Look at him. Such a sweet innocent face. Those plump cherubic cheeks, the kind of cheeks my Sicilian uncles would reflexively pinch and not let go. Come on. He’s just a kid. All kids get into mischief from time to time. Did you see the video? Did you see him traipsing about the streets, the burning streets of Kenosha, like a carefree, frisky puppy, his baby fat jiggling as he ran? How could such a harmless looking boy be a killer? Rather easily, it would appear.
On August 25th, 2020, at a protest that turned into a riot in Kenosha, Wisconsin, resulting from the police shooting of a Black man multiple times in the back, seventeen year old Kyle Rittenhouse crossed state lines from Antioch Illinois into Wisconsin. Ostensibly, he was there to join other civilian militia to guard and protect property. Was he invited by property owners? No. When interviewed by a roving reporter, young Kyle stated he was an EMT (emergency medical technician) and wanted to administer medical attention to anyone he encountered who was hurt. He was not an EMT. He carried with him a medical kit, a fire extinguisher and- an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. Why, every earnest EMT should carry one- they are designed to save lives, are they not? Now the narrative becomes obfuscated, a la Rashomon Effect.
At one point, Young Kyle is seen running across the street, away from the roving interviewer. There is a confrontation with a man named Joseph Rosenbaum. Rosenbaum threw a bag at Young Kyle and allegedly issued verbal threats. Young Kyle shot him four times within four feet. The crowd observes. Is he an active shooter? Is he not decked out in the typical garb of civilian militia? He is pursued and falls on his back. A man named Anthony Huber attempts to disarm Young Kyle, and strikes him with a skateboard. He is shot in the chest and dies. A third man, admittedly brandishing a hand gun, is shot in the arm. Most of the bicep is blown away. Young Kyle gets up and flees from the crowd, and encounters police. He tells them he has shot people. They give him water and tell him to go home. Honest Injun’. What is it about cops and baby faced right wing killers? Remember Dylann Roof? The cops gave him Burger King when they arrested him. Now, if at all possible, try to imagine the above described scenario, all details identical, except Young Kyle is Black. He tells the cop he has shot three people. How might they reply? “Aw, get out of here kid. Here’s some water. Now scram and go home.” I know. You can’t imagine it.
Eventually, our young rascal was arrested and charged with multiple offenses, including murder. When Young Kyle appeared before a judge, Lady Luck was beaming at him. He went before Judge Bruce Schroeder, who at an earlier hearing, denied a request from the D.A. to increase bail by $200,000 because a video had surfaced showing Young Kyle in a bar drinking beer with members of the “Proud Boys,” the notorious White Nationalist group who were key players in the January 6th storming of the nation’s capital. Well, is not storming what storm troopers do? Our boy, who for the remainder of this piece shall be referred to as YK, was wearing a “Free As Fuck” tee shirt and flashing the OK sign (thumb touching index finger), often displayed by White Supremacists. The charge of a minor in possession of a firearm was dropped because YK did not buy the weapon, but borrowed it, and within the infinite wisdom of Wisconsin law, the barrel was too long to qualify as a hand gun, which would have been illegal. I hope you are processing this better than I am. The honorable Judge Schroeder also ordered that the three men who YK shot could not be referred to as victims by the D.A., but the defense could refer to them as arsonists or looters, if there was evidence they were involved in such activities. Question: if there was no such evidence, then why could they not then be described as victims? Ask the judge. Throughout the trial the judge excoriated in near rage the D.A. over technicalities. Such an impartial adjudicator. He may as well have been wearing a sandwich board stating, “I’M WITH KYLE!”
During the actual trial, the defense rolled the dice and put YK on the stand. It was self-defense, he pleaded. He only did what he had to do to stay alive. At one point, he broke down, poor boy, in sobs- enough crocodile tears to fill the Nile. Such a convincing performance- Stanislavski would be proud; a Proud Boy, if you will.
Then- the day of reckoning. Not guilty on all charges. More histrionic sobs, wracked with them; tears of joy, of vindication- and then he began to swoon.
And what now for YK? From day one he has been the darling of the Alt-Right and White Nationalists. He has been deified by the likes of Tucker Carlson, Ann Coulter and Matt Gaetz, the champion and protector of seventeen year olds. YK may himself emerge as a pundit on Fox, with a bit of grooming. But what about now. How can he make a bit of money?
Remember George Zimmerman, who, in my opinion, murdered another seventeen year old, Travon Martin, a kid who was unarmed, minding his own business and Black? Zimmerman sold the murder weapon, a 9MM hand gun, for $250,000 at auction. An AR-15, with two kills and a maiming on it’s pedigree, should do a Hell of a lot better.