Kenosha Gunman Should’ve Finished Police Academy Before Shooting People
Jacob Blake is paralyzed, perhaps for life, after a police officer's bullet severed his spine. Protests and unrest are continuing in Kenosha, Wisconsin, but now more blood has been shed. A small man with a big gun shot someone in the head, another in the chest, and a third in the arm, before fleeing the scene. Two of the victims are dead.
From the Washington Post:
Shots were fired around 11:45 p.m. Tuesday, police said. After the first shots, a young White man carrying a rifle began running north on Sheridan Road, away from a crowd of protesters. Video shows the armed man fall to the ground and then fire multiple rounds into the crowd. Two more people fell to the ground, one shot in the arm and the other in the chest, the Journal Sentinel reported. Another graphic video shows a man with blood running down the back of his neck and bystanders shouting that he had been shot in the head.
The shooter was identified as 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse of Antioch, Illinois. Unlike the officer who shot Blake, Rittenhouse was arrested Wednesday and charged with first-degree intentional homicide. The teen was reportedly standing guard over a car dealership with members of the far-right extremist Boogaloo movement.
Naturally, rightwingers on Twitter are thrilled. For them, Car Lives Matter but not Black ones.
BREAKING: RIOTER HAS BEEN SHOT IN THE HEAD https://t.co/l1NYqUYpD3— Drew Hernandez (@Drew Hernandez)1598417781.0
Hernandez stated that it "appears an armed citizen was defending the car dealership and opened fire on the rioter who was attempting to vandalize or burn the dealership down." He believes this was solid Second Amendment-ing, and others on his Twitter feed agreed. What other option did law-abiding citizens have? The problem is this wasn't self-defense. It was cold-blooded murder. Vandalism and property damage aren't capital offenses. There are no capital offenses in Wisconsin because the state has no death penalty. Arresting and prosecuting rioters and looters is the civilized option. Shooting them down in the street like it's a mob war is not acceptable.
The Boogaloo Boys aren't wannabe Punishers. Their primary goal is to provoke more racial violence that they think would eventually lead to another Civil War. It's very Helter Skelter. You'd presume law enforcement wouldn't support these guys, because of all the murder and insurrection, but that's not the case. They're like peas in a thin blue pod.
Cell phone footage shows Kenosha police canoodling with the Boogaloo crowd, including Rittenhouse. They gushed about how they “appreciate them being here." They even gave bottles of water to the armed vigilantes while protesters were ordered to disperse. (It was pretty hot in Kenosha last night. You can't have white supremacists getting parched.)
In another video, an armed man claims the police said they would drive protesters in their direction so they can "deal with them" and "then leave."
Here, a militia member says cops told them they would "push" the protestors towards them because they knew they cou… https://t.co/daf8YhXrmw— Rebecca Kavanagh (@Rebecca Kavanagh)1598429651.0
It's not a shock that cops would connect with far-right militia members. When Donald Trump was asked last week about QAnon, all that mattered to the so-called president was that the conspiracy kooks had said “nice things" about him. White supremacists love cops, especially the part where they brutalize Black people. All that love and devotion can make the cops forget that these guys are a domestic terror threat.
Rittenhouse, armed with that damn AR-15, was obsessed with cops. When he was younger (we mean younger than 17), he'd participated in one of those indoctrination programs the police have for kids. The Blue Lives Matter flag and insignia is plastered all over his Facebook. His Instagram account, now set to private, had a Blue Lives Matter backdrop. Despite his love of law enforcement, it doesn't appear that he possessed his death machine legally.
Trump and Republicans might insist that Joe Biden is responsible somehow for what's happening in Kenosha, but Trump is still president and he can only respond with more threats of violence and escalation. He once tweeted that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts." His audience was listening.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."