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The Kenosha Kid

Kyle Rittenhouse wears a T-shirt and backwards baseball hat with an assault rifle strapped across his chest. He walks behind another armed man. It's night time and a crowd can be seen behind them.
Adam Rogan
/
The Journal Times via AP
Kyle Rittenhouse, left, with backwards cap, walks along Sheridan Road in Kenosha, Wis., Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020, with another armed civilian. Prosecutors on Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020 charged Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old from Illinois in the fatal shooting of two protesters and the wounding of a third in Kenosha, Wisconsin, during a night of unrest following the weekend police shooting of Jacob Blake.

The Kyle Rittenhouse murder trial captured militias’ attention like no other criminal case in recent memory.

For them, Rittenhouse embodied the way they see themselves: protectors, keeping their communities from anarchy at the end of a rifle. His acquittal was seen as vindication for them and a green light to continue self-styled armed security.

That worries a lot of people. But what’s more worrisome is the celebration of the killings at the heart of the case. The country is starting to get more comfortable with political violence and the Rittenhouse case might be just the beginning.