Personally, I refuse to believe the latter.
Anything that moves it towards becoming the latter, however well intentioned, is not a good idea.
While better than any other country I can think of, America's self defense law is still unfortunately predicated around a moneyed landowning white dude with no criminal record defending themselves against an attack from a stranger.
If we want the law to effectively provide justice, we need to be able to swap out every single distinguishing trait off that list and still have it apply.
Make no mistake, that's a hard fucking road to travel even if we're all on the same page as a country, which we're not.
The easy way, on the other hand, is to try and restrict everyone, which will only fuck the disadvantaged harder.
There's two big forces that make the road we want to take harder.
One is the state. Like any state, it wishes it had a monopoly on violence and jealously guards what exceptions it will allow. There are prosecutors around the country who think legal self-defense doesn't exist.
This is exacerbated by the fact that self-defense is claimed a lot when it doesn't exist. When SODDI (Some Other Dude Did It) isn't a viable defense for murder, self-defense is the next best thing. This contributes to selection bias when legitimate self-defense cases crop up.
The second is our own biases in search of the perfect defender. We can articulate what is justified legally in various ways. But those don't match up with what we consider just because the law and justice are two different things, and the law is always playing catch up.
In this case, it's compounded by our current societal divisions and media outlets exacerbating that.
This has been happening since Zimmerman at least. Take the Alexander case. Alexander keeps being held up as an example of a black woman defending herself against an abuser and doing 20 years anyway.
What doesn't get mentioned is that she'd already escaped and came back for a fight (which negates self defense) fired a warning shot (tactically a bad idea) and got hit with a 3 strikes law (which is irrelevant).
But the drum that keeps getting beaten is that a black woman defended herself from her abuser and got 20 years anyway. In the same state where Zimmerman was acquitted.
To a lot of people on the left, Rittenhouse became of symbol of the right's resistance to what they saw as justified protests which had become lethal live in a stream. To the movers and shakers on the left, he was a nightmare: a good man with a gun and every reason to fight back against the riots.
In their eyes, such a thing could not stand.
A lot of disinformation was thrown around the trial. I found it interesting that NBC, the same network that was caught doctoring the Zimmerman 911 call, was caught sending a freelancer to follow jurors home.
Make no mistake, the right had it's share of unfounded rumors and accusations. Binger may have shitty weapons handling, but he wasn't aiming at the jury. Two of the jurors might have confessed to a marshal about worry of retribution, but it's never been confirmed that I've seen.
Nonetheless, a huge disinformation campaign and a laundry list of prosecutorial misconduct was used here.
Had it prevailed, it would have been worse for everyone in the future. The next POC DV victim who killed her abuser would have suffered as a result of Rittenhouse being railroaded.
If the system is willing to be this blatantly unconstitutional to a white dude with the whole world watching, what the fuck do you think it's capable of doing to a POC when the cameras are off?
I said a while back I understood why a lot of people wanted to see Rittenhouse nailed to a wall. But if we want to stay civilized, let alone just, we need to make sure that judgement and possible punishments happen for the right reasons. Instead of the perverse notion that if we commit enough injustices against oppressors that the scales somehow balance.