Why would you chase and lunge at, or otherwise attack, a young man who’s carrying a semi-automatic rifle? This is what happened last August 25th in the Kyle Rittenhouse affair, and it’s crazy behavior. Yet with respect to at least one of the three men shot in self-defense by Rittenhouse, Joseph Rosenbaum, there may be a logical explanation for such craziness:
Rosenbaum really was, clinically speaking, crazy.
We’ve heard much about the criminal records of the three Rittenhouse assailants’ who were shot (and a bit about the checkered past of the fourth attacker, who wasn’t shot), and rightly so. But underemphasized in Rosenbaum’s case is that he actually was what we today call “mentally ill,” having been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Why is this relevant? It not only helps explain his irrational behavior, but there’s also this:
It’s not unusual for mentally ill people to attempt suicide — and to sometimes conscript others into their self-destructive endeavors.
Note that Rosenbaum “was on antidepressants and medication to treat his bipolar disorder,” NPR reported his fiancée, Kariann Swart, as having testified at the Rittenhouse trial. “He had been in a hospital following a suicide attempt” (emphasis added) and was released the very day he was shot.
Point two: A witness in the trial said Rosenbaum “was acting aggressively and repeatedly challenged a group of armed men to shoot him,” (emphasis added) Reuters informed November 5 — as if he wanted to die.
Point three: The suicide risk for bipolar individuals is 17 times that of the general population; in fact, an estimated “20-60% of patients with bipolar disorder attempt suicide at least once in their lifetime,” writes UTHealth.
Point four: When I mentioned Rosenbaum possibly having committed suicide-by-Rittenhouse to someone close to me who has great experience with bipolar disorder, she said, “Usually it’s suicide by cop [with such people].” She knows whereof she speaks, too. As The American Journal of Psychiatry tells us, suicide by cop “is reported to be more prevalent in males with psychiatric disorders (i.e., chronic depression, bipolar disorders….)” (emphasis added).
Rosenbaum didn’t have cops at his disposal, being as the feckless Wisconsin authorities restrained the police and let Kenosha burn. But Rittenhouse was available. As with the Vigilance Committee in San Francisco in 1851 — which was instituted to quell lawlessness — he was doing the job the government wouldn’t do.
Unfortunately for Rittenhouse, this might have included dealing with a mentally deranged, early-middle-age man who was looking to have someone do a job on him that he wouldn’t (or couldn’t) do. This, again, isn’t unheard of.
Know that bipolar disorder, whatever its cause (and I entertain a non-mainstream theory on this), constitutes genuine insanity. Sufferers often find living with their cross intolerable and fancy death a welcome escape. I personally know of a man thus afflicted who recruited someone, a person clearly disturbed in his own way, who was willing to perform a Dr. Kevorkian on him (thankfully, the plan was thwarted).
Why does any of this matter with respect to Rosenbaum? It certainly doesn’t change what the man did when attacking Rittenhouse or the justness of the latter’s response. Yet speaking for myself, I always find truth interesting, and my theory is tenable. What’s more, it underlines further what Rittenhouse might have been facing last August 25th. It may mean that within all the insanity, he might have been facing actual insanity in the form of a man who perhaps had nothing to lose except what he wanted to — his life.
The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.