Kyle Rittenhouse, The Illinois teenager attacked With the shooting of three protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin, fanmail congratulates him on his exploits in juvenile detention, since he is 17 years old. Most of the right-wing stories that make the child a righteous arbitrator of justice bury this fact. After all, Juvie is less brave.
Rittenhouse is going to be tried as an adult, and the press releases and memes celebrating him say he “watched his community” or fired “well-placed shots”, the legal defense implied that he was a righteous member of the American Militia Distinguishers seem to be deliberately downplaying the reality that he is actually not a trained assassin. At most he is a child soldier. Only the president and his son doubled Rittenhouse̵
But if you watch the 19 minute video, it will Daily caller Taken by Rittenhouse before he shot three people, two of whom were fatal, the full vigor of his youth is terrifying. As a doughy kid, he speaks in the unmistakably shabby voice of puberty and plunges into the crowd to provide medical care with the rigid strength of an Eagle Scout. He tells that caller He’s a paramedic – which he technically can’t be given his age – before adding that he is “usually a lifeguard”. But he has had extra training, he says. He worked part time at a local YMCA.
Rittenhouse’s big deal was loving cops, which seemed to manifest the way some kids are obsessed with a particular band. He was inducted into the local cadet program and branded his social media accounts with Blue Lives Matter posts. He raised money for an “organization that wants to show the human side of the men and women behind the badge”. The teen’s decision to travel out of the state to defend “property” against protesters is the result of decades of activity by the white supremacist militia in the state. His very public appreciation is an affirmation that compassion for cops these days is basically about becoming one yourself.
In the week after the shooting, statements of support for Rittenhouse were made such as advance notice: David Clarke, the brutal ex-sheriff of Milwaukee, said the murders were justified and that Americans had “the right to defend themselves”. Tucker Carlson made a characteristic contribution to the protest that has turned into “anarchy”: The boy is “not the bad guy here,” he said. In the week after the shooting, half a million dollars donated to Rittenhouse’s legal defense came through his attorney’s charitable organization. Several hundred thousand more were raised and brought in separately through a Christian crowdfunding site the Teenage Relief Fund at over $ 1 million. The man with whom Rittenhouse roamed the streets said he and the militia had acted with the consent of the police.
The 17-year-old went from being a kid who played awkwardly in war to a tactical mastermind overnight. “We wholeheartedly support law-abiding citizens and their right to defend themselves against violent anti-fascist thugs,” wrote the executive director of the National Gun Rights Foundation in a remarkable statement. “Unfortunately Kyle was armed with an AR-15 and their stones, skateboards, and handguns stood no chance against his well-placed shots.” Memes of a buckled Rittenhouse pitted him against hypocritical protesters calling their own communities to police, and wired a reassurance that without the AR-15, what he almost was certainly carry illegallyHe would have been torn to pieces. They were each divided by a Maryland official and a Republican Congress candidate.
The redesign of a youthful lifeguard as a living punisher meme feels a bit divided, if only because Rittenhouse is clearly poorly equipped for the job. But the mental acrobatics required to portray unsympathetic characters as defenders of the republic has been on the move for quite some time. After all, you need martyrs if you want people to go to war. The St. Louis couple wave guns at demonstrators, the men who come to peaceful protests with record carriers and radios and callsigns, the organized militias who “lend a hand” to Border Patrol – they all share the deception that blind terror leads them to drives Bringing a gun into a fistfight is actually courage, and when you kill someone it’s not only justified but also heroic. This fantasy needs examples to fuel when no enemy is more tangible as a Facebook post.
Rittenhouse’s focus on the symbols of Blue Lives Matter was all it took to adopt him as an icon. Long-term affiliation (and cross-pollination) between the police and the right wing armed supporters are becoming clearer: shortly after the arrest of Rittenhouse A Virginia county had a discussion on whether to formalize a relationship with their local militia, which is not even the first time Proponents of the extra force. There are demonstrators at rallies They are reportedly being attacked by “back the blue” activists while the police cheerfully watch.
