On the evening of August 25, 2020, the then 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse is in Kenosha, Wisconsin. He's walking, freely, on Sheridan Avenue, in downtown Kenosha. There he is in a photo with an AR-15, across his chest. At the ready. Rittenhouse is walking behind another white man similarly draped with an AR-15.
When I look on at a photo, I can just make out the familiar territory in the background. I've walked in that area countless times on my way to the library, a block away. When I walked those streets, I was conscious of the looks from residents living in upscale apartments, even though, not far from the library, there is a SRO building not far from the library.
Here's where a young man, several white men, apparently, walk about with AR-15s, among activists, allies, and supporters out protesting during COVID, mind you, are rightly angry over the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man. Blake, shot seven times, is currently paralyzed from the waist down" but the residents of Kenosha fear the protesters, asking for accountability.
A good many of the protesters are Black like Blake. They've come on the streets with thoughts of accountability.
Rittenhouse arrives in Kenosha from Antioch, Illinois to protect the businesses in the area. Like the police, who offer him water! When asked why shot dead two white men and injured another, Rittenhouse, almost in tears, claimed he did so in "self-defense."
Rittenhouse was acquitted, and he is hero. Rusten Shesky, the white police officer protecting himself from the Black man who, he believed, was reaching for a knife, like Rittenhouse, isn't charged with a crime.
On the other hand, in the court of public opinion, the villains are the protesters. Black Lives Matter protesters, for they "d estroy ed " downtown Kenosha .
The other day, t he Black woman cable news host mentions an article she had read about the job of the police. They aren't about protecting and serving! As a Black woman in my generation, I know this. We used to say this to older adults and received those same looks of disbelief. How could we have raised such a radical child look! But during the late sixties and early seventies, young people could see who was being beaten up and arrested for the least little thing.
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