Kyle Rittenhouse as victim

Kyle Rittenhouse is seventeen years old and has just killed two men in Kenosha and injured a third.  He is not entitled to buy a gun of any kind since he is not eighteen. However, someone over twenty-one can buy a gun. It seems possible that Kyle’s mother bought the semi-automatic weapon for him.

Rittenhouse was very interested in the police. There’s a picture on Facebook of him with the logo “Blue Lives Matter”. He was also in the local police cadet department.

Rittenhouse lives some distance from Kenosha and the belief is that he was driven to Kenosha by his mother, along with his semi-automatic rifle. The police in Kenosha appear to have welcomed the support of people like Rittenhouse, who claim they were there to protect buildings.

There is some dispute as to how Rittenhouse came to shoot dead the two protestors that he did. President Trump claims he was attacked by a mob and was very lucky to be alive.

Fox News host Tucker Carlson supports that view:

So are we really surprised that looting and arson accelerated to murder? How shocked are we that 17-year-olds with rifles decided they had to maintain order when no one else would?”

CNN sees things differently:  An innocent black guy is killed by police and Tucker Carlson calls him a thug. A guilty white guy murders two people and Tucker Carlson calls him a patriot,” commentator Keith Boykin said in a tweet. The New York Times journalist Nicole Hannah-Jones agrees : “He just justified murder” was her tweet.

We don’t know if Rittenhouse feared for his life when he opened up on a crowd of protesters, killing two of them. The US president and the Fox News commentator  see him as a courageous young man threatened by a mob. The CNN commentator and the New York Times journalist insist that Rittenhouse is guilty of murder.

It seems highly irresponsible for anyone – including President Trump  – to offer their interpretations, when Rittenhouse faces a trial for murder. Don’t they have a law in the US forbidding such commentary on a pending case?

Whatever the outcome of the Rittenhouse shooting, it tells us something about the state of the US when a semi-automatic rifle is bought for a seventeen-year-old – presumably by his mother – and is driven some forty miles or more with this weapon – presumably by his mother. This ‘Right to bear arms’ insistence has the making of a US version of our  Troubles: a man is killed by the police, there are demonstrations and protests, several protestors are killed, young and not-so-young men walk around with semi-automatic weapons and claim they are supporting the police and/or protecting property.

At the beginning of peace talks, David Ervine told chairman Senator David Mitchell that he must understand in starting out that there are people in the north of Ireland who would travel a hundred miles, so they could be outraged.  Something similar is happening in the US, and just as here, the law-and-order crack-down so beloved of Donald Trump will almost certainly make things worse.

Meanwhile, seventeen-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse is a victim of the gospel of division and hatred. He dismissed the Black Lives Matter and elevated those who are taking black lives to the rank of heroes.

Donald Trump visited Kenosha but didn’t visit the relatives of Jacob Blake, the black man shot multiple times in the back by a police officer. Donald Trump is responsible for encouraging the likes of Kyle Rittenhouse to see themselves as brave citizens. The truth is they are gullible pawns in Trump’s plan to get re-elected in two months’ time.

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