It was inevitable that the first person to kill a protester would become a ship for that conflict, regardless of age or suitability for the job. After not finding a single Antifa super soldier, the law anointed them to death. Painting of an activist who was executed while eating gum worms as a criminal mastermind and two people Participation in a protest as “Antifa thugs”. It’s part of an insidious monopoly on political violence, an unequal war between an establishment party obsessed with the idea that a single rioter could tarnish its reputation and another willing to bring its ideological army to any asshole with it a thin blue bumper sticker and a gun to expand.
While the left spreads images reminiscent of victims of state violence – George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Layleen Polanco – the right upholds the people who commit murder and, increasingly, those who commit it on behalf of the state.
The composite enemy of the right, fueled by the tacit approval of the Trump administration, has solidified since George Floyd was killed by police. You hear it in the claim that New York, a city I live in, is on fire, and in the spread of conspiracy theories about busloads of armed activists ending up en masse in rural communities. You can see it at the militia-style checkpoints set up in Oregon to interview “looters” outside of town. based on lies spread by a local sheriff. Antifa are criminals, protesters for the Black Lives Matter, all of whom are grouped together into an omnipresent and unique threat that relies heavily on decades of Republican rhetoric about race and crime and the militant rhetoric of the far right. With a common enemy, the long-standing links between police and “citizen patrols” have also strengthened, and the lines between being good with a gun and good with a badge have widened to the point where a 17-year-old child fires off a round and supposedly becomes an agent of the state.
It should be absurd for Rittenhouse to claim self-defense for shooting and killing two people, one of whom is only swinging a skateboard. From the videos posted in Kenosha that night, it appears that the “mob” chasing the teenager did so after he had already shot a person. But the narrative was already written for him, so his actions are hailed as accomplished with the uniquely American privilege of taking up arms for your country and fighting, part of an equally American confusion between a military and a mercenary force. In this way of imagining the world, your basic laws have extended to entire American cities. The border is everywhere now. Gun attorneys are going back into history to reclaim the “well-regulated militia” clause of the second amendment, once scrubbed and played down from the walls of NRA headquarters in an attempt to promote a more politically feasible ideal of central defense.
Rittenhouse almost certainly saw himself as a cop when, as he said, he was thanked by the police in the hours leading up to the shooting, and when callerHe warned the demonstrators that if they did not “disperse” immediately, they would be arrested. Even Rittenhouse’s escalation of tactics under the guise of order is horribly known: killing someone for hitting you with a skateboard isn’t far from gassing a lot in tears for throwing a bottle of piss . Rittenhouse could believe he could do it all because he and the middle-aged veteran he chased the streets with was encouraged by elected officials and the police to see themselves as part of the composite force that complements local authorities. They could do it because they knew that their violence would be celebrated by their side.
The public message among militia movements has changed over the years, but the impulse is always a version of the defense of the idealized white state against a racialized agitator. It’s no different now, just endorsed with less ambiguity by the people who supposedly enforce the law. The white supremacy underpinned the Bundy land dispute. It is the engine of the citizen militias that patrol the streets of the city. It’s at the heart of Blue Lives Matter. Whether Rittenhouse knew it, it was what brought him to Kenosha to join a white militia and protect property from “Antifa” and the rebellious “thugs”.
It would be easy to argue that the law is inherently more aggressive, more in love with gun culture, and more interested in vigilante justice. But they are decisively more willing to shove the ideology into the receptacle that lends itself to the cause, a mission that lies long before this moment and should probably scare us more than a weapon. Democratic politicians who believe they will be spared the consolidation of the right’s enemies seek to condemn violenceThey distance themselves from the “rioters” and “looters” and adopt the protagonists of the paranoia of the right as their own.
But a very different game is being played, and it’s not about order. The willingness to set an example for a 17-year-old lifeguard foreshadowed a world a few months before an election in which anyone who waves and carries the right flag will become the honorary arm of the state.