Kyle Rittenhouse is no hero

The actions of the Illinois teenage vigilante should not be viewed as brave nor commendable



Kyle Rittenhouse at his trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse in Kenosha, Wisconsin where he faced five criminal charges

On Nov. 19, Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted on all charges. After 25-hours of deliberation, the jury came to the verdict that let him leave the court a free man.

From the charges and through the verdict, Rittenhouse has garnered extensive support and praise from various groups and individuals. Although Rittenhouse was pronounced not guilty, two people are still dead due to his reckless actions and in no way should we be celebrating what he did in Kenosha, guilty or not.

In the wake of the death of Jacob Blake, an African-American left paralyzed after being shot at by a white police officer, violent protests erupted in Kenosha. 18-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse was recruited in order to “protect” Car Source, family-owned car dealership, following the damage against the dealership the previous night.

He armed himself with an AR-15 style rifle, and on the night of August 25, 2020, Rittenhouse’s shots injured a paramedic and killed two others. His charges included one count of first-degree reckless homicide, two counts of first-degree recklessly endangering safety, one count of first-degree intentional homicide, and one count of attempted first-degree intentional homicide.

The conservatives’ response to Rittenhouse’s verdict is ridiculous. Regardless of the verdict, Rittenhouse still did something violent and terrible: he murdered two people and injured another.

Since the civil unrest in Kenosha, Rittenhouse has become a figure praised for his thoughtless and violent actions. Some of his celebrators have included former-President Donald Trump, the Proud Boys, neofacist, white- supremacy group, and Republican Congressmen.

Rittenhouse and Trump have become quite the pair in the media’s headlines. Shortly following his verdict, Trump made comments on Laura Ingraham’s Fox News show in which he described Rittenhouse as a “poster boy” for self-defense. Trump had also deemed

Rittenhouse as “brave” and hosted him at his residence Florida after his acquittal. Sure, he killed two people but let’s slap him on a poster with an American flag flowing in the background and teach his valiant story fondly in history classes. This celebration of Rittenhouse is the exact opposite of how we as a nation should be handling him.

Furthermore, just after Rittenhouse pleaded not guilty to murder and weapons charges, he was found at a bar in Wisconsin. According to ABC News, at the bar, the 18-year-old is said to have drunk three beers and posed for photos with the Proud Boys where Rittenhouse held up a white power sign. Other far-right groups, including the Proud Boys, have considered Rittenhouse “a hero.” Personally, I’d consider it to be a negative thing to have such a hateful group praising me, but Rittenhouse seems to have been enjoying himself.

In addition, Republican Floridian Representative Matt Gaetz offered Rittenhouse a Congressional Internship, and after the verdict, Representative Madison Cawthorn from North Carolina also offered Rittenhouse an internship on Capitol Hill. It’s quite unsettling to see Congressmen, our lawmakers, aiding a murderer in his “redemption” after his trial. Cawthorn also encouraged Americans, much like Rittenhouse, to essentially “be dangerous” in the name of self-defense.

The conservative’s response to Rittenhouse’s verdict is ridiculous. Regardless of the verdict, Rittenhouse still did something violent and terrible: he murdered two people and injured another.

The jury found that Rittenhouse’s actions were legal in the name of self-defense, but America should not perpetuate the notion that Rittenhouse is a good person. He acted as a senseless vigilante in a situation he had no part being involved in with a gun that he had no right to carry. He added lethal violence to a situation that may have only brought about bruises and broken bones. Rittenhouse should not be let off the hook just because the jury found him to be innocent in this case.

Creating a narrative that Rittenhouse is some hero is completely dangerous as it could spark others to act “in the name of self-defense” and kill other American citizens.

The praise and opportunities Rittenhouse has received establish a rhetoric that killing can bring internships and attention. Others may be interested in getting some of those benefits for themselves and will senselessly enter a future situation with the intent of supplementing the already bubbling-over violence.

Politicians, as prominent figures with—at least you’d think—an education, should not be acting as foolishly as they have.

Rittenhouse and his actions should not be a source of celebration. Yes, the jury deemed him innocent, yet that does not make him deserving of commendation. He should still pay a price for leaving two people dead. Though he will face no formal punishment, the American public should not welcome him back into our good graces with internships and meetings with former-presidents. He’s a murderer, not a hero.