Kenosha’s Kyle Rittenhouse: Scapegoat or Patriot?

By John Zmirak Published on August 27, 2020

As we watch armed political gangs take over our cities, with the connivance of many governors and mayors, we see the media focusing instead on a single scapegoat. His name is Kyle Rittenhouse, and he is 17. Stories are churning out of the media apparat vilifying a young man who joined some armed citizens trying to defend Kenosha, Wisconsin businesses from looters. Those looters used the pretext of the police shooting of Jacob Blake earlier this week.

Apparently facing a mob that was trying to burn down a gas station, Rittenhouse warned them to stop. A large group rushed him, and he ran away, then tripped. The attackers pounced, one of them trying to club the young man with a skateboard while he was down. So he shot all three attackers. Two of them died. One of those, it appears, was a convicted sex offender.

Here’s the long form of the video that has been circulating online:


A horrible incident. The kind of thing that shouldn’t be happening in our country’s streets. But which party’s fault is that? Why isn’t the City of Kenosha, Wisconsin, under police control? Why are senior citizens who try to protect their property with mere fire extinguishers getting beaten down in the street?

Maybe my account of this isn’t perfect. I’ve pieced it together from online video and witness accounts. For a left-wing take on the incident, see’s. For a right-wing account, see this story from The Nationalist Review. (I can’t vouch for the editorial stances of either publication, of course.) The Blaze just published a video showing one of the rioters Rittenhouse shot charging at him.

Does That Look Like First Degree Murder to You?

Let me pose the crucial queston: You watched that video. Does that look like First Degree Murder to you? That’s what the local prosecutor is charging Kyle Rittenhouse with.

That’s the most severe charge on the books. It’s what you charge when someone carefully, with premeditation, stalks his ex-wife for months and slowly poisons her. How did prosecutors decide that a teenager who — in the moment, swamped by angry rioters — shoots at those attacking him, deserves the same charge as Lee Harvey Oswald would have faced?

Making an Example

Easy: It’s politics. If the McCloskeys in St. Louis can face felony charges for showing their weapons on their own front lawn, then Rittenhouse really must be made an example of. Lest Americans think him perhaps … a hero. Here’s an interview Rittenhouse conducted before going into action:


Media won’t air that clip, however. Nor will they report that Kyle is a trained EMT, who actually offered to help injured (left-wing) activists, before some others attacked him. Instead, they’ll keep up the pretense that “peaceful protesters” were singled out by some deranged white lone wolf. To maintain that fiction, they won’t show you images like this one, of such a protester pointing a loaded gun at a reporter from The Blaze:

The Democrats’ Gang Runs the Streets

The Democrats have decided to let one political faction run free in the streets, destroying and menacing as they like. Then they go on TV (as Michelle Obama did) and threaten us that if we don’t vote their way in November, the riots will get much worse.

That protection-racket platform falls apart, however, if Americans push back. Democrats can tie the cops’ hands, and let Antifa and Black Lives Matter terrorize neighborhoods all through the November election, hoping that we’ll be too scared to leave our homes, or vote against them.

The Democrats have decided to let one political faction run free in the streets, destroying and menacing as they like. Then they go on TV (as Michelle Obama did) and threaten us that if we don’t vote their way in November, the riots will get much worse.

But that terror tactic stops working if Americans organize into citizens militias, and rout the political gangs using force. Mobs of BLM thugs wouldn’t dare harass people eating dinner outside in Dallas, Texas — because citizens here still enjoy their constitutional right to defend themselves. But in a city picked clean of law-abiding gunowners like Washington, D.C., it’s a free for all. While the cops fume back in the headquarters, the political squads run the streets. The way they do in Havana, Cuba and Caracas, Venezuela.

Meanwhile, the thousands of arsonists and looters who are burning down blue cities run free. Across the country, Democrat mayors and prosecutors have released hundreds of looters charged with assault and vandalism without bail, on their own recognizance. They are, you see, on the “right side” of the conflict.

The Democrat Playbook, from the Old Lynching Days

It might help to think of historical precedents for this situation. In the U.S., we’d think back to when the Ku Klux Klan led racist mobs to burn down thriving black neighborhoods, lynch “uppity negroes,” or terrorize would-be voters for pro-black Republican candidates.

