If one wishes to know the response in the media to Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17 year old who killed two people and injured another during the riot in Wisconsin on 8/23/2020, one only needs to look at this headline from the New York Post from 8/26/2020:
Suspected Teen Gunman Kyle Rittenhouse Spotted Cleaning Kenosha Graffiti Before Shooting
The article begins:
The suspected teen shooter who killed two Kenosha protesters and injured a third Tuesday night was photographed cleaning graffiti in the city just hours before the violence.
Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, of Antioch, Illinois, allegedly traveled into Kenosha and affiliated himself with a small but heavily armed militia that claimed to be helping law enforcement protect the city after the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
Before allegedly being filmed shooting protesters during a tense confrontation, Rittenhouse was spotted joining other volunteers in cleaning graffiti from a high school nearby the Kenosha County Courthouse.
Of course, when a black person commits an act of violence, this is not even close to what we hear. After Trayvon Martin was shot, for example, the media dug up that he smoked weed (oh no!), skipped school, and had images of guns on his phone — as if any of that is worthy of death. After Micheal Brown was shot, all we heard was that smoked weed, made music with violent lyrics, and robbed a local convenience store — again, not worthy of a death sentence. After Ahmaud Arbery was shot earlier this year, video of him going through a building that was under construction (which he never stole anything from) and him being arrested for carrying a gun into a Basketball game (which was an attack primarily used by people who want guns in schools) were used to justify his death. And it seems like every couple of weeks some news website runs an article pointing out George Floyd was on Fentanyl at the time of his death, as if that excuses the aggressive behavior of the police officers the video of the incident clearly showed.
It is very hard to imagine a black Kyle Rittenhouse being seen as anything more than a violent thug. Going back to Trayvon Martin, anyone who believed the man who stalked and harassed him deserved some form of jail time was reminded that Martin did hurt George Zimmerman, who again, was following this kid for no reason. After the death of Michael Brown, the second the media had evidence Brown acted violently towards officer Darren Wilson, the story dried up. The media entirely ignored that at the same time the Justice Department released a report clearing Darren Wilson’s name, they also released a separate report noting many examples of racism among the police force in Ferguson, Missouri.
I remember being told these people deserved it because they were “doing something stupid” (personally, I think using that as a defense for killing someone is also quite stupid). However, the king of “doing something stupid” among all the man named in this article is clearly Kyle Rittenhouse.
For one, Rittenhouse did not even live in Wyoming, meaning he decided to walk around the streets of a different state with a fully automatic gun during a riot. For two, he was walking around the streets with a fully automatic gun during a riot.
The argument made in favor of Rittenhouse by men like Tucker Carlson and Ben Shapiro is that he was planning on “restoring justice.” However, that’s not what this situation would look like to any reasonable person who did not have the context. To them, all they would see was another guy walking around with a gun during a riot, and if they heard he shot someone, the obvious reaction would be that he was intending to do harm.
For that matter, how do we know the men who Rittenhouse shot, of which he is trying to claim he was defending himself against, didn’t also think they were “restoring justice”? I’m sure many people act as vigilantes during a riot, and they are still considered in the wrong. Even if Rittenhouse was legally in the clear, the fact that he wished to contribute to the riot should raise some basic condemnation to say the least.
Some might call hypocrisy on those who supported the Black Lives Matter protests but are currently going after Rittenhouse. However, nobody in the mainstream media to my knowledge has defended the violence by itself. At worst, they have said the violence is a last resort tactic by black people to get their voices heard while still acknowledging violence is wrong.
While on this topic, lets not forget that Rittenhouse was far from an Angle — another excuse made to justify various black people getting shot. Just look at the reaction to either Michael Brown or, more recently, Rayshad Brooks if you want examples of that. In fact, this argument is being used against the people Rittenhouse shot, in spite of the fact he had no way of knowing the criminal history of the people he killed until much later.
However, the very gun Rittenhouse was using was one he illegally owned, meaning if we’re judging who’s a criminal here it’s very hard to call Rittenhouse some kind of saint.
It is impossible not to see that Rittenhouse is only getting any defenders because he is white. If this man were black, he would be nothing more than a tweet in a thread showing videos that prove that black people are violent or something. Every argument used to justify the killings of black people by police could be used easily against Rittenhouse, and yet nobody will.