Sub Contracting Justice

There’s not a lot of quotes out there about subcontractors. I perused through my mental rolodex of Beatles, U2, Pink Floyd, and Paul Simon lyrics and just couldn’t find anything on contractors or subcontractors. It’s like the comics always said, “it’s difficult to find anything that rhymes with Nicaragua.”

It seems that’s going to be the defense in the Jacob Rittenhouse case. Apparently, the whole idea behind calling the victims arsonists, looters, and rioters (oh my!) is that they needed to be controlled and the adolescent Rittenhouse was just the guy to do it.

Anyone that followed the case knows that the police supposedly went by all of the vigilantes with guns and thanked them for “their help.” So, we are apparently going to ignore several truths in the interest of this defense. First of all, Rittenhouse himself was not legally allowed to carry a semiautomatic weapon anywhere at his age.

Secondly, he was not allowed to cross state lines with a semiautomatic weapon. Moreover, whose property was he protecting exactly? He isn’t even from Wisconsin. Did he know anyone there? It would be difficult for me to take a jaunt to Kentucky with my AR-15 in tow and claim that I was protecting private property there. Whose property would I be protecting? I don’t know anyone in Kentucky.

However, let’s ignore all of that. We’ve discussed this before in other circles. Why are we outsourcing security to private citizens? The whole idea behind a subcontract is that those charged with the job don’t have the time or resources to do the job satisfactorily. So, they hire someone else to do the job. Yet, they are still responsible for the quality of the work.

The problem here is that none of those vigilantes were paid for their work. They were not briefed on what to do exactly. Even if they were, they have never been trained in crowd control. The defense is trying to pass the buck here and put this one on the police for shirking their responsibility. Except, there’s no evidence that they ever intended anyone to act on their behalf. Besides, he purposely crossed state lines with a semiautomatic weapon. He purposely went into a potentially dangerous situation. He purposely escalated the situation.

Conservatives want to turn Rittenhouse into a good guy with a gun. However, his actions prove the whole fallacy over the good guy with a gun. No matter how many times the defense calls the victims arsonists and looters those people will never actually become arsonists and looters. Were they rioters? Well, that belongs in the eye of the beholder and in this case the beholder was a then underage kid with a gun. Do we want untrained teenagers making those decisions?

This is a classic case of gun culture gone wrong, but it’s also a case of an entire culture gone wrong. Society is built on specialization. We learned thousands of years ago that in order to thrive as a society we needed to specialize. We each needed to focus our energies on one thing we could become experts in. Then, we could each lean on each other’s expertise. Suddenly, people don’t want to do that anymore.

Rittenhouse didn’t want to lean on the police. We’ve been discussing the dwindling respect for health care workers and scientists on these pages for months. We doubt the expertise of teachers. It seems like the only people that really are counted on for anything are businesspeople and they are probably the last people we would want to count on for anything other than business.

I suppose the defense has a case when most of society doesn’t want to trust experts anymore. Sure, it makes perfect sense for a private citizen to take his or her gun into a crowd to prove they are Wyatt Earp. This was just the natural result of that. If we say they were looters and arsonists often enough we may even believe it. Makes perfect sense to me.

Author: sbarzilla

I have written three books about baseball including The Hall of Fame Index. I also write for You can follow me on twitter @sbarzilla.

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