Opinion | Bruce Butler: Waukesha was no accident | SummitDaily.com

Opinion | Bruce Butler: Waukesha was no accident

Tune into any of the hundreds of media platforms and there is no shortage of stories that document tragedy and the decline of law and order in modern American culture. We have all become somewhat numb to the news and, of course, we all filter the news through our desired outcomes and political biases. Despite our somewhat self-protective inoculation from bad news, every so often, a story emerges that shakes us to the core. One such story for me was the needless slaughter of innocent lives at last week’s Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin.

The horror of watching a driver speed through a parade with wanton disregard for life needs no explanation, but I think it really impacted me because I can clearly visualize the various perspectives of the parade participants and attendees. I can picture the 4-H kids on horseback. I can picture the young kids pushing forward to get an ice pop. I can picture fellow Rotarians selling car raffle tickets along the parade route. I can see my young daughter’s face smiling at the pure fun and joy of the moment. Attention is focused forward. People are not alert for speeding vehicles rushing down the thin line between the parade and the spectators. Fortunately, I cannot comprehend the terror of frantically searching for my daughter, my wife, my parents or my friends and neighbors among the injured and broken bodies along the parade route.

Prior to moving to Summit County, I lived in or just outside of major cities all my life. My wife and I moved to Summit County, in part, because we did not want to raise a family in a city. At approximately 72,000 population, some would say Waukesha is more of a city than a small town, but the reality is that Waukesha is Anytown U.S.A. The middle school band and the Dancing Grannies were just innocent people having fun with their friends and families.

When some inexplicably appalling event happens, there seems to be no shortage of politicians and virtue-signaling news commentators who must reflexively advocate for some new “cure-all” remedy to ensure an equivalent moral outrage never happens again. Interesting enough, I am not hearing those sentiments from many of the same in this case, perhaps because the root cause of this depraved act of inhumanity lies squarely at the feet of leftist prosecutors who have chosen to decriminalize criminal behavior, ignore rap sheets longer than Colfax Avenue and bestow misplaced sympathy on recidivist criminals over the safety of law-abiding citizens. The perpetrator in Waukesha should never have been released a week earlier on $1,000 bail after trying to murder the mother of one of his children by running her over with the same vehicle!

Simultaneously, I see news feeds of social-media-coordinated, smash-and-grab flash mob theft at malls and retailers across the United States, especially in the San Francisco area. I am watching vapid politicians like U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib propose legislation to empty all federal prisons in 10 years, likely one of the top 10 dumbest bills to be introduced in U.S. history!

I am not suggesting that some reasonable bail reform or circumstantial sentencing flexibility are unjustified, nor am I suggesting that every offender should be incarcerated. I do not think history repeats itself, rather it is somewhat cyclical or more like a pendulum: It moves left and right but does not stop on center. Three strikes and you’re out (in prison) and mandatory minimum sentencing were public reactions to prosecutors and judges exercising negligent judgment and failing to protect crime victims and the general public.

Fortunately, in Summit County, we have not seen smash-and-grab robberies, and the murder rates of Chicago, New York and elsewhere seem distant and surreal. My fear is that cities throughout history have dictated the rise and fall of culture and countries. Our major cities are failing. The corruption of the cities eventually spreads to the rest of the country, not vise-versa. It is time to stand up for regular people and real community justice. Families in Waukesha would not be mourning their losses and burying their dead if commonsense rule of law had been followed.

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