There was a question that came to my mind during the Kyle Rittenhouse trial. “What makes a 17-year-old suburban boy, contrary to all good sense, pick up an AR-15 and motivate him to throw himself into dangerously intense anxiety in a city miles away? “
My manga, published in Palm Beach Daily News in March 2018, may shed some light. It downplayed President Trump’s boy’s rhetoric, gun lobby, and political rights shortly after the shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
At the time, MSD students were protesting the lack of gun control and enforcement, which led to a flood of military assault weapons in the public sphere.
Political rights and gun lobbying have been pushed back. President Trump characteristically distracted the issue by bullying the sheriff’s adjutant, who chose to wait for a backup, rather than just confronting armed shooters. The NRA followed a regular playbook and expressed concern about the confiscation of government guns. And right-wing politicians repeatedly argued that armed teachers were the solution. Unfortunately, our leaders often promote more appropriate stories in comic books.
I’m not very good at distinguishing between fantasy and reality these days because of dishonest politics, reckless social media, and news media crazy about Clickbait headlines.
But if you think about it, we have long celebrated the fantasy heroes who are personally suffering in the Crusades for justice. It has been a consistent theme in Westerns, pulp fiction, comics and movies. Many beloved fictional heroes, from the Lone Ranger to Batman, have been cut from this cloth. The criminal noir genre has many PIs, amendments, and cops, such as Dirty Harry, who hold grudges and swear by their ruthless moral norms because they are convinced that the law is hampered by the rules of justice. increase.
Perhaps this heritage, coupled with the confusing message of our time, normalizes the idea that patriotism and morality require absolute individualism and contrarian idealism.
Rittenhaus and the three men attempted to kill Amado Arbury in Georgia, but apparently considered themselves right. But they were textbook vigilants. And a look at the actual history of American vigilantism quickly reveals that it has been overwhelmingly used for ethnic oppression during the various waves of quarantine and immigration. There is nothing right in it.
Maybe my cartoon featuring a deceived superhero sheds light on something that motivates people like Kyle Rittenhouse. But it raises another issue. What do we want from America in the future? Or a celebration of devoted citizens such as police officers, firefighters, military personnel, health workers, teachers — who is active in the public interest?
The choice is ours. And that’s important.
This article was originally published in Palm Beach Daily News. Mangaism: Vigilantism inspired by cartoon heroes rampant in these times