Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers called up 500 members of the Wisconsin National Guard last week as a precaution for reaction to the outcome of the Kyle Rittenhouse case. Had he done the same at the start of the riots a year ago, there would be no jury trial in Kenosha County. The show of force would have cleared the area, stopped the fires and other damage and ended the violence. Instead, two people are dead, and another had to fight to protect his own life.
Peace comes through strength and not through woke weakness. Even as news outlets like CNN labeled them as “fiery but mostly peaceful protests,” the riots in Kenosha, Wisconsin, during August of 2020 were most certainly not peaceful.
All of this started when Jacob Blake was shot seven times by a police officer in Kenosha. Without context, the initial video did not look good.
Tony Evers rushed to judgment, condemned what happened, and suggested race was a factor. Joe Biden and other politicians issued similar statements and refused to call on concerned citizens to protest peacefully. It was as if they were sending a signal that it was okay to tear up the town.
For sure, some people were protesting without engaging in violence or destruction. Sadly, there were plenty of others who used the situation as an excuse to burn, attack, and otherwise destroy more than just buildings and other property –– but many people’s livelihoods.
The Kenosha News, a local newspaper that has a history of predominantly endorsing Democrats, wrote a scathing editorial days later that said, “Evers’ statement on Sunday fueled the fire before any rioters got here. His insufficient response has put a Wisconsin city and its residents in danger. Now he needs to do everything the state can to help Kenosha and protect its citizens.”
Just as they had done in Seattle, Portland, Madison, New York, Washington, D.C., and plenty of other Democrat-controlled cities across America, the liberals in Wisconsin looked the other way. Their initial indifference to the riots opened the door to chaos and violence. As the papers said, they fueled the fire before any rioters got there.
Looking back, there were so many things Tony Evers, Joe Biden, and other politicians should have done to avoid the tragedy that took place in Kenosha. As Governor myself years ago, I learned how important it is during any emergency situation to not rush to judgment and not speak until my team, and I know all of the facts. That is Crisis Management 101.
Like Joe Biden, Tony Evers, unfortunately, is not up to the job. He could have raised concerns about the video involving Kenosha Police and Jacob Blake, suggested that we needed a full investigation, and called on people to avoid violence and destruction. Instead, his initial statement “fueled the fire” of the riots. Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and a stream of left-wing politicians did the same.
The facts show that Kenosha police responded to a 911 call about a “domestic incident” from a female caller who referred to Mr. Blake as her boyfriend. She said he was not permitted on the property and that he took the keys to her vehicle. Officers were informed of a “wanted” alert because Mr. Blake had a warrant for charges of third-degree sexual assault, trespassing, and disorderly conduction in connection with domestic abuse.
Mr. Blake was in between fighting women at the time police arrived at the scene. They told him to drop the knife and tried to subdue him, but he fought with officers — even putting one in a headlock. Two officers used tasers on him. He resisted and walked around the vehicle rented by the woman who called 911. Officers heard the woman yell, “He’s got my kid. He’s got my keys.” He opened the driver’s side door and leaned in. They thought he was reaching for a weapon and fired — after multiple attempts to stop him before that moment.
The Democrat Attorney General said that a knife was recovered from the driver-side front floorboard of the car. The Wisconsin Department of Justice reviewed the situation and presented a report to the Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley, who is also a Democrat. He did not issue charges against the police officer. The City of Kenosha, led by a Democrat, allowed the police officer to return to his position. The U.S. Department of Justice, under Joe Biden, announced it would not bring civil rights charges against the officer.
Liberal politicians at the time, however, treated Jacob Blake like some kind of a civil rights icon. Then U.S. Senator Kamala Harris even visited with him at the hospital. She said she was proud of him.
Many politicians and media types wrongly rushed to judgment without knowing the facts. As the local paper said, their statements fueled the fire before rioters even got there. And they were afraid to call in the National Guard to restore order to Kenosha. Woke weakness led to this tragedy. Peace only comes from strength.
• Scott Walker is the president of Young America’s Foundation and served as the 45th Governor of Wisconsin from 2011 to 2019.