I tried to keep up with the Kyle Rittenhouse trial as much as I could with work and other life pressures getting in the way. Suffice it to say, that trial was a hot mess in more ways than one. I spend a fair amount of time involved in civil litigation issues with peripheral contact with the criminal litigation world. My general opinion on lawyers (and most professions) is that there is a Bell Curve of talent and performance with a few really sleazy, unethical lawyers or really top notch lawyers on the opposite extremes with a varying degrees of mediocre in the middle leaning towards one end of the spectrum or the other. The way I usually say it is that there are rock stars and rocks in every profession. Unfortunately, the rocks far outweigh the rock stars. From what I saw, the prosecution team tried to take the boulder on the sleazy, unethical side of the curve, roll it down the beach into the ocean, drop it into the Marianas Trench and bury it as deep as possible into the mud.
If they are not disciplined by the state bar association, I will be very disappointed.
I will not present an opinion on the outcome of the trial other than to say that I think the verdict was correct legally. You can also bet that this is not the end of the circus. Act two has yet to begin.
I will, however, share some thoughts on self defense and shooting guns in general (not necessarily related to the Rittenhouse trial) that percolated in my brain over the last couple of weeks.
1) You may have heard someone say that "Only Hits Count" (in competition, in a gunfight, etc.). That's not really true. The truth is that "Only INTENDED hits count". Refer to the Fourth Rule of Basic Firearms Safety: Be sure of your target AND what's behind it. A shot that hits an innocent bystander or destroys the Ming vase holding grandma's ashes is a huge negative. You are responsible for every bullet that comes out of your weapon, and "Oops, I didn't know..." or "It was an accident" will not hold up well in court.
Also remember that most modern construction housing walls do not stop bullets and, at most, slow them down slightly. If you live in an apartment (which is one huge box of matchsticks and drywall) like I do currently, consider using frangible ammunition and understand that you will have very limited clear lanes of fire. For the love of all that is holy, do not use a shotgun with slugs in an apartment.
2) Another gem you hear from time to time is: "You can’t miss fast enough". There is a corollary to this one: "A fast miss can turn into an unintended hit". See number one above. Shooting GOOD is more important than shooting FAST. Unlike in the movies, you don't get unlimited ammunition. Even at the gun range just plinking on a weekend afternoon, there are no magic revolvers that have as many rounds a belt fed machine gun without reloading. I don't know about you, but I can't carry a pallet load of spare ammo and magazines with me everywhere I go.
So, make every shot count. At the range, take your time, ensure you have a good and firm grip (none of this tea cup stuff and no limp wristing [even with revolvers]), get a good sight picture (whether irons or optics), and then smoothly press the trigger when your sights are aligned with the target. Take a moment to assess whether your shot went where it was supposed to; and, if not, ask yourself why not? If you are taking your time, you will start to notice things like jerking the trigger, flinching, a weak grip, poor sight alignment. If you find yourself in a gunfight or self defense situation, that is not the time to "spray and pray" bullets everywhere.
I'm not saying mag dumps aren't fun once in a while; but, unless you are super human (or Jerry Miculek), it is nearly impossible to see the sights and target under recoil and stress while trying to shoot 0.05 to 0.10 split times between shots. Save the mag dumps for the range with a safe back stop. Besides, at current ammo prices, you might as well light a $100 bill on fire.
3) There are no warmups in a gunfight. The way you shoot cold at the range without warm up is the best you can expect in a defensive shooting situation.
4) Avoidance and situational awareness more important than shooting. There is an old saying that you win 100% of the fights you don't get into. Another saying is: "Don't do stupid things with stupid people in stupid places."
5) Violence should be your last resort.
6) There is no such thing as a fair fight.
7) If you have to fight, fight to win. Fight like you are the third monkey waiting to board the arc, and it's starting to rain.
8) Fatigue is a thing. Adrenaline is an even bigger thing. Embrace the suck. When you are tired or your heart is pounding like a heavy metal drummer on speed, your ability to shoot accurately is going to suffer.
9) You will shoot some guns better than others, and it’s okay to have a favorite. But a well rounded shooter should be able to pick up ANY gun and get combat effective hits. I love me a 1911. It is, hand's down, my favorite type of firearm. Interestingly, I shoot Glocks as good or better than I do 1911s. Which really throws me for a loop because I love the aesthetics of wood and steel in a 1911 while the polymer of the Glock is very much function over form.