Here Is Why Anthony Hamilton Is Worthy Of Your Vote For Dane County Sheriff

When it comes to public safety, I have continually opted for the course that best meets the needs of keeping society secure and follows the process of law and order. Even before the past 24 hours, or so, I was already a voter who was planning to cast a November vote for Anthony Hamilton as our next Dane County Sheriff. That decision was based on the clear need for more officers to be hired in the department, and what I consider a stodgy hiring strategy at a time when a public desire for safety increases.

Following news reports this week of a search warrant process that was not carried out in a fashion that we must demand from law enforcement, was just additional evidence as to why a change at the top of the Dane County Sheriff’s Department must take place at the ballot box.

Going into this election I have heard and talked with officers who have spoken about the feeling of being stretched thin with overtime and fewer fellow deputies to meet, at times, the needs of the county. That to me is the central and core issue of this race, and the topic that meets the voters at their home or their place of business.  The citizenry has a rightful expectation to know that law enforcement is staffed to meet the current array of problems that might require their involvement.

We know this summer that Dane County Sheriff Kalvin Barrett stated the staffing situation is such that the department is short 40 deputies.  Though safety reasons were the leading cause for the closing of part of the outdated jail there was also a shortage of staff that aided in making that decision. While arguments can be made about the ways to recruit and hire new deputies, the fact there is such a shortage in the first place is enough concern to drive a voter to make a change in the leadership of the sheriff’s office.

Then the news from yesterday landed with a most embarrassing thud for the county.

Republican Dane County sheriff’s candidate and detective Anthony Hamilton has sued the Sheriff’s Office in federal court alleging that officials conspired to remove him from the SWAT team for raising concerns about a search at a hotel in March 2021 he considered illegal.

Hamilton’s removal from the SWAT team stemmed from an armed standoff at the Magnuson Grand Hotel in Madison where Hamilton and other law enforcement agents searched a hotel room, the lawsuit said. During the search, Hamilton voiced concerns that the search was probably illegal, the lawsuit said.

Sheriff’s officials later lied in their reports about the incident, with Sgt. Mark Schroeder, who participated in the search, saying that he had ordered Hamilton to obtain a warrant, according to the lawsuit.

Law enforcement at the scene first said they had received permission from the hotel’s manager to search the room because no one had been living there. In an interview on Tuesday, Hamilton said he later learned that the hotel had been renting the room off the books, which technically made the search illegal.

The reason this finds me exercised today is that over and over on this blog I have pressed how the process of governing needs to be transparent, and made clear for those who follow the proceedings, so that win or lose, all can state honestly that the rules were known and applied.  The process must not be tainted or altered to get the desired end. From the antics of my local neighborhood association to the pure lunacy of the Donald Trump White House, there is no escaping that process matters. As it was required to do so with the law enforcement matter in which Hamilton was engaged.  What we are again witnessing is a fact. When an established process is tossed aside for expediency it makes for harsh consequences.

For the record, I have not met or talked with either of the contenders for the sheriff’s office this fall.  But I am aware of the distrust that falls upon the shoulders of the men and women who wear the law enforcement uniform, and how that translates into our politics and social tensions.  Dane County simply must have a rational hiring process so a full department can be ready to serve the public, and once hired officers must go about their business of not only serving and protecting, but also burnishing a better image for the public.  I believe our sheriff’s department must do better but can only achieve what is desired with new leadership. 

A new sheriff. 

Anthony Hamilton.

Madison Police Must Have Right To Use Chemical Tactics To Stem Riots, City Council May Vote To Curb Their Use

Once again, the tail wishes to wag the dog in Madison. The latest example is a short-sighted and dangerous attempt by the City Council to limit the range of tools Madison Police have available to them in times of crisis and danger to the public.

Longtime readers know I view a legitimate protest march being vastly different from a riot.  In 2020, when national concern was registered about the death of George Floyd many local people marched and demonstrated peacefully. Madison Police used the resources of their department to make sure marches were safe by closing streets and routing traffic away from the crowds. Local police are not averse to assisting the right to free speech in the public square, in fact, they help enhance it.

But as the daylight would give way to darkness, however, the marches were taken over by a violent element that was not driven by any consideration for policy changes through a due process of governing. There was no higher calling about social justice or honoring Floyd.  Instead, the looting and mindless ransacking of businesses on State Street and around the State Capitol continued night after night.  What was as disturbing to me as the destruction itself was the attempt by some social ‘advocates’ who tried to morph the two—trying to rationalize the wanton criminal behavior as some extension of anger about policing in general.  The absurdity of such a dialogue was mind-numbing.

