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Beaten but not broken: Kenosha survivor Robert Cobb

By M.D. Kittle

Madison— Robert Cobb has done the difficult; for many, the impossible. He has forgiven.

The 70-year-old good Samaritan was brutally assaulted while trying to defend the century-old Danish Brotherhood from looters and arsonists. Despite his efforts, the building burned to the ground. It was the second night of riots that would leave much of Kenosha’s Uptown Business District in ashes.

Armed with a fire extinguisher, Cobb sprayed the criminals — only to be knocked unconscious by a rioter who hit him with a plastic bottle filled with concrete. The elderly man’s jaw was broken in three places and he suffered deep lacerations to his head and nose. He was sucker punched from behind.

The violent encounter was caught on video in live time, as a horrified nation watched.

Nearly a year after the violent demonstrations that followed an officer-involved shooting of a black man, Cobb doesn’t have time or the disposition to hold a grudge.

“I’m a survivor. Life moves on. Every day is a new day,” he said. “I can’t blame the actions of a few on any particular race or people.”

But Cobb does want to know why? Why would anyone truly seeking social justice burn down a neighborhood where so many poor, marginalized people live, work and shop.

“I know it’s the ignorance of a few people, but I can’t understand why they picked a street where the homeless lived,” he said. “There were so many businesses on that street that weren’t doing well.”

Dozens of them went up in flames, including Cobb’s employer, the Mattress Shop.

And Cobb still wonders why it took Gov. Tony Evers so long to send the help that Kenosha law enforcement so desperately needed to check the destruction and the violence.

“I definitely think there could have been more done, especially after the second day of it,” he said. “I thought they would have been more prepared.”

They weren’t.

Evers, placating the radical left, refused to send in adequate National Guard numbers until five days after the riots began. By the time necessary reinforcements arrived, Kenosha was looking at a reported $50 million in damage to its historic business districts and Cobb was recovering from serious injuries.

Nearly a year after being attacked, Cobb said his jaw still isn’t right and his “teeth don’t want to heal.” He’s back working at the Mattress Shop, in another location down from a ruined Uptown in transition.

He’s sad, surveying the damage.

“Those people over there, that whole area is devastated from Sheridan Road up,” he said. “I definitely think the state could have done more.”

But Cobb isn’t the kind of guy to look back too long, and he won’t let his life be governed by bitterness.

“I’m just another person in a struggling world, and life has been good to me,” he said.

For more stories on the lives impacted by Gov. Tony Evers’ failed policies and leadership, visit failingwisconsin.com

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5 thoughts on “Beaten but not broken: Kenosha survivor Robert Cobb

  • I had to stay overnight in Kenosha because of some car trouble — this would’ve be in the late summer of 2019. The people living there have no sense of style. It was just one colossal fashion failure after another. You may have seen internet photos of the unbelievable things people wear when shopping at Wal-Mart. It was like that, but even more appalling. At first I thought — and hoped — I had happened to get stuck there during some bizarre festival. But no, that’s just how they roll. I still have nightmares about it. Anyway, research has shown that the clothes you wear change the way you behave. Until the people of Kenosha do some honest soul-searching and clean out their closets, we can’t expect them to be rational or civilized. On a positive note: The folks at the auto-body shop were competent and didn’t overcharge me. Their mechanic uniforms were adorable, in their own way.

  • It’s a shame that happened, but he seems a little naive for his age. If he wants to know why America was so violent in 2020, tell him the truth: “It’s because we had a Republican in the White House at the Wrong Time.”

    Class dismissed.

  • I saw the video of his attack and a guilty feeling girl saving him from being killed along with all the other where K R was chased and attached by the animals and two shot by him defending himself with his rifle. And yes the pedophile in the face of a black man with a gun calling him the N word and telling him to shot him. Someone has the videos and I hope it is the defense attorney. No cops were there to protect and serve except some in protective vehicles on any of the videos, No fire trucks seen putting out fires as the animals started them. People attacked for trying to put them out.
    This man is a nice older man but I would never forgive animals for attacking me. They would not attack again

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