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A different perspective

by Amber Ankrom 10 days ago in opinion

The Rittenhouse verdict from nonpolitical lens of an assault survivor that didn't get an option of self defense

It he seems that these days everything has become political. Everyone is so quick to make everything somehow political. Politics is suddenly controlling every aspect of our lives, from work to healthcare to the car we drive. It all seems like a bit much. I remember when a lot of people didn't seem to care too much about politics, but these days it seems like it's everywhere and in everything, and every person has an opinion.

Now don't get me wrong, it's not necessarily a bad thing. I ultimately think it is good to be informed and knowledgeable about politics and what happens in your community, country, and even the world. But there is such thing as too much of a good thing. Also, there are many people with a lot of opinions that may not necessarily have quite as much knowledge of things as they think they may have. But that is neither here nor there. My overall point is that sometimes it is best to take a step back and look at the situation from a different angle without a political view. This is what I intend to do here.

Yes, I know that will not be easy for most of you. Some of you may not even be capable of doing so. More than likely, some of you won't even go on to read this, or you have already shut down your frame of mind, and without even reading this article, you have already made up your mind, and it won't be changed. If that is the case, reading this is entirely pointless, so you should go about your day and not bother. But, on the other hand, if you cannot consider this without an open mind and the view of a nonpolitical lens, then the entire point is mute, and it is simply a waste of time for us both. If that is the case, I wish you well. If you decide to keep reading, I thank you for your time and consideration of my viewpoint.

So, the topic here to discuss is indeed the events and resulting verdict of the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse. Please do remember that I am NOT discussing this from a political view or even an ideological one. I am leaving out any bias that would factor in any political stance viewpoints such as Republican, Democrat, etc., or any ideology group such as BLM, Antifa, Proud Boys, etc. Instead, I will throw in a few basic facts, not opinions, points of view, or anything like that, just facts about the events, and I will discuss how I perceive those facts from a different perspective. This isn't meant to change anyone's mind, influence anyone, create any movement, or anything of the like. The point here is to understand that everything is not about politics or ideology, as people may perceive it.

The first fact to discuss is the fact that Kyle Rittenhouse was in Kenosha. We know he was there. He was not randomly there for no reason whatsoever. There are arguments as to why he was there. There is exactly zero point in arguing why we think he was there because no one can read his mind. No one will ever honestly know his intentions. We could guess, we could speculate, but we do not know, and quite frankly, it does not matter at this point. It is a fact that his family DID own a business there, so that gave him a reason to be there.

Now, I am going to be honest. As a parent (and many other parents I know agree with this), I don't care if I have a business that needs protecting or why I am not sending my son into that type of environment, nor do I believe a 17-year-old had a place being there. Kenosha was a riot. I have heard arguments about riots being necessary to get attention to make real change. I am not hard to validate or argue that point. But the fact is, riots, in general, can be unsafe environments, and it is not somewhere I would send my child. My son is currently 19 years old, and I still would do everything I can not to allow him put himself in that environment. So, in my honest opinion, I do not think Kyle should have been in that environment. However, that is my opinion. This is America, and if he chose to be there and his family chose for him to be there, then so be it.

So, the fact remains, he was there. Let's move on from that. It doesn't do any good to argue semantics on why or how. He was there. So now what? The following fact is, he was armed. So, let's look at that for a moment. There are a lot of different viewpoints on firearms in this country. Whether you like it or not, it isn't the least bit relevant here. Firearms, including AR-15s, ARE legal in America. So people support all guns being legal, some support limited gun control, some people say all firearms should be illegal. That is not part of this discussion. The fact is that guns ARE legal. Ar-15s ARE legal. You may disagree, but it is what it is. He had the gun, and the gun WAS legal.

