Rittenhouse: Villain or Vigilante?

Distance from Rittenhouses home in Antioch, Illinois to Kenosha, Wisconsin, where the crime took place.

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Distance from Rittenhouse’s home in Antioch, Illinois to Kenosha, Wisconsin, where the crime took place.

On August 25th, 2020, Kyle Rittenhouse shot Joseph Rosenbaum, Anthony Huber, and Gaige Grosskreutz.

Rittenhouse traveled 30 minutes away from his home in Illinois with an AR-15 to a Black Lives Matter protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin after the shooting of Jacob Blake. He stood in front of a car dealership with a group of armed men claiming to be protecting private property and offering medical aid to those in need.

The scene turned bloody when footage showed Rittenhouse running from a group of unidentified people, followed by a shot fired into the air. As Rittenhouse turned toward the direction the shot was fired, Rosenbaum, armed with nothing but a plastic bag containing a toothbrush, toothpaste, and some deodorant, was seen lunging toward Rittenhouse. Rittenhouse fired his rifle four times, shooting Rosenbaum in the head.

Rittenhouse fled the scene as people chased him. As he attempted to escape, he collapsed. Anthony Huber believed Rittenhouse was an active shooter, and rushed towards the armed man to hit Rittenhouse with his skateboard in an attempt to immobilize him. Rittenhouse fired one deadly shot. Huber stumbled away, then collapsed shortly after.

Gaige Grosskreutz was the only man not fatally wounded. He was shot in the arm after chasing Rittenhouse. Grosskreutz was armed with a pistol. During his testimony, Grosskreutz claimed he was not attempting to shoot Rittenhouse, however it can be confirmed his pistol was pointed at Rittenhouse. A shot was fired and Grosskreutz suffered a shot to the arm.

Rittenhouse’s attorneys insisted he was a spirited patriot aiming to aid his community, forced to commit these acts of violence in the name of self defense.

Rittenhouse’s defense attorney, Mark Richards stated, “Kyle shot Rosenbaum to stop a threat to his person.” He later went on to say that Rosenbaum was “irrational and crazy.”

On the other side, Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger argued that Rittenhouse was no more than a juvenile boy with no remorse for those he had killed. He stated that it was not necessary for Rittenhouse to fire at Rosenbaum four times.

“That was his decision. And he is responsible for every bullet that comes out of his gun,” said Binger.

He went on to explain that looting or damaging property should not warrant death, no matter how unjust these acts are.

Mark Richards touched on the politicization of this situation. “We can take the politics out of it as in Democrat or Republican, but the District Attorney’s office is marching forward with this case because they need somebody to be responsible,” said Richards.

On November 19th 2021, Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted of all charges.

“He is responsible for every bullet that comes out of his gun.”

—District Attorney Thomas Binger

This case brings to light the intense polarity of our country at the moment.

While conservatives are painting Rittenhouse as a patriotic vigilante, defending local business while exercising his right to open carry, the case has the more liberal parts of the country viewing the results of this case as just another example of the broken justice system, wondering would the verdict be the same had Rittenhouse been Black?