Trying to find kinship between a protest march and a full-blown riot is like trying to align a tomato with a suspension bridge.  It simply can not be done.  While police work to make sure protesters are safe when pressing their message, we should also want law enforcement to be most determined to quell and stop the smashing of windows, the tearing down of statuary at the statehouse (!) and to stem the undermining of basic law and order.

As such, I fully support the police using tactics that will meet the mission as needed. It then comes as no surprise that I am very much opposed to 8th District Alderperson Juliana Bennett’s proposal to enact a ban on MPD and all other mutual aid agencies using tear gas, mace, all chemical irritants, and impact projectiles for use in crowd/riot control.  Living on the Madison Isthmus I can attest to the great alarm homeowners and fellow residents felt as the live news reports showed the destruction occurring while we stood on our balcony and looked out towards the statehouse dome wondering what morning light would show for damage. As we know the damage was widespread and extremely costly.

The reason we should care about the allowance for such chemical tactics to stop a riot was perhaps best summed up by Bonnie Roe a local concerned citizen. “What if tear gas could not have been used by MPD to help an MFD firetruck get through an unruly crowd, during a night of civil unrest in August of 2020, to put out a fire before many gallons of gasoline were ignited, causing a massive explosion and endangering many lives?”

This resolution from Bennett was referred to Madison’s Public Safety Review Committee where on August 10th it passed on a 4-1 vote. All three of the Alders on this committee favored the ban, so there is much concern from those who favor law and order about the passage of this matter. The next city council meeting on September 20th will deal with this resolution where an expected vote will be held. The matter only requires a simple majority (11 out of 20) votes to pass.

The implications of its passage should not be lost on Madison residents.  That was spelled out by James L. Palmer, II, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Professional Police Association. He stated, “Drastically impairing MPD’s ability to resort to de-escalation tools – especially when it has done so on a very limited basis – would be a regressive policy change that would only serve to compromise the safety of the community and the police. Furthermore, it would likely undermine the city’s ability to rely upon the mutual aid of its neighbors who are unlikely to risk these serious public safety implications

I would ask, for the sake of sanity and sound policing for the benefit of the vast majority of law-abiding in our city that you contact your alder and demand a NO vote on the resolution to undermine Madison Police.

So why do I care about this issue?  I wish to conclude this post with a personal explanation.  As a boy growing up in Waushara County, there was one thing that could be counted on each summer with certainty.  There would be at least one major thunderstorm that would be so dramatic as to produce straight-line winds that would snap large trees and rip a roof off a barn or old shed and carry it into a nearby field.  Following the weather reports on the radio and the tracking of clouds at home, we could figure out where some storm damage might be viewed.   Dad was a 40-year elected member of the Hancock Town Board and so needed to know what road cleanup was required after a storm.

I am much aware of those drives in the country as Dad assessed the storm damage. I also recall the first time I parked at a ramp following the 2020 State Street rioting. There had been scores of newspaper photos and television coverage, but seeing for myself the enormity of the damage to every single store, block after block, was hard to fathom. This past week I caved to one of my weaknesses—gyro sandwiches—and after devouring one walked State to again pass empty storefront after empty storefront.  Yes, some are the result of a pandemic.  Too many, however, are the result of a riot.  A needless series of violent and outlandish actions. Our city must have the tools at our disposal to stem riots in the future.

I again urge my readers to contact your alder and demand a NO vote on the resolution to disallow the use of tear gas, mace, all chemical irritants, and impact projectiles for use in crowd/riot control by Madison Police. 

Build 6-Story Dane County Jail, As Too Many Wish To Reside There

The local conversation has not been as elongated as that which surrounded the downtown Judge Doyle Square development, but the numerous ideas and dialogue about the new Dane County jail seem akin to it.  Last week, the County Board was unable to pass any of its three options for moving forward with the jail consolidation project.  On the chopping block was a plan that lacked credibility as it scaled back the structure by one floor and reduced bed space for inmates. Data proves more space, not less space will be required.

As the news was reported in the Wisconsin State Journal about the lack of securing the needed votes on the Board for any new jail plan, came another sad example of why this ongoing planning must be pushed forward. Three 18-year-olds were charged in Madison with attempted first-degree intentional homicide.  Two of the adults got out of a car driven by the third man and started shooting at another man who was walking and then running away from the vehicle. The victim had broken bones in his pelvis.

As we know from data, Black men are arrested and charged for crimes at a far higher rate than their white counterparts. Reform-minded advocates have stated their belief that inequities in housing, education, social services, and other factors are the reasons for crimes. It can also be documented that Blacks face inequalities in the sentencing they receive for crimes.  While all that can be proven so can the abundant programming and ever-growing funding from the City of Madison, Dane County, the State of Wisconsin, and Congress at the federal level to combat the reasons for arrests. 

