Kyle Rittenhouse is not an American hero


Maddie Berendt, Senior Managing Editor


Kyle Rittenhouse, an 18-year old boy from Anitoch, Illinois, has been in the public spotlight. Representatives from Arizona, Paul Gosar and of Florida, Matt Gaetz are two of the prominent lawmakers who said they would be eager to hire Rittenhouse as their intern. Rittenhouse also had the opportunity to meet former President Donald Trump and other prominent right-winged individuals.

It would be reasonable to infer that this 18 year old was a hero, or at least did something that helped people; after all, he’s being treated like he can accomplish great things in the future. However, Kyle Rittenhouse is well known because he is responsible for killing  Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber and severely wounding Gaige Grosskreutz, all of whom believed him to be a threat at a protest.

On Aug 25, 2020, 17 year old Rittenhouse traveled to Kenosha, Wisconsin while protests were held after the shooting of Jacob Blake. He intended to guard a used-dealership and came armed with an AR-15-style rifle. His first victim was Rosenbaum; he claimed self defense because Rosenbaum ran after him. Huber and Grosskreutz were then killed and injured after they believed Rittenhouse was going to start shooting multiple people and they attempted to interfere and disarm him. During his trial that was held from Nov 1-19 of 2021 he was tried for First-Degree Reckless Homicide, Two counts of First-Degree Recklessly Endangering Safety, First-Degree Intentional Homicide, Attempted First-Degree Intentional Homicide, and Possession of a Dangerous Weapon by a Person Under 18. The count of unlawful possession was dismissed by the judge and he was then acquitted of all other charges and found not guilty.

The underlying problem of this event is that once again, a kid with a gun acted before he thought about the consequences. The unusual aspect is that his “self defense” has caused some to label him as a symbol for gun rights.  If this 18 year old is the ideal political puppet, there are greater issues playing out in the background. Nothing good ever came from glorifying these types of events or people. When someone is shoved into the spotlight and is made to hold a sign reading idolize me there are inevitably going to be followers, even copycats. Someone doing something violent and not only being acquitted but glorified is never going to act as a deterrent. Promoting that a person can get away with murder as long as you use the right words in court is going to serve as the largest incentive for repeat occurrences. Treating Rittenhouse like he was a hero and hinting at his future in politics is destructive. It sends the message that anyone can shoot someone else if they feel threatened.

Even though he stated in an interview with CNBC that the polarization of the case was sickening and how he wished to stay out of politics, he still put in efforts to repeatedly socialize with individuals that want to give him a stronger platform.

This event should not play out how it has; Too often, individuals are glorified for doing terrible things. Rittenhouse didn’t need to travel to Wisconsin, he didn’t need to involve himself in that environment, but he did. Civilians around him thought he was going to go on a killing spree, of course they were going to try to go after him to disarm him.

He was, in the entirety of this situation, wrong no matter the verdict he was given in court. Instead of amplifying what happened, ask how it happened. Instead of congratulating Kyle Rittenhouse for receiving a not guilty verdict, take into consideration that two people are dead because of his aggressive actions. Guilty or not guilty his story has evolved into a future political weapon, it has opened the door toward shooting those whom you disagree with.

It can only be hoped that Rittenhouse’s action doesn’t cause a domino effect. The media is a powerful tool, politics is a dangerous game. A child who was careless and utilized a gun should never become a role model for anyone.