Puts crimp in Madison’s ‘Cops Out of Our Schools’ movement
Police advocates last week presented each of 20 alders and Mayor Soglin with copies of Heather Mac Donald’s book, War on Cops. The gift is intended as a corrective to the Blame the Police movement that has taken city government hostage for the last three years.
It is somewhat surprising, therefore, that only two alders refused their copies. They would be Ledell Zellers and Matt Phair. Do not confuse them with facts, their minds are made up.
Even more surprising and certainly very welcome is the reaction of Ald. Denise DeMarb, District 16. She actually thanked the donors for her copy:
“I appreciate the exchange of ideas and opportunities to understand other perspectives. In the spirit of an open exchange of idas I am sending along The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein. …. Our exchange of ideas an information is vital to continuing our efforts to improve our community. I encourage you to read this book and share your thoughts on it with others.”
Over at her website, Paula Fitzsimmons reacts:
I’m hoping that this can be the start of productive dialog. … This beats the response I received from Alders Phair (who’s also a teacher and should, I think, be open to new ideas) and Zellers, both of whom refused the books. How much more blatant can they have been? By doing this, they have shut down the possibility of communication. This, to me, is not appropriate behavior from elected officials.
Texas school shooting differs from Parkland, Florida
For one thing, no David Hogg.
After the school shootings in a suburb of Houston, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott hugged parishioners as they arrived at a local church. Among them was Monica Bracknell, an 18-year-old senior who survived the shooting. According to the New York Times, she stopped to tell the governor that the attack should not be turned into a political battle over gun control.
“That kid was 17. He’s not able to buy a gun anyway. It’s not like a gun-law issue. This kid is obviously mentally unstable and he knew that there were flaws in the school system to get into the rooms.”
The shooter did not use a “military-style assault rifle.” More significantly, the two school resource officers (EROs) responded quickly and effectively, again, unlike Parkland, Florida.
Steven McCraw, the director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said Friday that two “brave officers” from the school district “stepped up to the plate” and engaged the shooter, according to USA Today. One of them, police officer John Barnes, was the first to confront the shooter. He remains in critical condition and in intensive care.
Back in the Emerald City
Pretty much demolishes the “Cops Out of Our Schools” argument here. The Madison school board committee that has been considering expelling EROs from school is strangely quiescent. Its chairman, Dean Loumos, had said the committee would will hold four listening sessions for public comment in April to respond to its final recommendations. April has come and gone and May is expiring and no public hearings? Nor do we see any future meetings scheduled.
Did former cop Gloria Reyes’ April 3 defeat of Anna Moffit, a proponent of getting EROs out of the schools, send a message? (Some background here.)
Coming full circle, the Madison Common Council’s police policy & procedure ad hoc review committee meets 5:30 p.m. Thursday, May 24, at the Madison Water Utility 119 E Olin Ave. It is still considering an independent police monitor, although illegal under Wisconsin law, and a police citizens’ advisory board. (The agenda here.)
Blaska’s Bottom Line: The police ad hoc group has been having trouble reaching a quorum, which is a good sign. Instead, how about an audit of all those deferred prosecution programs. Are they working?