Now, this is where I will dive into it a little deeper, and THIS is where it gets personal to me. If anyone reading this has ever been a victim of violence, then this should resonate with you as well. See, about seven years ago, I was the victim of a brutal domestic abuse attack. I was struck with the seat of a broken wooden chair. It all happened quickly, from what I can recall. I recall fear, pain, blood, trying to escape, more pain, more blood, and shock. From the shock, I honestly did not know what the physical state of my face was after the attack. I didn't have much actual feeling. There was just a lot of blood. It turned out I had a broken nose, a fracture in the bone underneath my eye. I required several stitches. Luckily no surgery, no permanent damage, other than minor scarring and some nasty bruises that took a long time to go away. The PTSD and anxiety now took much longer and have had a significant effect on my life since.

During the quick course of events, I remember running from the den into the bedroom and trying to close the bedroom door. Unfortunately, I was not fast enough to do so and protect myself. I did not have my phone handy, although I did have someone upstairs that heard the commotion and did call the police that arrived shortly after the attack (my attacker had already left by that point). I did not have any item or method handy to defend myself. If I had, things would have turned out differently. I also sometimes feel lucky that things did not turn out worse than they did. Being hit in the face and head repeatedly with a hard object is traumatic and scary and can have dire consequences.

It took me a long time to get past the events of that evening, physically and psychologically. But I tell you for sure, if I wish one thing had been different (other than it not happening at all, of course), I wish I had been able to defend myself. By defending myself, I mean by whatever means necessary. Look, one of the things that occurred within me because of that night was PTSD. It caused an extreme trigger response within me. My therapist has advised me to avoid any situation that might lead me to feel like I am in danger because that could provoke an extreme reaction to the threat, and rightly so. I have learned that this is a correct assumption.

One evening, I was in a small gathering at a friend's house, probably about two years after my attack, when a male acquaintance threw a video game controller on the couch near where I was sitting. It seems like an innocent random thing, right? Well, for someone who was a trigger, and out of nowhere, an object comes flying without warning and is about 2 inches away from one's head, it's not that simple. Before I even processed what was happening, I had sprung up and was in his face like I was ready to fight. It wasn't a conscious process. It's not like I had a plan or thought about it. I was just ready to defend and protect myself.

Kyle was in a dangerous situation. Regardless of why he was there, he was probably on high alert. He probably knew he would have to defend himself. Then people came rushing toward him to attack him. Say what you want, but yes, those are facts. He did try to remove himself from the situation initially. However, the attackers continued to pursue him; one of them attempted to strike him with a skateboard.

Let me tell you a lesson I learned after my domestic abuse event. When you're used to striking a person, a court of law will consider almost any object to be a deadly weapon because, if used correctly, it can indeed turn into a deadly weapon. This, in turn, makes the charge an assault with a deadly weapon and automatically turns it into a felony charge. So if I am standing in a dangerous environment and people are aggressively coming towards me, after I have tried to get away from them and they are also trying to hit me with an object (which will be considered a deadly weapon), what should I do? I can tell you what I will do. It is also what I believe anyone in that situation should do. FIGHT BACK. DEFEND YOURSELF. PERIOD.

Kyle did not know what these people were capable of. Neither do any of us. We do not know their intentions. We cannot assume their intentions. But, it is safe to say their intentions were harmful. Kyle was faced with a situation of someone getting hurt, and it came down to him or them. I have been in that situation, and I had no way to defend myself. I have the physical and emotional scars to prove it. They will never go away, and I am lucky. He could have easily taken my life. They could have easily taken Kyle's life, whether purposefully or accidentally.

If it comes down to a situation where I am being attacked, I will defend myself by whatever means necessary. If that means I must use a firearm, so be it. If you attack someone that is clearly in possession of a firearm, you know the risk you are assuming at that point. I cannot comprehend what sort of martyrdom mentality you might think would be a wise decision. I don't care how mad I am; when I see someone with a gun, I am not aggressively approaching them, especially when not armed. Person versus gun is not a battle I want to take on. That bullet may be small, but it is mighty. The fact is we do live in a country with the right to defend ourselves. You may not, but that right exists. Period. Whether Kyle SHOULD HAVE been there or not is not what was up for debate. Did he have to defend himself, and would you have done the same? As someone that has been the victim of serious violence before, I certainly would have, and I hope you would defend yourself as well.


Amber Ankrom

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Amber Ankrom
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