Kyle Rittenhouse is not a hero for his actions on the night of August 25, 2020. Those events are a tragedy all around. The taking of human life, even when done in self-defense and against a less-than-stellar citizen, should never be treated lightly.
Kyle Rittenhouse may, however, be a hero of a different sort, one whose heroism falls more under the domain of the First Amendment than the Second. By taking the stand and testifying at his trial, Rittenhouse showed the world the falsity of the narratives that had been set up around him, and in doing so did a service to us all.
One gets the sense that many of Rittenhouse’s detractors would have been happy if he really was a sullen, brooding school shooter type, one of Michael Kimmel’s “angry white men.” Instead, Rittenhouse had the audacity to show himself to be an ordinary and seemingly well-adjusted young man, and his refusal to conform to the allotted script is the source of much angst to some.
Rittenhouse’s testimony alone was impressive. Save for a few awkward stumbles, he bore up quite well under withering, and at times flagrantly disingenuous, prosecutorial cross-examination. This was made all the more remarkable by