Most of you know the story. Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17 year old resident of Illinois (and , armed himself with an AR-15 variant and drove over to neighboring Kenosha, WI, during a period of protests and unrest following the shooting of Jacob Blake by police. Rittenhouse sought to help defend a car dealership, at the generalized behest of its owner.

Rittenhouse got caught up in the protests, was pursued and aggressed by a group, and ultimately shot three, two of them fatally. He is on trial right now for multiple homicides, as well as unlawful possession of a gun.

The prosecution, rather clearly politically motivated in the opinion of many, is not going well at all, and that’s an understatement. Rittenhouse looks likely to be acquitted of all the homicide charges, with only the gun charge seeming legitimate.

What’s of interest in this is the broader Defund The Police (DTP) narrative, a narrative that appears a factor in Rittenhouse’s decision to help defend another’s property. In retrospect, it is painfully obvious that this sort of citizen action is an inevitable outcome of a successful DTP endeavor.

DTP advocates believe that replacing traditional law enforcement with “community-led safety” would resolve urban crime and produce a panacea-like outcome.

What does a world where we defund the police look like? A suburb.” – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Armed citizens standing against violence when police either cannot, will not, or have been withdrawn has apparently not occurred to the DTP progressives. The memory of ‘Rooftop Koreans‘ during the 1992 LA riots has, I presume, been tamped down or retconned into some historical dustbin.

We don’t need concrete examples of ‘citizen justice,’ however, to recognize the futility and destructiveness of “community” social engineering, though.

All we need to do is look at the housing projects of the 1960s.

Built on progressive visions, these clusters of massive monoliths were thought to be a remedy to urban poverty and crime. Common green spaces were incorporated to encourage interactions and the building of community, with the presumption that a strong sense of such would remedy and displace criminality.

Instead, those projects turned into virtual prisons, as gangs quickly took over the common spaces for their trade, and residents hunkering and bunkering in their apartments. The progressives’ dreams shattered against reality. Reality, however, doesn’t count for much when people decide that they are “better and brighter” than the Best-and-Brighest of previous generations. And, so, like a bad penny, such narratives as “it’s the cops’ fault that there is crime and discord,” and “minority communities can better police themselves if only given the opportunity and infrastructure,” keep appearing.

The DTP movement has already crested, and is now waning. Communities that actually cut police funding are working to restore it, and New York City elected a former cop, who ran on a law-and-order platform, as its new Mayor.

And a 17 year old (who made a stupid decision) may survive a politically motivated prosecution – assuming jurors are less ready to unjustly defenestrate him than the likes of China-apologist LeBron James are. Though Rittenhouse’s life will never be the same.

Try to suggest that DTP is counterproductive to the end-goal of community harmony, though, and the loudest voices you’ll hear are such as that of BLM agitator Hawk Newsome, who has threatened NYC with riots should the city’s next mayor refuse to follow in the disastrous footsteps of outgoing mayor (and good riddance!) Warren Wilhelm Jr… excuse me… Bill DeBlasio.

I’ve detailed – repeatedly – changes to policing that would have a legitimately and noticeably positive effect on relations between cops and minority communities, in this blog. I lamented that it took a mere five weeks for the BLM movement to become corrupted by self-serving agitators with decidedly different, divisive, and [destructive motives][]18]. I fear that we will see riots and destruction should Rittenhouse be acquitted of homicide charges (as I believe he should), and that such riots and destruction will harden more people against the good reforms I and others who are interested in positive change have urged.

I also expect, unfortunately, that the DTP activists will neither cede an inch nor learn an obvious lesson. Nature abhors a vacuum, and something will inevitably fill the void that would be left by a withdrawal of traditional policing. DTP progressives envision social workers and community leaders talking criminals out of their criminality. The rest of us, looking at the plentiful history, know that it’ll likely be criminals running amok, with a few pockets of armed citizens (including those with a proclivity to vigilantism) clashing with them.

We see, all over the place where police have been told to stand down, unchecked crime. Where are the social workers talking San Francisco’s brazen shoplifters out of their thieving ways? Where are the community leaders talking thugs out of their guns?

Policing serves a vital purpose in any society. Ours can certainly be improved – all it would take is some political will – but that improvement will not be born of its removal from our lives.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.

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