Kyle Rittenhouse is no hero.
He’s been accused and condemned by an incompetent and highly politicized prosecutor, but he’s no hero.
He has been found not guilty of various felonies, including intentional homicide, by a jury of his peers, but he’s no hero.
He has been vilified and falsely accused as a racist and murderer by the president of the United States, by the media, and by his uninformed fellow citizens, but he’s no hero.
He is a teenager who made a series of questionable decisions, although apparently no malicious ones, but he’s no hero.
Thanks to an effective defense team and some media that still believe their job is to report the truth, that part of America that desires justice for all has learned truths not reported in the summer of 2020.
Mr. Rittenhouse was a not a racist militia member eager to engage riotous mobs in a far off community. He aligned himself with a few like-minded souls seeking to protect business owners from arson and to provide medical aid. He did not skulk across state lines toting a fearsome arsenal from home; he armed himself with a weapon belonging to an acquaintance after arriving in Kenosha. He was eventually targeted and assaulted by several unstable individuals who exhibited even worse judgment by physically engaging someone holding a shoulder weapon.
But as any police officer that has responded to the scene of a senseless tragedy has said aloud to a partner, “What would possess someone to do that?”
If that doesn’t move the needle, how would any police officer-parent respond after being told by their 17-year old, “Hey mom, the city next door is burning to the ground. The mayor has abandoned the city to rioters who are protesting the suspect’s death at the hands of the police. Even though there is a curfew in place, local law enforcement and fire authorities are completely overwhelmed and ineffective. Since I have a very minimum of medical training as well as practically no life experience, I’d like to go across state lines by myself and see how I can help!”
There is not a police officer-parent who wouldn’t immediately respond with, “Boy, get back in the house before I ground you for life-or worse.”
Why? Because police officers, even ones who aren’t parents, know so many tragedies could be avoided if people would just exercise a little common sense and maybe even a little decency. Because police officers know most teenagers (and too many adults) are easily mislead, misguided, and overcome by events leading them to act out inappropriately. Police officers know these actions can come with significant, even soul-crushing consequences. Certainly those consequences should exist for elected and appointed officials who continue to watch meekly as American cities burn, and for prosecutors who forget their duty to justice.
But apparently Mr. Rittenhouse didn’t have anyone to provide him with this advice, and even though a jury has acquitted him, his life has changed forever and the country is again divided. Oh yes, and two people are dead.
As his teens turn into his twenties or thirties and he becomes a father perhaps he will begin to understand. Long after those selling Rittenhouse t-shirts or forwarding sympathetic Rittenhouse memes have forgotten him, he may have teenagers of his own. If wisdom has replaced rashness, as it does for many parents, what counsel will he give his own son?
Justice has been served; Kyle Rittenhouse is no murderer, but he is not altogether innocent.
Mr. Rittenhouse is a survivor and maybe even a victim, but he’s no hero.
A society that lionizes Mr. Rittenhouse instead of recognizing his choices as a cautionary tale risks seeing his choices emulated and repeated.
- Rittenhouse jury reaches verdict … NOT GUILTY
- Biden says he is ‘angry’ over Rittenhouse verdict
- New York Post reporter debunks 10 lies about Kyle Rittenhouse