootings are a tragedy, but not a crime. Rosenbaum was a piece of work who apparently attacked Rittenhouse without any justification, but the other two (one killed, on injured) were actually thinking they were doing the right thing, believing that like the McMichael's in Georgia, they had some kind of vigilante "citizen's arrest" right and duty to chase down and detain by force somebody running away, based on rumors passed among the crowd (neither had directly seen the earlier shooting of Rosenbaum).

Again, I think it was foolish of Rittenhouse to try to provide first aid in a riot situation, or to go there at all, much less carrying a gun. But his sense that he might need it turned out not to be mistaken; if he had been killed by the crowd, it would have made a far smaller impact nationally. There were around 19 people killed in the rioting after George Floyd's murder, and you know none of their names. His would have been similarly downplayed nationally, if it were him who was killed. The third person shot and wounded was also a medic carrying a gun "just in case" it was needed, but nobody is condemning him for being there and armed.

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"Prosecutors have repeatedly tried to introduce evidence of Mr. Rittenhouse’s associations with the far-right Proud Boys, as well as a cellphone video taken weeks before the shootings in Kenosha in which Mr. Rittenhouse suggested that he wished he had his rifle so he could shoot men leaving a pharmacy. The judge did not allow either as evidence for trial."


I suppose now you want to quibble over "suggested"

Surprise me: modify your opinion.

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Um, almost. All you have is allegations from the prosecution about what evidence they wanted to present. If you follow trials, you know that both sides puff up their assertions, and only sometimes succeed in providing evidence to support it which survives scrutiny.

This particular prosecutor did not earn my respect; one of the worst I've observed, more political than legal. I do not trust his word.

So I give a bit more weight to the assertion, but I still want to see the actual evidence, not the assertion by a partisan that such evidence exists. Was that cellphone video released by anybody? Have you seen it? Do you have a link? I promise that I will watch it and get back to you if so. But I do not trust the prosecution's characterization to be accurate and in full context. (Nor would I trust assertions from the defense about evidence not actually presented).

Such a cell phone video would go much further towards changing my mind. Failing that, you claimed there were "many witnesses", which usually means 3 or more. Where are their words, so we can judge fairly?

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@Steve I hope your next column is about Biden's pledge to nominate a black woman to replace retiring Justice Breyer. I think that would be far more fertile ground for discussion than this depressingly demonstrative circularity about Rittenhouse. I'm of very mixed mind about this but will refrain from commenting until and unless.

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"Prosecutors have repeatedly tried to introduce evidence of Mr. Rittenhouse’s associations with the far-right Proud Boys, as well as a cellphone video taken weeks before the shootings in Kenosha in which Mr. Rittenhouse suggested that he wished he had his rifle so he could shoot men leaving a pharmacy. The judge did not allow either as evidence for trial."


That took me under a minute to locate.

All of you supporting the "self-defense" charade are playing the same dishonest game, with a timeline that begins with someone approaching Pugsley or attacking him or trying to take away his fucking rifle, and the timeline ends when Pugs fires his gun. Clear case of self-defense!!! Yeah, as long as you narrow your attention to a timeline of a few seconds. And assiduously omit the fact that this kid procured a gun and went to a riot to act out his fantasies. And, yes, he did "suggest" that he wanted to shoot people, but the judge would not allow the cell phone video to be admitted as evidence.

I am disgusted,

In my mind someone who tries to disarm a kid with the eyes of a goldfish strutting around with an assault rifle raised in the air is a hero for trying to prevent a massacre. It's not as if teenagers with guns never spray bullets into crowds.

Millions of them do it all day in video games.

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Much discussion below on the meaning and abuse of the word "terrorist." Can we agree to go by the original formal definition? Rittenhouse wasn't one. The protesters weren't terrorists.

Terrorists typically kill innocents to create a climate of fear. When French resistance killed a Nazi soldier the reprisal might be shooting dozens of innocents. That was terrorism.

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I haven't read it. Sounds interesting, thanks.

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