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Our view: What has to happen at the state level to ensure "Never again'?
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IN OUR VOICE

Our view: What has to happen at the state level to ensure "Never again'?

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Fire

The Danish Brotherhood Lodge at 2206 63rd St. burns reportedly the result of rioters shortly before 11 p.m. Monday night.

Last week, at a hastily scheduled Kenosha County Board committee of the whole meeting, a couple of supervisors said what Kenoshans wanted to hear.

“To the people who burned down our city, we won’t allow it ever again,” said supervisor Zach Rodriguez.

“The one issue we need to make very clear to the people whose lives have been endangered, whose property has been destroyed, who lived in nightly fear – is the same message we need to send to people who might come here from out of town or elsewhere,” said supervisor Terry Rose. “Our message has to be very clear: Never again. Never again. Never again.”

At the same meeting, National Guard Major Gen. Paul Knapp said as many as 2,000 Guard troops were here to assist law enforcement.

That, of course, was the high point. The early response on sending the Guard to bolster forces after the police shooting of Jacob Blake has been debated like a political football.

Gov. Tony Evers acted as fast as he could, say Democrats. Evers was slow to act and President Trump saved Kenosha, say Republicans.

Local officials firmly support the governor. As Mayor John Antaramian said when he wanted to “clear the air” about Guard involvement on Sunday, Aug. 30:

“The National Guard came as soon as they were able,” said the mayor, adding the request for the Guard went through proper channels and was acted on swiftly. “And the Guard was here the next day.”

Evers himself said last week, “Clearly I would not change a thing I did. We met every request the city and county of Kenosha asked us.”

Whether it was enough has depended on your politics to this point.

For now, let’s disregard politics and agree that the governor did everything he could as fast as he could when widespread protests began and unrest soon followed. No debate, the early response was what the state could do and it showed great teamwork.

And the result: Kenosha burned.

There is no debate about that either. At last estimate there is $50 million worth of damage to as many as 100 businesses. The Uptown took a staggering blow.

The Guard was here – the governor did what he could – and Kenosha burned about 30 hours after the Blake shooting.

That cannot happen again, as the County Board supervisors said.

But what has to change to strengthen the state’s response when protests escalate? How can the state – and the Guard – move faster?

What if protests and riots erupt suddenly in another Wisconsin city? Can the state do better?

Rather than waving their partisan flags and issuing statement after statement in support of or against the governor’s actions, Republicans and Democrats in Wisconsin should be working 24/7 to make changes that would prevent what happened in Kenosha on August 24-25.

Get to work, now.

Kenoshans are tired of the partisan back and forth. They want and deserve elected leaders who lead.

They want to believe “Never again. Never again. Never again.”

It’s time for Republicans and Democrats in Wisconsin to bolster the state’s response to unrest in the name of protests that threatens cities and their residents and businesses.

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