16 August 2016


by Andy Weddington
Tuesday, 16 August 2016

He was a wise man who invented beer. Plato

When I hear Milwaukee the first thing that comes to mind is Schlitz - the beer that made Milwaukee famous. 

Whether a true statement or not, as to fame, I do not know. But that was one effective and memorable bit of advertising. 

In college I drank Schlitz - once. Not since. 

Yesterday, the news coming from Milwaukee was not about beer - though beer may have instigated some of the chaos.

The short of it is a police officer shot and killed a citizen who, as reported, was armed and failed to obey the police officer's instructions. 

That is never a good idea. 

Not content to await facts and truth, some in Milwaukee took to violence. Others followed.

That scenario brought to mind Sister Ann Loyola, my 6th grade teacher, and her oft uttered admonishment for misbehavior, "Monkey see, monkey do, monkey does what it wants to do."

Rioters, in addition to destroying private and public property, were targeting other citizens - innocents - based on ethnicity. They were stopping cars, smashing windows, and attempting to drag the occupants out to beat them. 

This morning there are reports of calls to burn down suburban neighborhoods.

Anger hits me. 

Mayor Tom Barrett calls for calm. Pleading a word used in articles.

Angrier still.

No, mayor. No!

You, sir, are duty-bound to protect life and property - public and private - of the law-abiding. And restore order. And you have the means to do so.

Therefore, but one thing need be said, and only once, to the rioters ...

"Your wanton violence, destruction, and attack on people and property will cease immediately. Stop or I will stop you. I will not plead with you. I will not beg you. And I will not warn you. The police, as of now, have the authority to use whatever force necessary, to include deadly, to restore order. Now, go home. Air your grievances appropriately. Otherwise, face the consequences of your uncivilized conduct. I am done talking."

Simple and fair.

Follow through.  

Right now Milwaukee is famous but out of Schlitz. 

Afterthought ...

Beer I drink only occasionally. Never in the morning. But I think it's time for a cold one instead of another cup of coffee. Why? Because our president talks inappropriately and is now inappropriately silent. And golfing. Cheers! 

Post Script

The systemic problem in Milwaukee (other cities, too) known but it is only an explanation for not justification of the violence. Sheriff David Clarke, Jr. of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin has nailed that systemic problem. Needed: Problem-solving sessions with wise men. Beer provided. 

1 comment:

Dennis OBrien said...

I remember summer, 1963. The very beginning of "riots were about to start in Jersey City,NJ. We had a mayor
that was liked by most, and was a true, old fashioned, "glad hander". He immediately did a city wide recall of all
off duty police and firemen (Just about all of them lived in their city back then.) and put the police, 4per unit, in "radio cars".
They were armed with three shotguns, exposed, and one driver. He mobilized the entire motorcycle squad of about
45 in number. They were dubbed by the papers as "The Flying Squad". They would be rapidly deployed to any area
as a group and just the sound of them approaching let any offenders in the area know that things are not going to end up
good for them if they didn't disperse before they even got there. They also deployed "the horses. Back then they had a Mounted Squad of about a dozen members. They would just have to walk their mounts into the crowds and they would disperse rapidly. Years later I was
talking with a mounted old timer of the earlier days and asked if the people would be so frightened of the horses that they would leave. "Nah" he said. "As soon as we walked into the crowds, the horses would get a little skittish and start pissing all over everyone." THAT made the most sense. We all managed to get through it (several times, with same results) without loss of life and serious injuries. There were some damages and limited fires but not the destruction that followed in other cities. The bottom line was having no nonsense, and fair but firm leaders and men kept a bad event from turning into a catastrophe.
.......but that was the early sixties. How things have changed.