Kyle Rittenhouse—the teenager from Antioch, Illinois, who was arrested and charged with first-degree murder in connection with the fatal shooting of two people and the injury of a third during civil unrest in Kenosha, Wis., on August 25—said in his first interview since his arrest that he bought the assault rifle he used in the shootings with his coronavirus stimulus relief money. And all I can think about is all of the things I would have rather he bought.
The Washington Post recently conducted an examination of video and police records as well as other documents from the night of the Kenosha shooting for a report the Post published that focused in part on Rittenhouse’s mindset that night.
During Rittenhouse’s first time speaking publicly since his arrest, the teen vigilante told the Post that he “got my $1,200 from the coronavirus Illinois unemployment ’cause I was on furlough from YMCA and I got my first unemployment check so I was like, ‘Oh, I’ll use this to buy it.’”
Here are just a few things I wish he would have bought with his money instead of the gun he used to kill two people:
Listen: I’m not a psychologist and I’m not claiming that Rittenhouse suffers from some kind of mental illness; I’m just saying that when a teenager is obsessed with guns, law enforcement and, apparently, vigilante justice, maybe he could benefit from talking to someone outside of his immediate family and community.
Rittenhouse didn’t only go to Kenosha to play fake Wyatt Earp and protect the town’s people from rioters and looters; he also went to help damaged and destroyed businesses clean up after the chaos. He told the Post that he spoke to the owners of businesses like Car Source, a used car dealership that had been severely damaged on the first night of Kenosha protests.
“I said, ‘Hey if you need anything let us know. I gave him my phone number.”
You know what I wish Rittenhouse would have offered these businesses? $1,200 worth of stimulus money not spent on a Smith & Wesson M&P-15 rifle so it could be used to start the rebuilding process of business owners’ ravaged establishments.
I know, I know: Money can’t buy everything. But in a perfect world, Rittenhouse could have used his money to woo new friends who wouldn’t be enablers of his disturbing behavior and apparent delusions. (Rittenhouse told the Post that he didn’t regret the shooting and that he probably “would have died” if he didn’t have his rifle despite his victims being unarmed.)
The Root previously reported that Rittenhouse’s friend, Dominick David Black, was brought up on felony charges for allegedly buying Rittenhouse’s rifle for him since he was underaged and Black was 18 at the time. Black—who reportedly invited Rittenhouse to join him in Kenosha in the first place and drove him back across state lines after the shooting—admitted to investigators that he knew Rittenhouse was underaged and that he didn’t feel right about giving him the gun but Rittenhouse “would have thrown a fit” if he didn’t. (Which also takes us back to the whole therapy thing.)
It just would have been nice if the guy would have had someone in his life to say, “You know what? None of this seems right and it probably won’t end well.”
Wouldn’t it have been nice if Rittenhouse used his stimulus money for the thing it was meant for? He could have sat on it for a rainy day or helped his family pay bills or used it to eat or whatever until he found another job. What newly unemployed person gets a little bit of extra cash and thinks: “I might as well blow this shit on a big-ass gun?”
It might seem like I’m being flippant in coming up with this list of alternative uses for Rittenhouse’s money—and maybe I am. But the fact of the matter is, if Rittenhouse would have spent his $1,200 on any of the things I suggested, 36-year-old Joseph Rosenbaum and 26-year-old Anthony Huber would be alive today. 26-year-old Gaige Grosskreutz would not have been seriously injured and only property would have been destroyed on August 25, not lives.