Democrat sheriffs and mayors winked at these abuses, since the Klan served as the de facto armed wing of their party. Democrat senators filibustered anti-lynching laws that would have put such violence under federal jurisdiction. It took massive federal intervention, in the wake of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights acts, to shatter such petty tyrannies and give black Americans full civil rights.

It Worked for the IRA

Looking east, we think of how the Irish Republican Army served as the armed wing of the Marxist Sinn Fein party in Northern Ireland. The men in coats and ties kept a little distance, just enough for plausible deniability, from the killers in ski masks. But they coordinated their efforts, and never attacked each other. Just as today Democrats won’t say a harsh word about Black Lives Matter or Antifa, and BLM’s website sends would-be contributors to the Democrats’ donation page.

Antifa Studied the Nazi Brownshirt Playbook

But we must look even further back in history to really get what’s happening. Antifa traces its origins back to the street wars of the Weimar Republic. Two intolerant socialist factions fought for power, and terrorized everyone else. The German Communist Party fielded Antifa as its street-fighting wing. The National Socialist German Workers Party (Nazis), fielded the Sturmabteilung (the brown-shirted S.A.). Both were equally violent, and touted interchangeably totalitarian goals. (Stalin was conducting ethnic genocides in Russia while Hitler still handed out pamphlets, as you can read in Timothy Snyder’s Bloodlands.)

The Communists claimed to represent all workers, and got cash and support from the Soviet Union. So why did the Nazis win the day instead? How did a party that never got more than 30% of the vote in free elections gain total power, and manage to outlaw the parties representing the other 70%?

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Surely Antifa has been pondering the lessons of its defeat for the past 90 years. Remember, this is the same organization, as if the Nazi S.A. had existed continuously in some form since 1933. In all those decades of sulking, Antifa seems to have learned from its old mistakes, and internalized the S.A.’s winning playbook.

How Do Fringe Movements Take Power?

I’ve studied this period for many years. Back in 2000, I wrote the first book in English on Wilhelm Röpke, the first professor in Germany to be fired by the Nazis for refusing to toe their line. Recently I’ve pored over two books that focus on the role of political gangs in the struggle for power after 1918: The Vanquished: Why the First World War Failed to End, and The Death of Democracy: Hitler’s Rise to Power and the Downfall of the Weimar Republic.

Each book struggles to understand how vicious extremists, like the Bolsheviks in Russia and the Nazis in Germany, managed to seize power. This even though the vast majority of the population opposed large parts of their programs. (Just as black Americans and white, by huge majorities, now oppose disbanding police, or abolishing the nuclear family, as Black Lives Matter demands.)

The answer is grim, and clear, and it’s one that Antifa and Black Lives Matter seem to have learned. The extremists who can keep the public authorities on their side will come out on top. In Russia, the Bolsheviks quickly established political police, the NKVD, who’d use violent force to root out destroy all opposition — killing tens of thousands of priests, professors, moderates, and small business owners or farmers.

In Germany, the Nazis counted on the collusion of right-wing, nationalist mayors and prosecutors. When Nazis and Communists clashed in the streets, the police would make arrests — but they’d throw the book at the leftists, and give the Nazis slaps on the wrist. Adolf Hitler should have been shot up against a wall for treason after the Beer Hall Putsch. Instead a sympathetic judge gave him a two-year sentence in a cozy cell with a typewriter. On it, he wrote Mein Kampf, and emerged from prison to enter politics.

Antifa has learned from its past. It has learned to ape its old competitors. Will our dithering Weimar regime let them follow that Nazi playbook into power?

It’s tragic that there was no chance for sane, patriotic Germans who opposed all the extremists to form their own moderate militias, and stop either group of zealots from stealing their country. But their well-meaning liberal government had already seized most of their guns.

Pray for everyone involved here, and for our beloved country.

UPDATE: The New York Times has reported that Mr. Rittenhouse did not fire the first shot in the exchange, but returned fire.


John Zmirak is a senior editor at The Stream, and author or co-author of ten books, including The Politically Incorrect Guide to Immigration and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Catholicism. He is co-author with Jason Jones of “God, Guns, & the Government.”

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