Kyle Rittenhouse is an American Frankenstein.
I’m not saying he’s actually a monster. I don’t know the kid and I don’t know what was in his heart the night he killed two people and wounded one other. I do believe in our system of jurisprudence. Many social media lawyers are screaming about racism, vigilantism, heroism, gun rights, etc. These are all narrative templates. From what little I know of the trial, it sounds to me as if prosecutorial ineptness and overzealousness played more of a role in his acquittal than any other factor.
I believe that the phenomenon of Kyle Rittenhouse is an American Frankenstein. He may have had youthful romantic notions about getting a gun and defending a community, but shit got real when progressive politicians, activists and a sympathetic media established a permission structure for mobs to go forth into the streets and commit violence in the name of justice. That collective mob serves as a blind, heedless juggernaut that gives no thought to consequences or reactionary forces that manifest themselves as an impulsive 17-year-old boy with an AR-15.
I am certainly open to the notion that said mob was born out of police brutality, but even so, reckless, destructive ideas such as “defund the police” only served as fuel for the street juggernauts to grow in size and scope. That is a primary reason why no cops were available to defuse the situation between Kyle and his pursuers.
An additional factor in the chaos of 2020 was Donald Trump. He is another American Frankenstein.
Republicans are celebrating recent and unexpected electoral victories in Virginia and New Jersey. Many pundits are confident of a massive red wave that will reclaim legislative sanity across the country next November. But Trump, fueled by his own insatiable pride and an incessant need for political pugilism, may have other plans. His role in the upcoming midterm elections will be dictated, not by any sense of constructive social cohesion, but by which candidate demonstrates the proper fealty to him. Regional electability will play no part in Trump’s discernment.
Trump is the monster that his voters created. His actions in Georgia in December of 2020 are the reason why Congress just passed a 1.2 billion dollar spending package that will only fuel inflation. You want to cast stones at Congressman Don Bacon? Why not the man who insured a Democratic senatorial majority?
A lot of the people who put Trump in office and who would like to see him returned there are the same folks who label Kyle Rittenhouse as a hero. Kyle is not a hero. Nor is he a villain. Like Victor Frankenstein’s creation, he is a tragic figure, too young and stupid to understand that his rash actions on August 25, 2020 will, for better or worse, likely brand him for the rest of his life. It is sad to behold, and sadder still that so many people are too busy clinging to their own hot takes to exercise the appropriate compassion for a soul that is very likely damned.
Whatever the case, we can only be sure of one thing in the next year. More American Frankensteins will be coming.