The Rittenhouse shootings took place on the third day of rioting in Kenosha. Authorities, including the Governor, had little or no interest in intervening. Police and National Guardsmen had been pulled back while rioters burned, vandalized and destroyed large swaths of the city. And a volatile, mentally ill sex offender had been released from a hospital earlier that day.
None of the shootings by Kyle Rittenhouse would have occurred if Joseph Rosenbaum hadn’t behaved in a deranged manner. Presumably, Rosenbaum would have done better if he had taken his medication, but he couldn’t get his prescriptions filled because the pharmacy was boarded up — closed, because of the riots.
I’m reading more about his condition — here, in The Washington Post — and I see that the plastic bag he threw at Rittenhouse was a small collection of items — deodorant, underwear, socks — that the hospital had given him when he was discharged after a suicide attempt. That’s what he had (and lamely threw at Rittenhouse).
What he lacked was his drugs: “Hours after he was released from the hospital, Rosenbaum stopped by a pharmacy in Kenosha to pick up medication for his bipolar disorder, only to discover that it had closed early because of the unrest.”
They released a mentally ill man into a chaotic city with a prescription for medication that he could not fill. A suicidal man proceeded to get himself killed at the hands of Rittenhouse and to unleash the ill-fated rush to stop Rittenhouse. There are immense and unknowable costs to letting a city decline into chaos.