Restorative justice not reaching hardcore grip of 32 juvenile delinquents
Dane County may have to build a long-term juvenile lock-up
‘Liberal Madison is racist’
Congrats to Ald. Paul Skidmore for hosting Monday night’s public safety meeting at Blackhawk Church off Mineral Point Road. Guessing a very engaged crowd of 400 to 500, with a significant representation from black and white.
What a line-up! Juvenile court judges Juan Colas and Everett Mitchell, Sheriff Dave Mahoney, D.A. Ismael Ozanne, Madison police chief Mike Koval, West district captain Cory Nelson, and Mayor Paul Soglin.
They addressed, at the demand of Ald. Skidmore, the spate of juvenile crime — car thefts, joy riding, and home burglaries — particularly here on the west side of town. Colas, chief judge of the Dane County circuit, said his own car had been broken into recently at his home off Hammersley Road. Just Monday he recovered a neighbor’s smartphone in the bushes.
A hardcore group of 32 kids
Credit, again, Chief Koval for pulling the alarm bell. His screed of October 16 (“What about accountability?” generated Monday’s session.
Citywide, robberies are up 10.4% from the same period last year. Burglaries are up 22%. But it’s more pronounced here on the west side; burglaries are up 87% and 80% more stolen autos. Just over half those burglaries occur when the people are at home!
Think of this, Captain Nelson challenged: 92 guns have been stolen out of those cars compared to 82 all of last year. Including firearms stolen from homes, a total of 383 guns over the last three years now in the wrong hands.
Speakers attribute much of the juvenile crime to a hardcore bunch of 32.
The district attorney warned “We are on borrowed time” before someone gets killed. But Ozanne, Sheriff Mahoney, the judges and the mayor emphasized treatment over punishment.
Chief Koval warned that, eventually, an innocent motorist will be T-boned by kids careening in a stolen automobile. Indeed, one citizen said her husband sitting next to her was lucky to survive just such an accident at Mineral Point and Gammon Roads. Should the driver ever be caught, “I would love to tell him how he hurt our lives and ask what happened in his life?”
Or, Koval suggested, a homeowner will stand his ground against burglars with his own firearm. Sure enough, one such homeowner recounted his near call. Two vehicles were taken out of his garage, mistakenly left open, prompting a house alarm to sound. Protecting his wife and four children, he finds himself patrolling the grounds with a shotgun.
“I hate to think what might have happened had we come face to face.”
“What can I do?” he asked, as did many others of the white speakers.
Treatment over punishment
Judge Mitchell is a hell of an orator! Fluid and impassioned. He comes out of that African-American church tradition and does, indeed, have a religious ministry. Mitchell regards the young miscreants as victims — and he is correct. Too many black children ARE traumatized by absent, inattentive or, even, abusive parents. They have witnessed household violence, street crime, drug use and despair. Worse, many of the teenagers he sees in juvie court can not read! Think on that!
Mitchell blamed social services, calling it the “child welfare-to-juvenile delinquent to adult-criminal pipeline.” But Ozanne noted that Dane County spends $260 million a year on human services. That is over half the entire county government budget! He and Soglin spoke of treating kids and their wayward parents; the disorder is multi-generational.
Seems likely Dane County taxpayers will be asked in the near future to pay for a regional juvenile detention facility, given that the scandal-plagued state facility in far-north Lincoln Hills is being shut down. Count on the social justice warriors and their allies in Progressive Dane to throw up roadblocks. (They tried to derail the sheriff’s more humane, new jail, and demanded cops out of schools. The jail is being built but the school district has yet to contract with police for next school year.)
Pushed away by racial prejudice
“I would like to help,” said a white woman (a neighbor and acquaintance of ours) whose front window here in Orchard Ridge took a bullet. “But I feel like I am being pushed away.”
Unfortunately, the many black citizens who spoke did keep pushing. They blamed “white privilege,” economic conditions and racist police instead of individual behavior. In other words, they laid out a guilt trip — as if to suggest that slavery and Jim Crow justified car jackings or explained black teenagers shooting each other. Or addressed the horrific home life many of them experience.
Which is curious, because only Judge Mitchell, of all the speakers, referenced race. He talked about needing more authority figures “who look like me.” But he did not blame racism as much as delinquent parenting and inefficient social services.
Out in the hallway, your correspondent debated the speaker shown in the accompanying video. The well dressed young man was eager to display his erudition in the academic study of race & gender grievances. He kept demanding whether Blaska knew any history. Your Bloggeur responded that, at his age, he has lived quite a bit of it. We reprimanded the young man for prejudging due to my race. We wanted to ask the younger man at what point would he decide to stop being a victim? What advice might he give to the young carjackers? But the fellow was not interested in dialogue, only in checking off his talking points.
“We have individuals in this state who want to close their eyes and their ears on the racial biases which way heavily on me and people who look like me.” There are those of us who are black and brown who this community holds … in disdain. People look at me and say ‘I don’t want you in my neighborhood.’”