Dennis Degenhardt for State Assembly!

This totally missed my radar. I didn’t realize the special election to replace the late Bob Gannon in Wisconsin Assembly District 58 was coming up quite so soon…but it’s basically a month away on January 16th 2018. And I am particularly penitent that I missed that fact that there is a Democrat running for the seat.

Meet Dennis D Degenhardt!

As the President and CEO of Washington County’s credit union, Glacier Hills, I grew our credit union by 285% and doubled our membership by helping our members meet their financial needs. I understands the problems and challenges everyday people face, living paycheck to paycheck.

Currently I serve as the President of the Washington County Campus Foundation where we award more than $150,000 in scholarships every year to deserving students who are trying to better themselves before they enter the workforce.

I haven’t had the opportunity to talk with Mr. Degenhardt yet but please visit his website linked about or his Facebook page linked here!

Dennis’s Priorities for Wisconsin

Ensuring every Wisconsinite has the right to affordable healthcare

Creating family sustaining jobs with increased wages and improved benefits

Increasing public school funding because our children are our future, not a profit center

Demonstrating real fiscal responsibility by investing in Wisconsin, not phony fiscal “conservatism”

Repairing and maintaining infrastructure with current revenue, not increased debt and more delays

Revising and repairing the doomed Foxconn deal before it gets worse for taxpayers

Rep. Bob Gannon Goes Over His Own Edge

Sometimes you wonder where the party of personal responsibility, small government and local control gets their off the sanity continuum ideas. The latest off the charts wing nut is Wisconsin State Representative Bob Gannon (R-Slinger). His proposal is to put the fear of insurance rates into the hearts of business owners who have legally (under the Concealed Carry Legislation he and his cohort passed some time back) posted their establishments as no weapon areas. What does Rep. Gannon want to do?

Wisconsin’s 2011 concealed carry law creates immunity from civil liability for gun-related deaths for businesses that allow guns on their property.

Gannon’s proposal, dubbed the “Disarmed Citizen Compensation Act,” would go a step further in discouraging gun-free zones by allowing a victim of gun violence to sue businesses with such bans and recover triple the amount of damages without regard to who was at fault.

Obviously this is a threat to many small businesses who would see their insurance rates climb if they didn’t remove their ban on weapons on their premises. So sorry about private property rights and local control and the free market…

And what about personal responsibility? “without regard to who was at fault” says it all. Doesn’t this fly in the face of the meme that guns don’t kill people? Couldn’t this imply that the gun was at fault?

Needless to say this a horrible idea…one that I would be surprised to see the rest of the GOP get behind. They will lose the support of small business and probably insurance companies and agents.

So just hours after this and similar articles came out, I found this story of some interest:

Milwaukee police say Marquette University students were injured when a gun accidentally discharged at the entrance of a restaurant on campus.

A statement from the Milwaukee Police Department says the accident was reported shortly before 7:30 p.m. Wednesday when a man accidentally discharged a firearm near the front door of Sobelman’s Pub & Grill.

The statement says three women and one man suffered minor injuries that didn’t require medical treatment when they were struck by debris caused by the discharge.

The department says the man who discharged the gun fled the area and it wasn’t clear whether he was injured.

So Sobelman’s Pub would be at fault in this case if Rep. Gannon’s idea was already the law? Does that sound even remotely reasonable?

PS (I don’t know what Sobelman’s Pub policy is on weapons on their premises).

Republican Bob Gannon flips Peter Barca the bird on the floor of State Assembly

Yeah, Republican State Rep. Bob Gannon is a real “class act.”

Senate Minority Leader Peter Barca, a Kenosha Democrat, rose on Tuesday to argue with Rep. Bob Gannon over a news release Gannon issued last week complaining about Milwaukee’s homicide rate and how more homicides occur in black neighborhoods with high unemployment rates.

Gannon, a Slinger Republican, made an obscene gesture toward Barca. The minority leader looked shocked and demanded Republican leaders reprimand him.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, a Republican, hurried out of his office and whispered to Gannon, who then stood up and apologized for making what he called an improper gesture in the heat of battle.

