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Unz.com prides itself on giving alternative views of the news, and there I read both Mike Whitney's and Spencer Quinn's defenses of Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old who killed two people in a Kenosha riot. I have another interpretation of events: the trouble was not so much Rittenhouse, but his gun.
For the record, my information relies on videos of the event and on the New York Times careful reconstruction of events, which Mr. Quinn calls "fairly evenhanded." Leonard Wolf in Blaze has a lower opinion of it, pointing out that it omits important details. Be that as it may, this is my analysis of this awful episode.
Mr. Rittenhouse started the evening with other gunslingers guarding a car lot but unfortunately got separated from the others and some time later found himself in another car lot, which is where his troubles started.
He was clearly the focus of much wrath from others present, though I've seen no speculation as to why Rittenhouse inspired such anger. As he says in one video, his intentions -- laudable -- were to protect property and, as en EMT, aid the injured. His rifle was for self-defense. So why did so many people all at once turn on him? Did he punch or insult someone? Unlikely: this well-spoken young man doesn't seem the type. Could it be his white skin? No, his assailants were white as well.
No, it was surely the rifle he carried: no grouse-hunting pea-shooter but an AK-47 worthy of an Hawaii-5-0 episode. It symbolized something that the others reviled, which was someone who had taken it upon himself to keep them in line.
And then the fateful concatenation of events: a shot fired, Rittenhouse whirls, a man runs forward throwing something at him, Rittenhouse shoots four times, and not at the fellow's leg. He tries to call someone -- probably 911 -- and then runs away.
The next sequences available show Rittenhouse still running, and lot of people are after him. But now it's different: Rittenhouse has just murdered a man and, to any impartial onlooker, seems to want to put plenty of pavement between himself and the crime. People bravely try to stop this rifle-toting youngster. One woman carrying her handbag runs up behind him and swats him in the head. Rittenhouse would have done well to shout that he was trying to turn himself in to the police up the street, but again that massive gun would have hurt his credibility.
And then the climax. Rittenhouse falls, and from a sitting position shoulders his gun. It is not clear to me that he gets a shot off. But no matter: a pursuer overruns him, knocking him backwards. Another guy -- not a pursuer -- runs up from behind him and whacks him with his skateboard. Rittenhouse is now lying prone on his back. If it had been me in that position, I would have grabbed the guy's leg, brought him down, and given back as good as I'd got. But Rittenhouse had his hands full -- of an automatic rifle, with his finger was on the trigger, the safety off and the bullets already bought and paid for. So he shot the man in the chest.
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