Demonizing Kyle Rittenhouse
On November 19, Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted of all charges in the shootings of Joseph Rosenbaum, Anthony Huber, and Gaige Grosskreutz in Kenosha, WI. His defense established that the teenager was acting in self-defense; the prosecution was unable to prove otherwise. Even media outlets not aligned with the conservative view were constrained to observe that among the “undisputed facts” of the case are that Rosenbaum chased and later advanced on Rittenhouse when he stood his ground; that Huber hit him with a skateboard and lunged for his rifle; and that Grosskreutz pointed a handgun at him.
Yet, the young man continues to be vilified. Students for Socialism, an avowedly Marxist-Leninist student club at Arizona State University (ASU), is rallying to deny Rittenhouse “further admission” to the university. (He is no longer enrolled there, though he had taken an online course in nursing earlier.) In its petitions, the group describes him as a “racist killer” and says that “even with a not-guilty verdict from a flawed justice system -- Kyle Rittenhouse is still guilty in the eyes of the people.”
Similarly, an opinion piece describes him as a “young armed vigilante killing unarmed protesters.” It says he was “given a pass” for “roaming the streets of Kenosha with an AR-15.” House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler has threatened a Department of Justice investigation against Rittenhouse for interference in a protest protected by the First Amendment. It’s amazing how the Left quotes the very Constitution it has been abusing and tearing up when it suits its purpose.
It doesn’t matter to Nadler and others like him that many at the Antifa/BLM-organized Kenosha protest in August 2020 were armed with guns, chains, and bats. Nor does it matter to them that Rosenbaum, Huber, and Grosskreutz had criminal records. The protesters rampaged through downtown looting and torching properties, and attacking those who tried to stop them. Despite claims of ‘wokeness’, they did not spare black-owned businesses and homes. During the mayhem, local police and the mayor stood by as rioters set fire to the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, used baseball bats to smash street lights and cars, assaulted a business owner, and pointed a gun at a Fox News reporter. There were no police or National Guardsmen to be seen. The governor had clearly failed the state.
The Kenosha protest was against the police shooting of Jacob Blake, magnified into a narrative of police brutality by Big Media. The reportage ignored Blake’s long history of violent crimes. During Blake’s shooting, police were trying to make a legitimate arrest for violating a restraining order based on felonious sexual assault and domestic violence. To bolster the ‘brutality’ narrative, the reportage also omitted the fact that the knife-wielding Blake resisted arrest, putting an officer in a headlock.
The Left is trying to build a new, extrajudicial narrative around Rittenhouse’s acquittal -- that “white supremacist” Rittenhouse, and others who volunteered to protect businesses that day, fomented the danger and chaos that led to the gunning down of his attackers. This devious reasoning is meant to undermine in the public mind Rittenhouse’s self-defense plea, which held up to the court’s detailed scrutiny. The circular logic runs like this: Rittenhouse’s assailants attacked him, purportedly in self-defense, only because they themselves felt threatened by him -- therefore, his self-defense plea is invalid! One opinion piece alleges that the verdict amounts to a threat to the rule of law -- never mind the threat posed by the Antifa-BLM rioters.
To the ‘woke’ Left, Kyle is still a “murderous little white supremacist” who deserved to be convicted. The leftist propaganda machine has started claiming depression and anxiety attacks caused by the verdict. Virtue-signaling businesses like Levi Strauss and Best Buy are offering free counseling to employees distressed by Rittenhouse’s acquittal.
No counseling has been offered, by the way, to the victims of the Antifa-BLM’s “summer of love.” Nor to those affected by the Christmas parade mowdown in Waukesha, WI, in which Darrel Brooks, a black career criminal and sex offender, killed six people and left over 60 injured. Indeed, Brooks, described as fleeing a domestic disturbance, has been portrayed sympathetically, with a lightened skin tone and suggestions that he might have veered off track. But that’s another story.
Let’s turn again to the demonization of Rittenhouse as a gun-crazed, police-idolizing murderer. This is part and parcel of a convenient portrayal used to promote the Left’s efforts to castrate the Second Amendment -- the right of every American to bear arms. Absent in such depictions is any concession to the idea of safe, responsible gun ownership, and of communities where young people grow up around firearms, learning to hunt, engaging in target practice, and imbibing values of good citizenship and patriotism.
Rittenhouse personifies those values. The young man was working as a lifeguard and helped clean up graffiti at school. On entering his teens in Antioch, IL, he had attended Explorers, a Grayslake police department program for young people. Explorers was designed to keep youth out of trouble, teach them how police officers work, and instill civic sense and respect for law and order. So, it’s hardly surprising that he offered to protect businesses that felt threatened by the protesters in Kenosha.
In many parts of America, gun ownership, safety training, the family and community tradition of hunting, shooting clubs, 4-H club target practice, and police cadet training are part of growing up. According to Tim Lawhern, a retired law enforcement officer from Wisconsin and president of the International Hunting Education Association, in open-carry states like Wisconsin, with 7 million acres of public hunting ground, children grow up with and learn about firearm safety from as early as eight years. Beginning age 12, they may enroll in hunter education programs, carry unloaded weapons in their cases, and operate them under supervision of an instructor. They may hunt when accompanied by a parent, guardian, or someone over 18. If a teen is safety-course certified, he may hunt on his own after reaching 14. Lawhern believes that the notion that kids must be kept away from firearms is a mistaken one: exposure develops healthy respect for the safe use of firearms.
Rittenhouse was perfectly within his rights to own and carry the gun, and the AR-15 was legal for a 17-year-old given its barrel size. This was a young American answering the call of duty when he saw his community go up in flames. To vilify him as a crazed vigilante is to enfeeble and disparage the idea of patriotic community service.
Worse, it would strengthen the Left’s plans to tear to shreds the Second Amendment and rob Americans of a tradition as old as our republic. It would also allow the Left to rob Americans of the means to protect themselves from the Left’s anarchic myrmidons.
This Leftist agenda deserves to be opposed more strongly than it is. And Kyle Rittenhouse deserves much better than being demonized. America must give the young man the two things he needs most now -- a chance to put this disturbing case behind him, and his inalienable right, post-acquittal, to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
To comment, you can find the MeWe post for this article here.