Clearly, something is not working.

Whatever propels young adults to pursue someone, shoot numerous rounds, and then when their home is searched a handgun and large extended magazine in a freezer are found does cause the average citizen to ask what part of the social system is broken.  Is the cause the taxpayer who does pay for social programming and truly desires for it to show results in the communities where it is used and needed?  Is the cause due to family structures that are so fragmented and dysfunctional that basic concepts of right and wrong are as foreign as metaphysics?  Whatever the cause may be the result is that those who can not or will not conduct themselves in accordance with societal norms must pay a price for their actions.

Would I like to see all the money needed for a new jail appropriated somewhere else?  Of course.  But that is not our reality. As long as there are so many among us who wish to reside in the Dane County jail based on the absurdity of their actions then we will need to house them, keeping them separate from the ones who do live between the guard rails of law and order.

I am not sure how the current impasse will resolve itself in deliberations over the jail among Board members.  But I am certain the end result will be a needed 6-floor development project.  Sadly, almost every edition of the newspaper underscores its necessity.

Kyle Rittenhouse’s Rifle Buyer Arrested For Fleeing Police, Cocaine In System

The last time we left the story of Dominick Black he had pleaded no contest to contributing to the delinquency of a minor, that being Kyle Rittenhouse, who liked to dress up in a full replica police uniform as a teenager. I have often wondered if he thought that was the most effective way to entice a teenage girl for a date?

Rittenhouse would use the AR-15-style rifle he was given by Black to kill two men on the streets of Kenosha. Black agreed to a non-criminal citation in order to avoid convictions on two felonies he had been facing.

The two counts were the result of delivering a dangerous weapon to a minor which then was used to slaughter Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber.

Letting Black off easy was correctly met with derision across the nation, with many at the time commenting it was only a matter of time before he would headline again. When the justice system is easy on thugs who show disdain for law and order with gun laws we know there is a very high chance society and taxpayers will again need to pay for court time and housing.

That is because firearms offenders recidivated at a higher rate than non-firearms offenders. Over two-thirds (68.1%) of firearms offenders were rearrested for a new crime during the eight-year follow-up period compared to less than half of non-firearms offenders (46.3%).

Well, today, less than six months later, Black is back!

Though Black’s crime this time is not gun-related, his actions show a complete disregard for the orders from a police officer, and the cavalier attitude that the law does not seemingly apply to him regarding either the rules of the road or the use of illegal substances.

Dominick D. Black, 20, was charged in Kenosha County Circuit Court for fleeing a police officer this past weekend. The mayhem took place in downtown Kenosha.

A Kenosha Police Department officer observed a grey motorcycle with no registration displayed going northbound on Sixth Avenue from 52nd Street around 7 p.m. Friday, according to the criminal complaint.

The officer reportedly pulled behind the motorcycle and traveled behind it for a short time. The driver reportedly traveled northbound on Sixth Avenue from 52nd Street, then west on 50th Street from Seventh Avenue.

The driver then reportedly stopped at a red traffic light at 50th Street on Sheridan Road for an “extended period of time,” according to the complaint. The officer reported the driver also “repeatedly looked in his mirrors to see if I was still behind him after each turn or change of direction.”

While stopped at the light, the officer reportedly notified dispatch he was going to initiate a traffic stop of the driver. The driver then reportedly turned right and northbound on Sheridan Road and began accelerating above the posted speed limit of 30 miles per hour. The officer activated his emergency lights and siren while directly behind the driver in the 4900 block of Sheridan Road.

“Once I activated lights and siren, I observed the driver look in his mirror at my squad, slow briefly for a moment, before continuing at approximately 45 mph in the posted 30 mph zone for approximately one block (4900blk to 4800blk),” the officer reported in the criminal complaint. “The driver, after looking in his mirror, shook his head from side to side, as if he was shaking his head ‘no’ before rapidly accelerating away from my squad.”

The driver then accelerated at a high rate of speed, briefly, until the the driver had to slow due to other northbound traffic on Sheridan Road. The driver also reportedly illegally passed vehicles while fleeing from the officer and rode in the middle of both northbound traffic lanes, passing vehicles on both sides and almost striking the vehicles while trying to drive between the heavy traffic to get away from the officer, according to the complaint.

Once the driver illegally passed the other northbound traffic, the driver allegedly accelerated at a high rate of speed away from the officer, who estimated it to be in excess of 80 mph in a posted 30 mph zone.

