In the Kyle Rittenhouse trial, the prosecution’s closing argument seeks to pierce the veil of reasonable white fear. Making the final case before the jury is dismissed for deliberations, Kenosha County Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger framed Rittenhouse’s actions as those of a provocateur instigating violence.
Rejecting the idea that Rittenhouse feared for his life or had to act in self-defense, the prosecution walked through the various reckless decisions taken by the young gunman.
“You cannot hide behind self-defense if you provoked the incident,” Binger said during the prosecution’s closing. “If you created the danger, you forfeit the right to self-defense. By bringing that gun, aiming it at people, threatening people’s lives, the defendant provoked everything.”
Binger explained that self-defense requires Rittenhouse to do more than turn and shoot as a first response.
“He has to exhaust all reasonable means to avoid a confrontation, all reasonable means,” the prosecutor explained. “So, if Joseph Rosenbaum’s running at him, Joseph Rosenbaum is no threat to his life, and not only is the defendant expected to run, he’s expected to yell, push, shove that ragdoll around, run back for help, call 911, call for help do all sorts of other things besides just turn and fire four shots as Joseph Rosenbaum falls helpless to the ground.”
Rosenbaum is one of two people Rittenhouse killed on his terror-filled march through Kenosha. Associated Press reported he was a former police cadet who crossed state lines armed with a semi-automatic AR-15-style rifle.
While the defense attorney claims there has been a rush to judgment in the case, some clear facts are laid out in an attack that happened in real-time during a national uproar over police violence. At one point, the defense attorney seems to claim police may have been under pressure to arrest Rittenhouse after he killed two people and injured a third.
To be clear, self-defense is a legal justification that can be used in defense of a criminal accusation. It is not generally considered a bar to preventing the legal process from taking its due course.
Any person charged with a crime is entitled to a defense. It is for the defense to argue to the best of their ability, but both the defense in the Rittenhouse trial and the Georgia trial of the killers of Ahmaud Arbery expose how deeply embedded white supremacy is in the so-called “justice” system.
As Minneapolis organizer D.A. Bullock tweeted Monday, applying the second amendment often has an implicit white supremacy exception.
“The white supremacy implicit in the 2nd amendment and how it is applied, any given white person as an individual is always the good guy with a gun, whether police or Rittenhouse, always implied,” Bullock tweeted.