I feel a bit like how I did in Rome when I visited San Pietro in Vincoli. There was a huge line to see Michaelangelo’s Moses. It’s beautiful, and you should see it if you can.
But there was a shorter line, and it was the real reason the Lovely Doreen and I went to the church. As my wife and I laughed at the time, “Hey everybody, the chains which actually held St. Peter are over here! No, really, the important thing is over here!”
Michelle Malkin’s appearance at the Waukesha County Republican Women event has been overshadowed by the mother of Kyle Rittenhouse receiving a standing ovation from attendees. I do deal with the Malkin question at length in an upcoming piece for The Bulwark.
However, we do have to address the Rittenhouse issue, especially given the attention it’s already received. Let’s be blunt. That 17-year-old kid is not a hero. He was a vigilante.
Rittenhouse, who was not native to Kenosha, traveled across state lines to confront the protesters/rioters with a rifle. He did not belong there. He had no law enforcement training. He had no military training. He was just a minor with a rifle.
Rittenhouse anticipated violence, he precipitated violence and he committed violence. Self-defense or not, that shooting would not have occurred if he had stayed home. His poor decision led to two deaths and the wounding of a third person. He may be acquitted, but the blood spilled is still his fault.
The praise he is receiving from some quarters of the political right is wholly undeserved and actually quite disturbing. I suspect it’s partly coming from people with guns with fantasies of their own about playing cowboy and stopping the bad guys. But some of it is born of the anger from the inaction of Governor Tony Evers to prevent the riots.
I understand the anger, but it doesn’t excuse sending untrained men with guns from outside of Kenosha into a situation that calls for law enforcement, not vigilantism or civil war cosplay. We’re lucky more people weren’t killed that night in Kenosha.
But Rittenhouse is not the only one who made poor decisions that day. When his mother, Wendy Rittenhouse, drove him to Kenosha, what was she thinking? She was placing her underage, unprepared son directly into harm’s way. She’s lucky that she’s not planning a funeral for him instead of hoping he doesn’t spend the rest of his life in prison.
Instead of a standing ovation, such as Wendy Rittenhouse received at the Republican Women of Waukesha County event, she should be condemned as a terrible mother. Her decisions led directly to those two deaths and the wounding of the third person. Don’t praise her. Ask her to consider how she caused two other mothers to bury their children after that night.
Unfortunately, Rittenhouse’s mother is not the only one who let him and the community down. He was also betrayed by the people whose charge it is to “protect and to serve,” the Kenosha police and sheriff departments. When they saw that 17-year-old in a baseball cap carrying a rifle almost as big as the kid himself, did they send him home? Did one of them tell him to get off the streets before he hurt himself or someone else?
For that matter, did Kenosha law enforcement tell anyone in the self-described “militia” to go home? No, the officers gave the vigilantes water and thanked them for being there. The result was all too predictable.
None of this excuses the responsibility of the rioters themselves, or even the failures of Evers to help bring the situation in Kenosha under control.
But there are two people dead and a third person permanently maimed because supposedly responsible let a 17-year-old kid roam the streets of Kenosha with a rifle during the riots.
I don’t see any heroes here.