Here’s a hot take: Kyle Rittenhouse wouldn’t have needed a gun to defend himself if he hadn’t brought a gun to the Kenosha riots in 2020. His life was in danger only because he was carrying an AR-15, not because he was being chased by an angry mob.
This load of gibberish comes courtesy of Tali Farhadian Weinstein, a New York prosecutor who penned an op-ed for the New York Times this week titled, “Kyle Rittenhouse, Travis McMichael and the Problem of ‘Self Defense.’”
“Because [Rittenhouse] had a gun, he found himself in a situation where he needed to use it,” Weinstein explains. “In other words, the gun he carried was not a deterrent, but the very reason for the escalation to violence.”
You see, if Rittenhouse hadn’t been carrying a firearm, Joseph Rosenbaum never would have reached for it. And if Rosenbaum had never reached for Rittenhouse’s gun, Rittenhouse never would have shot him, and he’d still be alive today.
SEE ALSO: Rittenhouse Riot Roundup: New York, San Fan, Chicago Erupt in Looting, Vandalism Following Verdict
Rittenhouse might be dead (or worse, given Rosenbaum’s history of pedophilia), but that’s beside the point. The point is that guns are bad.
To solve this problem, Weinstein first suggests that we might narrow self-defense laws, but she rejects that solution as “missing the point.” Instead, she recommends (you guessed it!) restricting Second Amendment rights. Here’s the money quote:
If we start to think of guns only as a problem in the hands of the Other (white supremacists, the far right, criminals), we will miss the simple fact that unregulated guns escalate violence across ideological lines. Their presence tends to create a need for self-defense on both sides of the trigger, about which the law has very little to say. If Mr. Rosenbaum… did indeed reach for those guns, weren’t they, no doubt, acting in self-defense? More guns, no matter in whose hands, will create more standoffs, more intimidation, more death sanctioned in the eyes of the law.
Guns, in no matter whose hands, cause violence, according to Weinstein. In fact, someone reaching for a gun with the intent of harming the gun owner could also claim self-defense.
The problem is not that a bunch of rioters burned Kenosha to the ground. The problem isn’t that politicians and law enforcement were unable (or unwilling) to stop it. The problem isn’t that Rosenbaum threatened to kill Rittenhouse and chased him down a dark street. The problem is that Rittenhouse had the audacity to carry a firearm to defend himself, others, and the businesses in Kenosha.
This is the logical endpoint of “more guns, more violence.” If the gun is the problem, the person holding the gun is immaterial. Good guys and bad guys don’t exist. We’re all at the mercy of the all-powerful firearm.
This has been a mainstay among anti-gun talking points for decades, but it may be reaching the end of its life. Millions of new gun owners have flocked to gun stores in recent years, and as the country grows more dangerous, Americans understand that they need a way to defend themselves.
Applying this mantra to the Rittenhouse scenario, as Weinstein tries to do, makes it all the more ridiculous. Rosenbaum would have killed Rittenhouse whether or not the 17-year-old was carrying a gun. He said so himself.
Fortunately, Rittenhouse was prepared, and justice was served during his trial. Weinstein fears that the gun rights case before the Supreme Court will give more Americans the same opportunity for self-defense. If all goes well, she’ll at least be right about that.