What I find interesting about Bob Gannon flipping Peter Barca the bird on the floor of the Assembly is the lack of outrage by the same conservatives who caterwauled and called for Democratic Rep. Christine Sinicki’s head when she referred to Gov. Scott Walker in a less than flattering term.

That’s hypocrisy folks, plain and simple.

I’m not afraid of black kids with guns. I’m afraid of white Rambo wannabes with guns.

Or, an open letter to Rep. Bob Gannon

Dear Jerkface,

IScreen Shot 2015-12-21 at 1.49.03 PMn an eerie bit of coincidence, I was at a mall here in the Milwaukee area last Saturday at the same time when, at East Towne Mall in Madison, there was a shooting. In the same way, I was teaching high school in 1999 when Klebold and Harris shot up Columbine High School in Colorado, in the same way I was sitting in an airport in 2006 at the same moment British officials broke up the trans-Atlantic terror plot and forever consigned us to carrying shampoo in 3-oz. bottles. (Note to self: stop going places.)

What I mean is, I don’t walk into my opinion on this randomly; I have given some thought and have some experience to back up what I am about to say, which is this:

Shut up. Just shut your stupid, idiotic, racist pie hole. Staple it closed if you have to, but just. Shut. Up.

Because this is you:

“Wisconsin does not have a death penalty law, but with significant practice and careful aim, law abiding citizens can help clean our society of these scum bags,” Rep. Bob Gannon, R-Slinger, said in a statement on Monday. “Criminals no longer have any fear of our courts or our prisons, so it’s time that the citizens of this fine state stand up and fight back.”

Gannon said a “gang banger in the mall with a gun is going to think twice if there could be a law abiding CCW holder standing behind them fully prepared to shoot center mass, as this is how you’re trained to eliminate the threat these creeps pose to you, your family, and all law abiding citizens unwillingly dragged into their public crime spree.”

Look, Rep. Gannon, I don’t know who you’re trying to impress here, but I certainly expect that sitting in your exurban Slinger house-farm home there on Big Cedar Lake, among your WASPy neighbors, you feel like a big man. In your mind, you’ve tied on the headband and you’re ready to be the big defender of freedom, liberty, and white folks everywhere.

And along those lines, why don’t you just go ahead and break out the n-word? “Gang-bangers, thugs, and scum” is so cumbersome, and we all know what you’re thinking. Just go ahead and say it.

But here’s where I’m going with this. If there are any white people out there likely to face a situation where some “gang-banger” pulls a gun on them, it’s not you. It’s not randos at a mall. It’s people like this blog’s proprietor Zach whose job puts his safety on the line every day, and he thinks you’re insane.

Or it’s me, since I go to work every day not in quite the same dangerous situations that Zach does, but to teach a bunch of black and brown teenagers, most of which I’m guessing if you saw them being loud and having fun at the mall, you would probably say are “gang-bangers, thugs, and scum” and you’d wish you had your gun there with you in case something went down.

simpson-gifAs I wrote in that Columbine post linked above, these kids don’t scare me. Even the ones who walk into my class after having been absent for three months straight and tell me they were in jail for battery or assault or whatever, they don’t scare me. When I see them at the mall, as I sometimes do, even the ones who are already felons, they don’t scare me. Despite what you may think and despite what Donald Trump may tweet, you and I and the white folks you pander to are not likely to be shot at by black or brown people we don’t know.

Because here’s the thing, Rep. Gannon: If some kid at my school, or in the mall, has a beef with some other kid–as is apparently true in the shooting that happened last Saturday–any violence will be constrained to that beef.

Does it mean that there are never innocent bystanders hurt? Of course not–that happens too often and it’s one of the reasons why I fight not to have more guns on the street but fewer: how many more Sierra Guitons would there have been if bystanders started shooting, too? How many more funerals would my fellow MPS teachers and I have to go to if the vigilante society you want comes true? Because we go to too many already (and never see you there, by the way).

