- - Thursday, June 25, 2020

Ignorance is dangerous — literally.

Wisconsin State Sen. Tim Carpenter, Milwaukee Democrat, was brutally assaulted the other night by rioters storming the Capitol Square. According to Mr. Carpenter’s online post, he was “Punched/kicked in the head, neck, ribs. Maybe concussion, socked in left eye is little blurry, sore neck & ribs. 8-10 people attacked me. Innocent people are going to get killed. Capitol locked — stuck in office. Stop violence nowPlz!”

What was his offense? He took a video of the rioters.

In addition to attacking a 60-year-old lawmaker, the rioters engaged in numerous acts of willful-ignorance. At one point, they tore down the statue of Col. Hans Christman Heg and dumped it into Lake Monona without the head.

Heg was an immigrant from Norway who came to Wisconsin when his father moved his family to America in 1840. He was an outspoken anti-slavery activist and leader of an anti-slave catcher militia. During the Civil War, he served as colonel of the 15th Wisconsin Volunteer Regiment. He literally died on the battlefield fighting the Confederacy.

Ignorance is dangerous.

They also tore down the Forward statue. According to the Wisconsin Historical Society, women raised the funds for the creation of the statue Forward in 1893. It was sculptress Jean Pond Miner who created the “allegory of devotion and progress, qualities Miner felt Wisconsin embodied.” In 1895, Forward was given a prominent position at the state Capitol. Years later, women from across the state raised the funds for a bronze replica of Forward which was — until Tuesday night — displayed at the entrance of the Capitol Square at the end of State Street.

Ignorance is dangerous.

The silence from city officials in far-left-leaning Madison is noticeable — as is the lack of response from the current administration. Rep. Jim Steineke, Kaukauna Republican, the Assembly majority leader correctly noted, “The Wisconsin State Capitol is under attack and the damned Governor of our state can’t be bothered to denounce the behavior, make a statement, call in the Capitol Police or National Guard?”

Reporters should stop calling the people who are tearing down statues, vandalizing buildings and attacking people “protesters.” They are criminals and rioters.

Amazingly, even some of the candidates for public office support the violence. Nada Elmikashfi is a former staff member of Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, who is running for the state Senate in Madison. She posted, “Lady Forward is the symbolic gatekeeper of an almost all white Capitol that legislates in racism. Knowing it down made so many allies uncomfortable tonight, it showed the extent of white fragility. That is effective protest.” Imagine what Senate Democrat caucus meetings will be like with her and Sen. Carpenter.

On the same day of the mayhem in Wisconsin’s capital, there was an announcement that rioters were prepared to tear down the statue of former President Abraham Lincoln and a former slave at the Emancipation Memorial or Freedman’s Memorial in D.C.’s Lincoln Park. One of their leaders said, “we’re tearing this motherf—-ker down.”

Ironically, the plaque on the monument names it as “Freedom’s Memorial in grateful memory of Abraham Lincoln” and reads: “This monument was erected by the Western Sanitary Commission of Saint Louis Mo: With funds contributed solely by emancipated citizens of the United States declared free by his proclamation January 1 A.D. 1863. The first contribution of five dollars was made by Charlotte Scott. A freedwoman of Virginia being her first earnings in freedom and consecrated by her suggestion and request on the day she heard of President Lincoln’s death to build a monument to his memory.”

What does any of this have to do with reforming the police or easing racial tensions? Nothing. The mob mentality, I believe driven by anarchists and paid agitators, is hijacking legitimate concerns for their own personal and political agendas.

In Washington, D.C., Senate Democrats continue to block U.S. Sen. Tim Scott’s JUSTICE Act. The South Carolina Republican’s proposal is a comprehensive package of reforms that includes many of the items that Democrats claim they are for but they keep moving the bar. Mr. Scott wisely called them out and many in the media out for blocking passage even after he amended his original package to address their concerns.

States, too, can take action. Years ago, I signed a law that requires an independent review any time there is an officer-related death. There are other reforms regarding recruitment, training and supervision.

Democrats do not like this idea, but states and other jurisdictions can consider eliminating or even reforming collective bargaining as we did in Wisconsin. For too long, union contracts blocked the removal of bad public employees. Our reforms changed that and they can be used across the country.

In addition to enacting real and meaningful reforms, local and state leaders must regain order in their communities. Lawlessness left unchecked leads to anarchy.

Ignorance is dangerous.

• Scott Walker was the 45th governor of Wisconsin. You can contact him at swalker@washingtontimes.com or follow him @ScottWalker.

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