By M.D. Kittle
MADISON — In the span of 11 hours this past weekend in Milwaukee, eight people were shot and one person was killed.
Another violent weekend in a city that, as of Tuesday, had recorded 114 homicides this year. That’s three more than at the same time last year, a record-smashing year for murder. In the last week alone, five people were murdered in Milwaukee.
Just 90 miles south, 56 people were shot, eight of them fatally, over the weekend in Chicago — a city with some of the toughest gun laws in the country. One of the victims was a 7-year-old girl named Serenity, senselessly killed in a shooting that also wounded her 6-year-old sister on the city’s Northwest Side.
The story is the same in many U.S. cities.
“We are experiencing a crime crisis,” said U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil in an interview Tuesday with Empower Wisconsin. “The question is how do we end the crime crisis?”
The first step, according to the Janesville Republican, is to hear from the people who are putting their lives on the line every day in protecting and to serving the public.
Steil is holding a Law Enforcement Roundtable at 10:30 a.m. Thursday at the Franklin Police Department, 9455 W. Loomis Road, Franklin, Wis. Titled, “Stopping the Crime Crisis: Ending ‘Defund the Police’ and Keeping Our Families Safe,” the event will include discussions with police chiefs, sheriffs, police union leaders and rank-and-file officers throughout Southeast Wisconsin. Milwaukee County Sheriff Earnell Lucas is a panelist, as is Pete Deates, Kenosha Professional Police Association.
The roundtable comes just days before the anniversary of the officer-involved shooting of a black man and the subsequent riots that ravaged Kenosha. Liberal politicians, including Gov. Tony Evers, vilified police following the shooting of Jacob Blake, who had repeatedly resisted arrest and appeared to be reaching for a knife in his vehicle during a domestic incident.
“The governor at that time did not govern and let the citizens of Kenosha down,” said Steil, who will also join conservative talk show host Vicki McKenna on Friday in Kenosha for a live broadcast sponsored by Empower Wisconsin. The special broadcast will examine the riots from the point of view of the people who lived through them — the people who lost their businesses, their neighborhoods, their sense of safety.
Radical activists have pushed for defunding or diverting police resources, a campaign that has gotten more national media attention in the wake of high-profile officer-involved shootings. And liberal cities have been quick to cater to the movement, often at their citizens’ peril. Ask the people of Minneapolis.
Steil said it’s time to listen to the law enforcers.
“I want to hear directly from the men and women in law enforcement so we can get to work in Washington D.C. in addressing the challenges we’re facing,” Steil said.