Meanwhile, Back in Wisconsin: Violence at State Fair Not Necessarily Race-Related, Plus Governor Gets Heckled, All on The First Day

I saw footage of this yesterday evening on Madison‘s Channel 3000, and it was disturbing to see on the very first day of this yearly Wisconsin celebration.  A witness had provided to Channel 3000 a video she had recorded regarding an attack on blacks from blacks during the melée to show that it was not race-related.  I have yet to find this particular video online, but I did see it during the 6 p.m. edition of the Channel 3000 news.  If anyone is thinking that there are some security videos to disprove this girl’s video about what happened during that evening, there weren’t any in the Midway according to police.

But what was worse, as I tried to get to the bottom of what happened, was the screaming headlines that “hundreds” of black youths were attacking white families from news sources across the nation and even across the pond in Britain.  In particular, WTMJ, the NBC affiliate in Milwaukee, was the main media offender, almost acting like Faux Noise in its zeal to show blacks transgressing against whites.

From what I understand, less than 50 black kids (or kids of color) were core instigators seen marauding, fighting and destroying and stealing property, as probably dozens of others were trying to get away or get out of the way.  Some others, no doubt, saw this behavior as an opportunity–or signal–to act out themselves as well, thus adding to the disarray.

Some other witnesses, particularly Midway employees, say that it wasn’t just black kids, that the groups of youths were racially diverse.

No, it was not sparked by an MC Hammer concert on the grounds.  Hammer ain’t like that; plus, whites were predominating at that comeback concert.  Even if young blacks had wanted to go, they couldn’t because the cost was probably prohibitive.  Besides, for 12-17 year olds, that is not their generation.

This disturbance apparently started out as a series of gang-related incidents.   As hundreds of youths converged on the Fair in the late afternoon and early evening,  many just to hang out, eat junk food, meet guys, meet girls, and see the exhibits and games, some kids saw some others with whom they wanted to even up the score.  Still others, some authorities believe, had a definite plan to disrupt the activities.  Gang-bang or plan, both ideas resulted in disastrous consequences.

When the kids ran out of available targets, they went after everyone else.  White employees of the Midway, but especially white patrons were beaten up, some very badly; others were attacked while on motorcycles and in cars as they left the Fairgrounds.  Naturally, many of these people saw themselves as victims of unprovoked black on white crime, and this has inflamed many in mostly white Milwaukee enclaves.

They also see black kids ruining other summer festivals, celebrations, and venues that no longer exist.


I’m not saying that I sympathize with the bangers.  I don’t excuse what they did.  Hell, no.  I would not want to meet these kids in broad daylight.  I’m saying that it is a bit more complicated than just that, that folks have to have a reason to riot.   Nothing is unprovoked, unless these masses of young people needed to be committed to an insane asylum. The unprovoked encounter with blacks (or people of color) is a stereotype that requires white people to be on their guard at all times, because black people can go off at any time for no reason. Um, hardly. There are black people who are not violent. There are black people who are violent. Period. While there is such a thing as mass hysteria, even that event has to have a bedrock reason.

It seems as if this may have been a flash rob incident.  Flash robbing has already occurred in places like Chicago, D.C., and Las Vegas.  What is flash robbing?  A spontaneous get together to commit a crime, like ripping off a store, using social media like Facebook and Twitter.  And usually the young perps are black, but they are more likely to be relatively uneducated, unemployed and poor.

This is a photo of a "flash mob," that is a more benign and enjoyable cousin of "flash robs" or "flash robbers." This get-together occurred last year, in London's Trafalgar Square, commemorating Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video on what would have been Jackson's 51st birthday. So dancing or demonstrating flash mobs are not a bad thing (Courtesy: Christian Science Monitor)

In some conservative circles of the blogosphere, flash robs have become a symbol of a nascent race war in America – Internet-era replays of the race riots of the 1960s and ‘70s. In one case, a flash rob participant reportedly yelled: “We need to kill all the white people around here!”

But experts suggest African-American participation in flash robs is merely the latest manifestation of decades-old discontent within the community, brought to a boil by the current economy.

