Despite his acquittal, the left continues to smear Kyle Rittenhouse as a bloodthirsty, “Call of Duty”-playing white supremacist. But if you were in the city of Kenosha, as I was, when the riots erupted, you would know that Rittenhouse was hardly a rogue vigilante. He was one of many brave Kenoshan men who took up arms to protect their families, businesses, and beloved city when the government failed to.
Indeed, despite desperate pleas for help, Gov. Tony Evers refused to deploy adequate numbers of national guardsmen to protect the city from rioters wielding guns and fire. After 24 hours of receiving requests for aid, Evers had still sent fewer troops to Kenosha than he did to Milwaukee during the NBA finals. Local law enforcement was quickly overwhelmed.
By the second night of rioting, streams of out-of-state professional Black Lives Matter and Antifa rioters had flooded into the city. At the time, I wrote that Kenosha looked like “something I had only seen in photographs of war-torn countries.”
Grossly outnumbered, law enforcement had only enough manpower to protect public buildings in the town’s center. “They were so busy down there saving their courthouse, well what about this? I’m a taxpayer, too” said Sam, an Indian immigrant who owns a torched family-run car dealership in downtown Kenosha, two blocks from the courthouse.
Evers watched thugs and arsonists destroy businesses and terrorize Kenoshans for another 48 hours before he reluctantly agreed to accept help from President Trump and the federal government. He let Kenosha burn because he thought he could blame the unrest on Trump and enhance the political fortunes of the Democrat Party in the 2020 presidential election.
When the political fire instead turned on him, he finally changed course, but for many residents, it was too late. “Governor Evers has a huge sense of urgency for mask mandates, but when our town is burning to the flippin’ ground, he had zero sense of urgency,” said Kimberly Warner, a single mom who owns two businesses in downtown Kenosha. “He allowed our town to suffer and burn.”
Evers’s inaction resulted in $50 million in property damage that affected 100 businesses, including 40 that were put out of business for good.
It was in the face of all this destruction and turmoil that Rittenhouse decided to defend his community—yes, contrary to what the hacks at MSNBC and CNN want you to believe, Kenosha is Kyle’s community. In the daylight hours of the fateful night that changed his life, Rittenhouse was volunteering to scrub BLM graffiti off a local high school. That night, he told a reporter why he was in Kenosha—to offer medical assistance and be ready to “run into harm’s way” to protect people and property.
Rittenhouse was not alone. When I was in Kenosha, I observed countless men standing with baseball bats, handguns, semi-automatic rifles, and shotguns in front of their businesses and homes. In fact, my now-fiancé, who accompanied me while I was reporting, was also armed. You had to be.
Chuck, a tire shop owner, spent every night of the riots on his roof guarding his shop “with guns.” An exhausted yet vigilant Chuck glared into my iPhone camera at the time and said to the rioters, “Come to my shop and I’ll blow your heads off.”
One of the greatest examples of bravery during the riots was Robert Cobb, a 70-year-old long-time Kenosha man who was viciously beaten by BLM rioters. Cobb saw looters stealing from the 100-year-old Danish Brotherhood and simply could not stand by.
He tried to keep the horde of criminals at bay with a fire extinguisher, hoping to force them to take their masks off so they could be identified later. Rioters sneak-attacked him, though, leaving Cobb with a jaw broken in three places, a swollen eye, and stitches to a head wound. “He was trying to defend his building and they beat the s–t out of him!” the videographer sobbed in a clip that captured the assault.
Democrats in the corporate media want you to believe that citizens not only shouldn’t arm themselves in defense of their communities but that they cannot legally do so. Make no mistake, this lie is meant to justify Democrats’ continued attack on the American people’s right to bear arms. Under the Second Amendment, the citizens of Kenosha were entirely justified and legally permitted to protect themselves and their hometown, especially because law enforcement could not.
More importantly, it was Rittenhouse’s moral duty and that of all able-bodied men over the age of 16 to defend Kenosha against the vandals, looters, and arsonists who were destroying the city.
That is why Democrats and their allies in the media want you to believe that Rittenhouse and other Kenoshans who stood up for themselves are murderous white supremacists. These brave citizens and their “toxic masculinity” represent an existential threat to the left’s authoritarian aims. They simply cannot allow average Americans to believe they can exercise their right to bear arms and protect themselves without the government’s permission.
Rittenhouse found himself caught in the chaos. Video evidence showed him defending himself with a semi-automatic rifle against angry, gun-wielding, rioting convicted felons and child rapists. Rittenhouse ultimately fatally shot two men and wounded another, in what has now been ruled by a jury an act of self-defense.
“I didn’t intend to kill them. I intended to stop the people who were attacking me,” Rittenhouse said. “I did what I had to do to stop the person who was attacking me.” The truth is, Rittenhouse could have been any of my fellow Wisconsinites that night. The city was in flames and the state had abdicated its responsibility to protect its citizens. In the face of this crisis, Rittenhouse did what he had to do.
The Kenosha rioting showed America that you don’t have to cower in fear like people in Portland and Chicago. Kenoshans refused to be helpless victims when Marxist and race agitators descended on their city. Men like Rittenhouse tried to defend their hometown. For that, they should be commended as the heroes they are.
*The views expressed in this article solely represent the views of the author, not the views of the Chicago Thinker.