Your vision of the world is different, though, informed not by reality but by your membership in the gun-makers lobbying group the National Rifle Association and its influence-peddling PAC spending on your fellow GOPers. You buy the line that the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun, that an armed society is a polite society, that–as you put it to the WSJ–the gang-banger is going to “think twice” if he’s worried someone else with a gun is standing behind him lining up his center mass for a kill shot.

That line, to put it politely, is bullshit.

For one, there are almost never instances when someone without law-enforcement or military training has stopped a mass shooting. Indeed, concealed carry permit holders are much more likely to commit such shootings. The fact is, the profile of your average, median mass shooter in this country is someone who looks like you, Rep. Gannon, not someone who looks like my students. Suburban white kids with rage issues shoot up schools and murder their teachers, not my students.

And in the kind of incident that happened Saturday at East Towne Mall, when apparently two groups of teenagers were beefing, the gun came out even though the perpetrator may well have thought his victim himself was armed. (I have often said that homicide stats from places like Chicago or Milwaukee, where armed men and teenagers shoot and kill other armed men and teenagers, disproves the idea that more guns would reduce the amount of crime and violence.)

The last thing that needed to happen in a situation like Saturday’s is for some pasty-faced Rambo wannabe to start shooting. No one else was targeted by Saturday’s shooter than the one who got shot. But imagine the chaos when that shooter whips around and starts shooting back at Rambo: how many innocents get hit when the number of bullets flying escalates exponentially?

Worst of all, there’s people like you, the ones who think it’s their job to make sure that gun manufacturers keep profiting with no regulation, even though their products kill more people, now, than cars do, even though thousands of children are killed by guns every year, even though gun violence collectively costs American and Wisconsin tax payers hundreds of billions a year. And, when violence does happen, when we should be mourning the dead and plotting how to stop the spread of such violence, your first thoughts are bizarre revenge fantasies and deadly vigilante scenarios–let’s kill all those n-words, you say, maybe not out loud, but that’s sure what it sounds like when you translate the code words from your statements.

So shut up, Rep. Gannon. You don’t have the moral high ground, you don’t have the facts, and you sure as hell don’t have an ounce of real compassion for the people whose lives are actually touched by gun violence. What you do have is the profile of someone much more likely to be a killer than to be killed, and a track record of trying to multiply the number of guns around us any and everywhere. You scare me. You, sir, are the problem, not the answer.

Note: Until the end of the year, I am giving away this song I wrote last summer after the on-camera deaths of a reporter and her cameraman. Pay nothing, or pay something–all proceeds will be donated to the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence.

Rep. Bob Gannon wants armed vigilantes to kill “scum bags”

In response to a shooting at Madison’s East Towne Mall on Saturday, Republican State Rep. Bob Gannon issued a press release opining that it might be a good idea to have “law abiding citizens” help clean Wisconsin of “scum bags” by shooting said “scum bags” to death.

122115nogunsA state lawmaker is arguing that armed citizens can help clean up the “scum bags” in society.

In a press release criticizing gun free zone policies, state Rep. Bob Gannon (R-Slinger) makes the case for more citizens carrying firearms to protect themselves from criminal elements. Gannon said “Wisconsin does not have a death penalty law, but with significant practice and careful aim, law abiding citizens can help clean our society of these scum bags. Criminals no longer have any fear of our courts or our prisons, so it’s time that the citizens of this fine state stand up and fight back.”

Gannon’s release follows a shooting at Madison’s East Towne Mall on Saturday, which is a gun free zone. A 19-year-old man received a non-fatal gunshot wound to the leg after a weapon was fired during a fight between two groups of people. The Slinger Republican argued the incident “makes clear that the leftist theory that a gun symbol inside of a circle with a line through it does not make the citizens of this state safer. It is evident that the criminal whom shot off his pistol at the mall either couldn’t read the gun ban sign or he didn’t comprehend the universal symbol that is now referred to as a target rich environment.”

Rep. Gannon’s suggestion that gun-toting citizens should be judge, jury, and executioner when they see crimes being committed is chilling, and no doubt if his efforts to put guns in Wisconsin’s university system classrooms we can expect to see more stories like this.