Kyle Rittenhouse, the seventeen-year-old from Illinois, who got into deadly confrontations with rioters in Kenosha, Wisconsin, showed he is more a man than the older men who attacked him. He found himself in the same situation that millions of young men throughout history have: when confronted by an attacker in warfare or civil unrest, you make the stark choice–it is him or me. Rittenhouse did everything possible to avoid the confrontations. He tried to leave the rioting scene when he was separated from the older men he accompanied in a local business’s defence. He was asked to take part in protecting the local business that was set on fire in the rioting the night before. He armed himself, yes, for self-protection, and that is how he used his rifle, an AR-15, in the end.
Moreover, he knew how to use his rifle. He fired five shots at the first attacker (when the first shots were fired), and one shot each at the second and third attackers as a last resort when cornered by them. Regrettably, two of the attackers died, and the third suffered a grievous wound to his arm. Whether he should have been there or not is academic. The fact remains, had Rittenhouse not used deadly force to stop the attackers, he would be either seriously injured or dead at the rioters’ hands. A second-hand account of what happened to the attacker who survived states, “I just talked to [name redacted] too–his only regret was not killing the kid and hesitating to pull the gun before emptying the entire mag into him. Coward.” (National File) Following the shootings, he ran to the law on the scene, trying to surrender to the police. The police on the scene told him to move along. He turned himself in to the police in Illinois, and he faces several criminal charges in Wisconsin.
He will have his day in court. He killed two men and wounded a third. Being a man means facing the consequences of your actions. I think he understands that. He will have to live with the reality that he killed two men. It will remain on his conscience for the rest of his days. He is caught up in a critical situation, not of his own making that will determine the rest of his life. As the investigation into the shootings is underway, the available evidence supports the argument that he acted in self-defence. It will be some time before a judgement is handed down–he faces six charges. In the meantime, he will endure the media’s efforts and various interest groups to paint him and his family being all manner of villainy. I wish him well as he rides out the storm ahead. I hope he will be able to get on with his life when the court proceedings are concluded. Given how the young Rittenhouse handled himself when he came under attack that fateful night, I think as he matures and leaves his adolescence behind, he will become a fine man. He aspired to join the police force; I hope he can realize his ambition as he showed excellent character strength for such a young man. I think he will be an acceptable candidate for the police force if he stays the course he took before the unfortunate events in Kenosha interrupted his career path. Regardless, his life will never be the same.
Posted by Geoffrey