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AP suggests Rittenhouse defense using ‘crazy’ and ‘irrational’ to describe dead protestor hurts mentally ill people

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The Kyle Rittenhouse trial has once again grabbed headlines because the Associated Press thinks it’s mean to call Kenosha protestor Joseph Rosenbaum’s behavior leading up to his death ‘crazy’ and ‘irrational.’

The news organization claimed that Rittenhouse’s defense stigmatized all mentally ill people with their characterization of Rosenbaum, who was allegedly trying to take Rittenhouse’s rifle the night he was killed. They contend that mental health advocates are upset that attorney Mark Richards implied that all mentally ill people are homicidal and unstable, which is obviously not the case.

“I’m glad he shot him because if Joseph Rosenbaum got that gun I don’t for a minute believe he wouldn’t have used it against somebody else,” Richards claimed during the trial’s closing arguments.

From AP:

To some legal experts and other observers, Richards’ remarks were a smart courtroom strategy and an accurate depiction of the threat faced by Rittenhouse, who says he shot the men in self-defense. But mental health advocates heard something different: a dangerous assumption that people living with mental illness are homicidal and need to be killed, and terminology such as “crazy” that they say is pejorative and adds to the stigma surrounding mental health issues.

 

Aside from the fact that the defense was talking about one man in particular, who happened to be medicated for diagnosed bipolar disorder and voluntarily ran at someone with a fully loaded weapon attempting to gain control of said weapon for unknown reasons, it is clear that not all humans suffering from mental illness are “crazy and irrational.”

Two former military members testified during the trial, noting that Rosenbaum was acting “belligerently” throughout the night, and appeared to be attempting to be “hyperaggressive and acting out in a violent manner,” as noted by the AP. He even allegedly threatened to kill someone that night, which reportedly occurred while Rittenhouse was within earshot, perhaps indicating that he felt the need to defend himself against Rosenbaum when he later charged at the minor.

Sue Abderholden, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness Minnesota, noted that people diagnosed with bipolar disorder and depression are more inclined to inflict harm upon themselves than others, which one could argue undermines the argument that attributing his “crazy” and “irrational” was related to his mental illness.

Twitter users were quick to assert that describing one man’s behavior does not ascribe those adjectives to all people:

Sierra Marlee

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