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Rittenhouse Vs. His Enemies

Pedophile Joseph Rosenbaum taunts someone with a gun on the night he was shot to death (Source)

You know Joseph Rosenbaum, the first person Kyle Rittenhouse allegedly shot at the riot in Kenosha? You’ll recall him as the hothead taunting armed people in this clip.

Turns out he was a real-life monster: a convicted rapist of little boys. Look:

A presentence report reveals that Rosenbaum committed a range of sex crimes against several boys from the ages of nine to eleven years old, including outright rape.

I’m not going to post excerpts from the court documents describing his crimes; follow that link if you want to see them. I’m not going to say that Rosenbaum deserved to die. Rosenbaum’s criminal record has nothing to do with what happened to him; we don’t absolve people of shooting to death people who happen to have been evil at one point in their lives. [deleted line — see note below]. I hope the children he raped understand that they no longer have to be afraid that he walks the earth a free man.

Esther O’Reilly, an Evangelical writer, has had just about enough of people trashing Kyle Rittenhouse. She says, on her Patheos blog:

That honor would go to The Gospel Coalition, for this shameful attack piece run on August 29th, titled “Why I Hate August.” The author, K. Edward Copeland, goes through a compare/contrast of Kyle’s case and the case of Jacob Blake (on which more details have emerged just since the piece ran, and which is far from as simplistic as first knee-jerk reactions made it sound). He contrasts Blake’s shooting with the fact that Rittenhouse was ignored by police on the night of the incident and went home despite making an attempt to turn himself in. Supposedly, this proves systemic bias against “black and brown bodies.” In the course of drawing this contrast, without batting an eye, he outrageously lumps Kyle with other “armed mass shooters” like Dylan Roof. To be clear, we are talking about deranged killers who stormed peaceful public gatherings with the express intent of murdering as many innocent people as possible. This is the company Rittenhouse apparently keeps in the mind of K. Edward Copeland.

That any major outlet would run a bit of slander like this is sad, but at this point in the devolution of our country’s journalistic class, it’s only to be expected from most mainstream sources. But for a major Christian news outlet to run it is shocking. It is unconscionable. It violates not only the basic standards of journalistic integrity, but Christian standards for love of truth and of neighbor. At this point, I am sorry to say that it is clear The Gospel Coalition is giving free rein to its minority voices to vent in whatever manner they please, merely because they are minority voices. Running this piece was the equivalent of running a piece by a white author flirting with alt-right ideology while venting his resentment at feeling shamed for his white skin—which will never happen, nor should it. I merely note the blatant double standard.

She thinks the shootings were justified. More:

Some have cautioned against turning Rittenhouse into a conservative folk hero. I have no desire to do this. I don’t wish to canonize him or make him a mascot. But perhaps I am angry because Kyle reminds me of young guys I know. Good guys. Guys from my own hometown. Guys who, yes, support the police and plan to vote for Trump. Get over it. Perhaps I’m angry because I look at Kyle and I think that could easily have been one of them.

Kyle Rittenhouse decided not to keep walking. For that, I say good on him. And I don’t particularly care who hears it.

Read it all. 

Eric Zorn, a liberal Chicago Tribune columnist, says that Rittenhouse is going to go free. More:

According to prosecutors, video from the scene and witness accounts, the legally relevant portion of the story picked up a little before midnight: For unknown reasons, Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, of Kenosha, who had earlier been yelling angrily at the armed men who had come to the protests, was at a run, chasing Rittenhouse along Sheridan Road and into the parking lot of a used-car dealer.

When Rosenbaum, who was unarmed, finally cornered Rittenhouse, he grabbed for the teenager’s gun. Multiple shots rang out, and Rosenbaum fell, mortally wounded.

Did Rittenhouse have a reasonable belief under the circumstances that if Rosenbaum got his gun he would suffer death or great bodily harm? Jurors in Wisconsin are instructed that “reasonable” means “what a person of ordinary intelligence and prudence would have believed … under the circumstances that existed at the time.”

Tensions were high late into the protests against the police shooting of Jacob Blake two days earlier. Gunshots from other weapons were heard immediately before and after the shots that killed Rosenbaum. Whether you think Rittenhouse is a hero for helping to guard against a repeat of the vandalism the night before, or if you think he’s a reckless wannabe cop who had no business in Kenosha, you’ve got to concede that, at that moment, he was probably terrified.

This is the first I’ve seen details about the encounter between Rosenbaum and Rittenhouse. I agree with Zorn, who points out too that Anthony Huber, the skateboarder shot to death by Rittenhouse, had attacked a fallen Rittenhouse and hit him with his skateboard. It turns out, according to the law professor Zorn interviewed, that Rittenhouse’s shooting and wounding Grosskreutz, the guy approaching him with a gun in his hand, is going to be the most problematic for the kid, because Grosskreutz was not pointing his gun at Rittenhouse. But as Zorn — who says Kyle should not have been out there with a gun — acknowledges, in that circumstance, it was reasonable for Rittenhouse to fear for his life.

That’s why Rittenhouse will not be convicted, predicts this liberal columnist. Read it all. 

Unlike Esther O’Reilly, I wish Rittenhouse had not been out there that night. But like her, I hope Rittenhouse is not convicted. Like her, I believe that that TGC essay comparing him to Dylann Roof was contemptible. And like her, the more antifa and other BLM goons burn and loot and beat up cops, the more immune I become to bleeding-heart whinging about what a monster Kyle Rittenhouse is. This country would be better off with more Kyle Rittenhouses and fewer Joseph Rosenbaums.

UPDATE: I took out a line about Rosenbaum above, having thought better of it. I believe that child abusers are the scum of the earth, so I got really hot when I read the details of what he did to those kids. That said, it is important not to let the viciousness of people like him turn us vicious. I took the line out. I apologize to you for writing it.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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