Due to the heavy traffic and endangerment of the vehicle and pedestrian traffic, the officer deactivated his lights and siren and slowed down. The officer reportedly observed the motorcycle northbound on Sheridan Road from 35th Street. However, as the motorcycle approached the intersection at Seventh Avenue, the officer lost sight of it, and he began searching the area.

About 15 minutes later, another Kenosha Police officer reportedly located the motorcycle and operator at Simmons Island, 5001 Simmons Island Drive. The driver of the motorcycle was identified as Black, who was wearing the same clothing an officer observed the motorcycle driver wearing earlier that evening.

Black was arrested and placed in a squad car. Dispatch advised that Black’s driving privileges were suspended, and Black stated the motorcycle was not registered to him at the time, according to the complaint. Black also reportedly didn’t have insurance.

While an officer was gathering information, Black reportedly began “appearing to move around more than usual” in the squad car. Black reportedly stated he was getting too hot and needed air. Black then reportedly began shaking in the back of the squad and appeared to have gone in and out of consciousness.

Black was transported to an area hospital and had blood work done. Hospital staff reported that Black had a traceable amount of cocaine in his blood, but not enough to cause impairment. Hospital staff advised Black’s symptoms appeared to be consistent with an anxiety attack or panic attack, according to the complaint.

If Black can only get the same judge that Rittenhouse had he should be in great shape!

And so it goes.

White Man Kills Ten In Racially Motivated Mass Shooting, Leaves Manifesto Linking Thoughts With Tucker Carlson’s ‘White Replacement Theory’

So, just another Saturday in America. An angry white man with easy access to weapons.

N-word could be seen written on the front sight of gunman’s automatic rifle.

Ten people were killed and three more were wounded when a man opened fire at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, authorities said Saturday. Police said the shooter, who is now in custody, has been charged with murder in what officials are calling a hate crime and a case of racially motivated violent extremism. 

“This was pure evil,” said Erie County Sheriff John Garcia. “This was a straight-up racially motivated hate crime from somebody outside of our community.”

At approximately 2:30 p.m., an 18-year-old white man exited his vehicle at a Tops Friendly Market, Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said at a news conference. The suspect was “very heavily armed” and had a tactical helmet and gear, Gramaglia said. Police said he also had a camera and was live-streaming the shooting. 

The suspect shot four people in the parking lot, killing three, before entering the store, he said. Once he walked inside, he encountered a “beloved” retired Buffalo police officer working in the store as a security guard. The guard fired multiple shots that hit the suspect, but they did not impact him due to his tactical gear, Gramaglia said. The suspect then killed the guard, who has not been named.

The suspect eventually returned to the front of the store and encountered police, Gramaglia said. He put a gun to his neck when he saw police, but officers talked him into putting it down and surrendering, Gramaglia said. He was then taken into custody.

The horrific story gets more sinister and dark as we learn about Payton Gendron, the killer.

He left a manifesto in which he talks about the incendiary theory that Fox News’ Tucker Carlson is constantly talking about on his show. This is known as the ‘white replacement theory’, which goes directly against diversity in the country and perpetuates white supremacy. Inside this manifesto, you will find several talking points that Tucker often mentions in his program.

When will the people in this nation rise up and tell the NRA puppets in Congress and statehouses that we are tired of this bloodshed and carnage from gun manufacturers?

And so it goes.

What About Increasing Crime In Red States, Counties?

If you turned into the Masters Tournament during the first three days of play it was possible to believe that only Tiger Woods was playing golf. Fawning over a player took new heights with every step taken made out to be akin to stepping onto the moon.

And if you happen to be following the news about crime nationwide you might believe that increases in a range of illegal behavior are taking place in only blue states and blue counties. Republicans are hot on the rhetoric about crime and how it is coming your way due to liberals. But crime statistics are up and running wild in Trump country, too, where conservatives hold the power of state governments.

For example, Jacksonville, a city with a Republican mayor, had 128 more murders in 2020 than San Francisco, a city with a Democrat mayor, despite their comparable populations. In fact, the homicide rate in Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco was half that of House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy’s Bakersfield, a city with a Republican mayor that overwhelmingly voted for Trump. Yet there is barely a whisper, let alone an outcry, over the stunning levels of murders in these and other places.

We found that murder rates are, on average, 40% higher in the 25 states Donald Trump won in the last presidential election compared to those that voted for Joe Biden. In addition, murder rates in many of these red states dwarf those in blue states like New York, California, and Massachusetts. And finally, many of the states with the worst murder rates—like Mississippi, Kentucky, Alabama, South Carolina, and Arkansas—are ones that few would describe as urban. Only 2 of America’s top 100 cities in population are located in these high murder rate states. And not a single one of the top 10 murder states registers in the top 15 for population density.

