Friday, 22 Sep 2023

Republicans glorify political violence by embracing extreme gun culture

Republicans glorify political violence by embracing extreme gun culture


Republicans glorify political violence by embracing extreme gun culture

Republicans in Idaho have been criticized for "glorifying political violence" after the party hosted Kyle Rittenhouse, the American who shot and killed two people at an anti-racism protest and injured another, as a celebrity guest at a fundraiser.

The 20-year-old was the guest of honor at a Bonneville county Republican party event, in Idaho Falls, Idaho, on 15 April, where an AR-15 style rifle signed by Rittenhouse was auctioned off as part of a fundraiser and people could buy tickets to "Trigger time": a Rittenhouse-hosted shooting event at a gun range.

The event, amid a prolonged spate of mass shootings - many conducted with AR-15s - suggests a further embrace by Republicans of the most extreme elements of the gun lobby in the US, despite polls showing a majority of Americans, across party affiliation, supporting some gun control laws.

Rittenhouse was 17 years old when he traveled to Kenosha, Wisconsin, from his home in Illinois, armed with an assault-style rifle, in August 2020. Black Lives Matter protests had been taking place in the city after Jacob Blake, an unarmed Black man, was shot seven times in the back by a white police officer, leaving Blake partially paralyzed.

Rittenhouse joined other armed men acting as a self-described militia and roamed the city, before killing Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, and wounding Gaige Grosskreutz, 27.

In a speech to the Bonneville county Republicans, Rittenhouse complained that he faces "ridicule on a daily basis" since he killed Rosenbaum and Huber. He was found not guilty of homicide in November 2021.

The now 20-year-old Rittenhouse, who told the crowd in Idaho that the government was seeking to "take our guns" and "take the rest of our freedoms", has become a darling of the far right since the shooting, appearing on Fox News and other rightwing media.

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