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A Psychologist's Thoughts on Clinical Practice, Behavior, and Life

Rittenhouse and the Common Teenage Fantasy

Despite the wide public clamor about Rittenhouse's actions when seventeen, there has been no exploration of how these relate to the common adolescent yearning to improve the world.

A not unusual element of teenage dreams is an explosion. Not that the dreamer hopes to blow up something but rather to transform the world. Which seems possible based on their limited knowledge though adults can believe this too. Once, during a workshop in Washington, I was floored by the expertise of the government speakers, naively believing that if our group worked together we could accomplish anything.
Perhaps seventeen-year-old Rittenhouse, when taking up his rifle and medic kit to protect a community, was driven by a similar fantasy, a not inexplicable desire since he had worked as a lifeguard. But, as many more adults than teenagers realize, events don't always proceed according to plan.

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