I received an email yesterday from an unknown person who read my previous blog post, “If Rittenhouse Walks, America Burns.” Calling me a “degenerate jew,” this individual gloated that they would soon send “Kyle” to “take out the trash again.”
This response proved my argument. The Rittenhouse case has become a “cause” celebrated by the vast fascist movement that has arisen in America over the past six-and-a-half years, which is why they contributed $2 million to the legal defense, and why the defendant reportedly hung out with back-slapping Proud Boys. Now that he has been acquitted, the MAGA fascists see their position as completely vindicated. At least in their powerful and influential view, any armed, right-wing individual who so wishes may gun down as many left-wing protestors he wants, expect not to be charged with any crime regardless of the circumstances, and in fact be celebrated as a hero and become rich and famous overnight.
What I was concerned with in my previous post, and what I am concerned with here, is the probable sociopolitical effect of this acquittal. It is true that by successfully narrowing the focus to the immediate circumstances of the shooting, and Rittenhouse’s stated perception that his life was at risk, the defense won its self-defense claim, and this claim is defensible on legal grounds; therefore, so is the acquittal. The trouble is that Rittenhouse now goes on to a life of fame and fortune as a fascist hero. Now that he’s a legal adult, admirers will offer him a complete armory of weapons, enough to outfit an entire platoon in saner countries. Someone will probably ghostwrite a bestselling book for him, warning of the danger of “antifa” and Black Lives Matter and exhorting all right-thinking Americans to arm themselves against these supposed menaces as Kyle the Hero did, and go a-hunting for “trash.” Many of the readers will need little prompting. Rittenhouse can run for political office, and in many places in America, he would win in a landslide.
How much Rittenhouse chooses to exploit these Faustian opportunities will speak volumes about who he really is, as a person. Will he publicly dance on his victims’ graves and make millions of dollars off it, or will he withdraw from the public spotlight because, you know, he actually did kill two people and now feels remorse over it? Which path he personally takes may make a difference to how much of an incentive his actions create for further bloodshed.
But have no doubt of this: there will be further blood shed by the myriads of inflamed and heavily armed American fascists . A hard rain is falling in this country. There will be blood on the streets, again and again.