No one wants crime to increase and there is no joy to be found in stats that show red states are facing the same dilemma as elsewhere in the country. But to continually read and hear midterm electioneering from the GOP about murder rates and efforts at police defunding—which was modest in the few larger cities where such efforts were entertained–undercuts the larger need to understand exactly why there are increases in homicides. In both blue and red states and counties.

I am no expert on the criminal mind but think the level of abusive behavior that was unleashed in the past two years on local roads with excessive speeds, running lights, and disregard for others is a small part of the larger narrative about crime. I have considered that some of the nitwits on Madison streets feel that the only place they have any power is behind the wheel. So they act out.

The pandemic and economic angst are surely no reason to commit a murder, yet we know that sociologists and those schooled in criminal psychology can demonstrate how fluctuations in crime rates occur due to such large events.

Pushing fear concerning crime, which is at the heart of congressional Republican efforts to take back the house, is, of course, par for the course. Which segues this post back to the beginning.

Making white voters in suburbs and rural areas feel like the crime wave is taking over the nation and it is all due to the undermining of police is not only cheap politics but lacks the needed concern to address what is really at the cause of the increases. If that effort is all partisan-based, then the GOP is doing a fine job.

If, however, we are intent on better understanding the upswing in crime and truly wishing to impede it from continuing we need to have a fact-based conversation with others than just the GOP base.

And so it goes.

‘All In The Family’ Christmas Letter From Jennifer and James and Ethan Crumbley

Wonder what news the Crumbley family will have to write in their holiday letter this year.

‘The summer was dryer than normal, and that ole tree out back sure looks the worse for wear now that it lost another climb. Oh, yeah, our son killed four people after we bought a gun for him as an early holiday present. We decided that holing up in a warehouse was cheaper than a trip to Yellowstone and that sure made us popular coast-to-coast.

Hope all is good with you, and if you find any quarters in your couch please mail for our family defense fund. It will be a whopper next year! Do you think we all will look odd wearing orange for next year’s letter?

Pathetically yours,

The New Wards of the State

Shooter’s Parents Must Be Legally Accountable For Deadliest School Shooting This Year

Once again the deadly results of guns in our society make for terrible headlines. Once again the refrain from rational adults is a call to common sense and the development of gun control measures that will start to trim back the shootings. At the same time, conservatives chant their trite platitude, ‘thoughts and prayers’.

The layers of possible responses to the carnage left by Ethan Crumbley and the 9-millimeter Sig Sauer handgun used in the shooting are many. From working on issues in school concerning being bullied to the drowning of the nation in too many guns available for purchase, and the ease that children can get their hands on a deadly weapon. There is no single avenue to address the gravity of the situation.

But when it comes to guns in homes this blog has been consistent and adamant that parents must be held legally responsible when their weapons are not stored and safeguarded correctly. When they are accessible to underage people, and crimes take place with the weapons, then the law must follow the parents right to the jailhouse door and usher them inside.

On Wednesday we learned that the high school sophomore accused of killing four classmates and injuring others will be charged as an adult with a host of felonies, including terrorism and four counts of first-degree murder. The weight of the words from Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald said it all.

Evidence shows the shooting was “absolutely premeditated.”

But equally important today was the news that prosecutors are also considering charges against the suspect’s parents. The New York Times reported that when the boy’s parents went to a sheriff’s substation after the shooting, they declined to let investigators question their child. The sheriff told reporters that a 9-millimeter Sig Sauer handgun used in the shooting had been bought four days earlier by the suspect’s father. “He is not talking and neither are the parents,” the sheriff said.

There is appropriate outrage across the nation today as we learn more evidence to show why parents, once again, must be held accountable for actions that their child took, due to a deadly gun made accessible in their home.

This blog has repeatedly stated parents of young people who use guns to shoot, kill, and create violence also need to be held accountable. Some adult was responsible for the fact the shooter was able to place his hands on this weapon. There is no way that any sane person can say parental/adult actions, such as with this shooting, should not be addressed by the law that makes sure there is a responsibility shared by those who help to foster the violent outcomes.

The NRA has plenty of responsibility for the number of guns in our society and the ease with which anyone can get a deadly weapon. But when it comes to children with guns there also has to be a question asked–where the heck was the parent? It might also be a good time to ask if parents are not able to control their offspring then perhaps they should forfeit their children’s tax credits. The rest of society should not have to continually pay the price for bad parenting.

And so it goes.