In Kenosha, Wisconsin, the situation has escalated in the wake of the police shooting of Jacob Blake, which left the Black father paralyzed. White supremacist militias, organizing as the “Kenosha Guard,” arrived from all over the Midwest on August 25, under the guise of protecting property.
Around midnight on Aug. 25, 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, a resident of Illinois who had traveled to Kenosha with an illegal firearm, shot three people, two fatally. Rittenhouse shot the first victim in the head on the property of a used car lot that was already a total loss. In an earlier report, the owner of the car lot stated that despite taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses, “if it actually gets justice, sure burn it 20 times.”
Rittenhouse calmly approached the victim and looked down at him as others in the area scrambled to save his life. The shooter then got on his phone and, as he ran past the streamer recording the scene, audibly stated, “I just killed someone.” Another stream picked him up just a few seconds later, running down the street as people yelled after him that he was the shooter, that he killed somebody and to stop him. Several heroic individuals attempted to disarm and apprehend Rittenhouse, knocking him to the ground. However, with his semi-automatic rifle, he was able to shoot two more people, killing a second person in the process and seriously wounding a third. Getting up, he fired dozens of rounds into the air and at surrounding houses before walking away. In the video, one can see a line of Kenosha police and armored vehicles approaching the scene. Rittenhouse walks toward them, as if to surrender but, despite being vocally identified to police as the shooter, he was told to go home.
The stark difference between the treatment of Jacob Blake, a Black man who had committed no crime and a white man who had just killed two people is an astoundingly accurate microcosm of the deferential treatment white people receive by state security forces, even when armed and dangerous.
All progressive and revolutionary people should condemn the attempted murder of Jacob Blake by Kenosha Police, as well as the violent repression of protesters and the white nationalist militias that flocked to Kenosha to perpetrate violence. All progressive and revolutionary people should condemn Kyle Rittenhouse for the killings of Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum, as well as for shooting Gaige Grosskreutz.
Protests will continue in Kenosha and across the country, and the people of Southeastern Wisconsin will continue to demand justice for those that have been maimed and lost their lives at the hands of police and white supremacist terror.