October 27, 2021

What Kyle Rittenhouse & Alec Baldwin have in Common (Hint: it’s not what you Think).

 

Kyle Rittenhouse is charged with felony homicide, and Kenosha County Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder already said that the people shot can’t be called victims during the trial.

Schroeder claimed, “The word victim is a loaded, loaded word. And I think alleged victim is a cousin to it.”

Just let that sink in.

And if that wasn’t already enough controversy, he is fine with calling the two dead men looters, arsonists, and rioters. Unfortunately, we won’t be able to hear what these alleged looters have to say—because they aren’t alive anymore.

But we will get to hear the defense of Rittenhouse claiming that their client was defending himself. How is that fair?

I remember talking to a friend after the Rittenhouse incident. He tried to convince me that Rittenhouse did the right thing by killing these “two Antifa terrorists,” as he labelled them. I was shocked that someone would even try to establish this narrative.

I don’t deny that Rittenhouse must have been pretty scared that evening. But I also ask myself, what did he expect to happen?

Seriously, what drives someone to grab a riffle and show up at a protest? It’s one thing to disagree with a group of activists and another to threaten them with an AR-15.

Nobody asked Rittenhouse to show up at the protest that evening. Nobody asked him to bring a weapon. And nobody cared about his opinions on the Black Lives Matter movement. He was just a 17-year-old who could have minded his own business.

Maybe he felt entitled to act this way after spending too much time on social media. Maybe he really believed that it was his patriotic duty to show up that night? Maybe he is not the smartest teenager of all time.

Two men got killed and another severely injured. This was a tragedy that could have been avoided easily—just don’t bring an AR-15 to a protest.

At the same time, the exact same folks who defend Rittenhouse want to see Alec Baldwin go to jail after a tragic accident.

Baldwin didn’t know that he was handed a gun that could kill someone, while Rittenhouse purchased a weapon. Rittenhouse knew that showing up that night could put him in a dangerous situation, while Baldwin was literally just trying to do his job. And not to forget: Baldwin is sorry for what happened, while Rittenhouse doesn’t even acknowledge that it was his fault.

Again, I understand that Rittenhouse was scared when he was attacked with a skateboard, but does that justify using an AR-15? But is it possible that the activists who got killed were also scared because they saw a kid holding a rifle?

This is just one of many incidents that could have been avoided if it wasn’t so easy for a teenager to get his hands on a weapon.

As a European, I am shocked that folks are willing to go that far at a protest. Why would someone be willing to kill another human? Why does a 17-year-old feel entitled to stand up against a crowd that obviously doesn’t share his beliefs?

It’s almost cynical to tell Rittenhouse that he should have trusted the police to deal with this protest because we all know what started these protests. What an irony that both sides did not trust law enforcement. My biggest worry is that the Rittenhouse trial might lead to further violence.

It’s time to ask ourselves, “What kind of society tries to solve its conflicts with weapons? Aren’t we better than that?”

This is not about one teenager committing a crime or not; this is about how we solve our disagreements as a society. I don’t want to live in a world where folks are willing to kill another because of a disagreement.

Nobody should ever feel entitled to take justice into his or her own hands by using a weapon. Many of us agree that the police could do a better job in many cases, but that doesn’t automatically mean that we are asked to do their job.

Violence doesn’t solve any problems. Violence creates more violence. Violence causes victims.

Even if someone argues that Rittenhouse acted in a reasonable way, how could these folks argue that there are no victims in this case? Two men died. We are talking about homicide. Of course there are victims.

Every person killed by a gun is one person too many. But we can’t compare a tragic accident to an altercation based on political beliefs.

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In both cases, people died, but that’s all they have in common.

And both controversies have in common that social media turned this into another confrontation between Democrats and Republicans.

It’s not about Rittenhouse or Baldwin; it’s about folks on the internet trying to use tragic incidents to back up their biases—and that needs to stop immediately.

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