Something about the Kyle Rittenhouse murder case bothers me nearly as much as the atrocious, senseless murders of young men that occurred that night. In my mind’s eye, I see a baby-faced, pouty-lipped, child with an enormous, high powered gun, meandering around a protest and riot scene, with the notion in his young head of protecting a car lot. Some Americans seem to agree that Kyle’s reasoning of protecting property by threatening lives is a rational hero’s thought process, but I can not. What I see is a situation that was bound to erupt into violence, made substantially worse by a hormone-addled teenager who brought a gun he was too young to even purchase legally.
I’ve seen the photo of young Kyle wearing an over-sized police uniform, perhaps in hopes that he could some day be man enough to grow into it. I less pity Kyle than the culture that encourages fantasies of valor and bravery without the weight of responsibility along with the potential taint of deep regret.
According to the owners of the car dealership in Kenosha , no one asked Kyle to be there. At the trial, the owners denied ever issuing any requests for help from the group who stood arm and arm, ready to protect a car lot with deadly weapons. The absurdity of someone requesting a child to protect private property with deadly force flies in the face of those who believe this was a patriotic act performed on another’s behalf. Let’s be clear. Kyle saw a post on the internet, talked to some individuals, and decided to leave the safety of his home to insert himself into the action, all on his own accord. He somehow believed that he belonged there, dispersing justice to others, as if he were an officer of the law, which of course is now likely that he never will be.