Rittenhouse Says What Conservatives Have Been Thinking: I Wasn't on Trial, Self-Defense Was


Throughout the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, conservatives knew the verdict would have implications far beyond one particular case. Even though he is just 18 years old, Rittenhouse is mature enough to understand this fact.

“It wasn’t Kyle Rittenhouse on trial in Wisconsin,” he said in a clip from his interview with Tucker Carlson, which is set to air Monday night. “It was the right to self-defense on trial.”

This is a line of reasoning many prominent conservatives used throughout the trial. Many saw this case as textbook self-defense, meaning the basic right to defend yourself could be threatened if Rittenhouse was found guilty.

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American Conservative Union chairman Matt Schlapp, well-known immigration lawyer Matthew Kolken and Fox Nation host Tomi Lahren were among the people who made similar arguments as Rittenhouse awaited his fate.

Given the rhetoric by the prosecution during the trial, there is a strong argument to be made that they wanted to criminalize self-defense. At one point, lead prosecutor Thomas Binger suggested exercising your constitutional right of carrying a gun somehow rescinded your right to defend yourself.

“You lose the right to self-defense when you’re the one who brought the gun,” he said before adding, “when you’re the one creating the danger, when you’re the one provoking other people.”

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In this quote, you can see Binger’s inherent bias against the Second Amendment. The suggestion that owning a gun and bringing it to a dangerous situation automatically means you are provoking violence is in direct contrast to the Constitution.

The vast majority of gun owners are law-abiding citizens who follow the regulations put in place for them. People who use guns to commit crimes do so because they are criminals, not because the mere possession of a gun makes them provocateurs.

Furthermore, Binger argued during the trial that Rittenhouse was not acting in self-defense when he killed Joseph Rosenbaum because Rosenbaum was “not even within arm’s reach when the first shot occurs.”

In the drone video the prosecution relied on for their case, it is clear that Rosenbaum is no more than a few feet away from Rittenhouse when the shots are fired. Rittenhouse did not shoot him until he felt he had no other choice to protect his safety.

By Binger’s logic, Rittenhouse would have to wait until Rosenbaum was practically on top of him before defending himself. This shows a basic misunderstanding of the right to self-defense.

In Wisconsin, the standard to use deadly force is that a person must “reasonably believes that force is necessary to protect a 3rd-person or one’s self from imminent death or great bodily harm,” according to the Wisconsin Statutes.

This does not mean a person must wait until they are physically attacked to defend themselves. They simply have to feel the great bodily harm is “imminent,” which certainly seems to be the case when Rosenbaum advanced on Rittenhouse and backed him into a corner between parked cars.

Thankfully, the jury found Rittenhouse not guilty on all charges and therefore preserved the right to self-defense. If they had ruled the opposite way, Rittenhouse understood what the consequences would have been.

“If I was convicted, no one would ever be privileged to defend their lives against attackers,” he told Carlson.

As the media firestorm comes down against the Rittenhouse verdict, we can only hope the basic right of self-defense continues to stand strong against those who wish to destroy it.

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Grant is a graduate of Virginia Tech with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He has five years of writing experience with various outlets and enjoys covering politics and sports.
Grant is a graduate of Virginia Tech with a bachelor's degree in journalism. He has five years of writing experience with various outlets and enjoys covering politics and sports.