It’s "Ceasefire Week" in Milwaukee: That special week where Mayor Tom Barrett, Police Chief Ed Flynn, and community "leaders" in Milwaukee boldly unite to show that they are so concerned about gun crimes in Milwaukee we are going to fight it with an all-out assault of platitudes and symbolism.
This very special week features, among other things:
A Community Forum on gun violence – spoiler alert: they will decide it is a bad thing;
Police Merit Awards – where the cops pat themselves on the back for keeping the peace, despite the fact that for all their awards we still apparently need a Ceasefire Week;
A Community Walk – poignant symbolism for a city that expends seemingly endless energy going around in circles but never actually gets anywhere on addressing violent crime;
A "Ceasefire Sabbath" where churches are asked to preach messages of peace – as opposed to those other Sundays when they preach violence?; and, of course,
The ever popular gun buyback – where law-abiding citizens disarm themselves in order to reduce the risk that the criminals roaming our streets might be violently rebuffed by their intended victims.
Well la de friggin’ da!
Yesterday's headlines, however, point out one glaring omission in Ceasefire Week. Why isn’t there a "Lock 'Em Up and Throw Away the Key" day?
The front page of the dead tree tells us the story of David Thompson, Jr. charged Monday with armed robbery of Marquette students. Mr. Thompson might be the poster boy for Ceasefire Week, except for one thing: he had been arrested before for armed assault of people in Milwaukee but had just been released from prison. In fact, years ago when first arrested for burglary and robbery using a gun, Thompson admitted to getting off on watching his victims beg for their lives. This sick punk should have been on an extended government imposed "ceasefire" behind bars. Instead, he got a short two years, was sent back out on the street and immediately – and illegally – grabbed another gun and went on a new spree of robbery and terror.
Any credible Ceasefire Week in Milwaukee must start with reforming our revolving-door justice system. While John Chisholm and his merry band of madcap witch hunters can apparently spare no expense trying to keep the community safe from free political speech, they apparently have no time for the more pedestrian work of prosecuting gun toting thugs to the full extent of the law. Next time you read a story about Chisholm’s political John Doe, ask yourself this: Do you feel more threatened by Mayor Barrett’s communications director behind a computer screen doing political work on city time or by David Thompson Jr. behind a .45 pleasuring himself by making you beg for your life?
For all our sanctimony and community handwringing about gun violence, as long DA’s like John Chisholm and judges like those in the Milwaukee County Circuit are not called out and held accountable for being direct accomplices to the repeat offenses committed by individuals like Mr. Thompson no amount of rhetorical breast beating is going to make one iota of difference in reducing violent crime in Milwaukee. You will know Mayor Barrett, Chief Flynn and Milwaukee’s community leadership are actually serious about ending violent crime in the city the day they finally get as serious about calling out our "catch and release" criminal justice system as they are about holding forums, marches, sermons, and inane gun buybacks. Until then, Ceasefire Week is a cruel, cynical joke on a crime-weary community that deserves much better.