Michael Johnson quits Focused Interruption

How many crime-ridden areas abut a large park? Welcome to Madison and the Elver Park area. A 29-year-old man was shot dead at 3 this morning while sitting in his car on Adderbury Lane, just south of Raymond Road and only blocks from the west side police station.

Another day in the hood, another shooting — this one, fatal.

The real news is that Michael Johnson is quitting his role in Focused Interruption, the 15-point neighborhood intervention plan championed by Alders Mo Cheeks and Matt Phair here on the SW side of town.

At 12:51 this after, Michael Johnson, CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Madison, notified Mayor Soglin and the alders:

I am sorry that another young man lost his life early this morning. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones. It’s sad to witness the consistent lack of humanity from those committing these senseless acts of crime.  Their actions should be condemned and our community has to get better about mitigating and responding to these issues because it’s hurting our children and our community overall.

After listening to several new initiatives being proposed over the last few weeks and with the summer being half way over and no real coordinated efforts to address the record breaking shootings occurring in our city. I’ve decided that Boys & Girls Clubs will NO LONGER be apart of any publicly funded efforts associated with response teams. I appreciate the Mayor and the Common Council for unanimously supporting the 15 Point Plan. But with the number of incidents occurring or and no contract executed that would hire grass root leaders from the community to do this work. I am convinced we are not ready to address this issue. Boys & Girls Clubs will continue to work with the victims of children and families when called upon with private support and appreciate all those who have steeped up so far to try to address these issues.

Meanwhile, police spokesman Joel DeSpain told The State Journal, “The Violent Crime Unit is very concerned about retaliation because of this individual being shot.”


About David Blaska

Madison WI
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8 Responses to Michael Johnson quits Focused Interruption

  1. AdamC says:

    The sad truth is that there is no quick & easy answer to any of this.

    Throwing money at it hasn’t worked anywhere else for the last 50 years; why does anyone think it will work here? Expressing outrage, being antipolice, pointing fingers at “society” and Blame Whitey(TM) doesn’t do a whit of good, plus it ignores the obvious direct cause of these situations: breakdown of responsible families, excuses and enabling of inexcusable behavior, street gangs over generations, and a selfish disregard for human life.

    There are “help wanted” signs all over this city for entry-level jobs for anyone who wants them. There are a thousand nonprofit agencies and government services at all levels to be found around every corner in this county. People give their homeless one-way tickets to Madison from all over the place because of the bountiful services available.

    In the meantime, sections of Madison have been going further and further down the toilet for not years, but decades, and it appears to be accelerating. The police are second-guessed at every turn so there goes preventive policing. The Mayor offered a bounty for guns weeks ago, and not a one has turned up since.

    Anyone who is surprised at the outcome hasn’t been paying attention for a long, long time, because this has been a long time coming. 25-point plans, police studies, and throwing hundreds of thousands of dollars at “the problem” won’t do a thing if a child’s father can’t be bothered to do their duty, or if the parents are just bad parents. In any event many of the people involved in these endless shootings aren’t children. They are grown men in their late 20’s and 30’s. Community centers and after-school programs for that crowd?

    I feel sorry for the law-abiding, hardworking, responsible residents of the neighborhoods that seem to have gone mostly down the drain now.


  2. Tom Paine says:

    The cultural values of most “tribes” in society have been declining for decades. If they can be rebuilt, or reconstructed, it will take decades, assuming such a change is even possible. Historically, I know of no society where such has ever happened. The breakdown of the family unit is not about to reverse course. The proportion of births to single mothers, compared to married families, is not about to change. Nor, in the main, will single mothers ever develop the ability to “teach” their kids to become anything other than social predators, criminals, and druggies. The suicidal nature of gangsta culture is not about change, either from an external force, or from an internal reform or rebirth.

    The tribal cultural values of the 30′-50’s have been rejected — common decency, respect for authority, respect for property, and religious values — for the false promise of the virtues of Multiculturalism. Advocates now dance on the graves of their ancestors, but, having grown-up in Madison during the 50’s/60’s, as a youngster, no adults ever discouraged me from exploring The Capitol or UW landmarks by using the municipal bus line. Adults did NOT need to warn me about my personal safety. There were no druggies, vagrants, wino’s, child molesters. There were no drive-by’s; murders were as rare as black bears in Dane County.

    Any rational person can compare crime rates with the proportion of people of color who live in Madison/Dane. In 1950, it was less than 1%; in 1970 it was only 1.5%; even in 1990 it was only 4.2%. In 2010, it was over 7.1%. Association is not causation, but there is no debate about the disproportionality of crime convictions by people of color. But, that reality is only a symptom of the greater cultural rot that is consuming the nation.


    • Gary L. Kriewald says:

      Amen, brother. Amen. And one reason the “cultural rot” is so pervasive is that Hollywood, the music industry, and the liberal media celebrate it at every turn. To say nothing of academia, where college students can earn credit for courses in hip-hop while learning all about the “problem of whiteness.” And don’t forget the Democrats who see in every minority a victim of racism waiting to be redeemed by yet more harebrained government programs (“focused interruption,” anyone?). Put it all together and you’ve got a formula for cultural rot that’s infecting even rarefied enclaves like Madison.


    • Batman says:

      Great commentary Mr. Paine, thank you.
      Having grown up in here the same time as you, really does provide a keen perspective on the crime/violence problem sweeping through Madison.
      What’s changed?


  3. Patricko says:

    It’s not a racial problem, it is a cultural one. I recommend reading Thomas Sowell’s book “Black Rednecks and White Liberals” for a look at the redneck culture that dominates the black community today.You may be surprised at it’s origins.


  4. Sprocket says:

    ” But with the number of incidents occurring or and no contract executed that would hire grass root leaders from the community to do this work.”

    This is the operative part of the statement. Johnson is trying to build a patronage fiefdom on the taxpayer’s dime and is butthurt the council hasn’t coughed up the danegeld. The crime prevention hustle has become a cottage industry in the black community. People like Johnson play both sides. They allow the city to pretend it’s doing something about crime and avoid confronting the reality of crime. At the same time they are building their position in the “community” by protecting it from an enforcement oriented response to crime and bringing home the pork in the form of these silly ass “response teams” and similar measures.


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