The lionization of Kyle Rittenhouse by the right

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A jury in Wisconsin found 18-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse not guilty on Friday for shooting and killing two men, and wounding a third, during the riots in Kenosha in the summer of 2020.

But well before he was acquitted on the five counts he faced, Rittenhouse had found absolution elsewhere. A wide swath of conservatives had turned his case into an example of a social justice system run amok and Rittenhouse himself into an avatar of Second Amendment virtuosity. They treated the trial outcome as vindication, perhaps divine.

“This case has veins that go to every major political issue and contemporary political issue that we are facing as a nation right now,” said a spokesperson for the Rittenhouse family outside the courthouse in Wisconsin. “We are not going anywhere.”

Since Rittenhouse’s arrest, legal defense funds have been formed in his name, right-wing commentators have

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