“If there is some racial tension there, that fits … into a pattern of very similar kinds of public disturbances, from peaceful to riots that we’ve seen occur in the Middle East and in Paris,” says Christopher Ferguson, who studies violent behavior in youths at Texas A&M International University in Laredo. “You take a group of young men, you don’t give them jobs or much to do, you cut them off from the traditional avenues of advancement in society, and they get” upset.

But the incidents are playing upon latent fears among parts of white America. They come amid police reports in at least four states of a game called “Knockout King,” played primarily by black teenagers, where the point is to approach and quickly strike a stranger, often whites or immigrants, in an attempt to knock them unconscious with the first punch.


But Professor [Linda] Holtzman and others reject the notion that flash robs or Knockout King are widespread or fueled by race. US youth crime is at a 40-year low, and for the most part today’s disaffected youth mobs are tame compared with the urban race riots of the past.

“I actually believe that these young people in 2011 are more aracial than the kids were back in the 1960s,” says Phillip Jackson, the founder of the Million Father March, in Chicago. “They don’t care about race. It’s more about economics, it’s about politics, it’s actually more about poverty.”

Seen another way, he adds, flash mobs and Knockout King may not be born of overt racism, but they are inherently racial in terms of how they form and the response they require.

Now kids under the age of 18 are going to have to be accompanied by an adult when they visit the Fair, thus ending the fun (and the trust) for some. But frankly, the cops should have been on their guard against such things, because the time for loose surveillance for something as mellow as a state fair is over.   This is not some easy weekend gig.  These kids are growing more sophisticated, especially with cell phones.  And incidents like flash robbing swell seemingly out of nowhere, happen and then are over within 15 minutes to half an hour.  Which makes me wonder how long this melée took?  I know that for some, it seemed like a lifetime before help arrived, but on the other hand, it may not have gone on for very long, which is a hallmark of flash robbing and violence.

I wonder how many cops are on Twitter or Facebook keeping a watch on possible troublemakers and possible hits.

Immediately, the Youth Parental Guardian Admission Policy will go into effect. At 5pm today, Friday, August 5, 2011, the following policy will go into effect at all Fair admission gates.

1. All youth under the age of eighteen (18) years of age are required to be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian (age 21+) to be admitted to the Wisconsin State Fair after 5:00pm.

2. Anyone age 18 years or over may be asked to show a valid driver’s license or state identification card for proof of age in order to be admitted to the Wisconsin State Fair without a parent or guardian after 5:00pm.

3. Any young adult under 18 without a valid driver’s license or state identification card and not accompanied by a parent or guardian will not be admitted after 5:00pm.

4. Exceptions and challenges to this policy will be satisfied at the discretion of Fair Management.

“The foremost concern of the management of Wisconsin State Fair is the safety of its Fairgoers, volunteers, vendors, exhibitors and employees,” stated Chief Executive Officer of the Fair Park, Rick Frenette. “The behavior of certain groups of young people last night is not something we will tolerate. The Fair is family-oriented event and we are acting swiftly to protect the safety of those entering the Fairgrounds for the purposes of enjoying the Fair.”

Wisconsin State Fair is working with the State Patrol, City of West Allis and City of Milwaukee to have an increased police presence in the neighborhoods surrounding the Fair Park.

At least 25 people were arrested, mostly juveniles, in connection with the State Fair incident.  But dozens of others, I’m sure, remain at large and who got away with assaulting others and with the swag stolen at the Midway.

Earlier, a perpetrator of the Republican persuasion opened the State Fair, and for his pains, got booed and heckled.  Governor Scott Walker’s presence may have been a harbinger of everything going south later that day.

Milwaukee County didn’t exactly fare too well under Walker’s leadership as county executive; perhaps this as well as his administration of the state has gotten protestors’ dander up so early in the morning.

“Eight hundred thousand people are going to be here this week, and that handful of people will not distract the majority. People from around the state and around the Midwest are going to come and have a fun time,” Walker said.

There was a also a strong showing of Walker supporters in the crowd, but they appeared outnumbered and outshouted by the anti-Walker protesters.

The governor has become accustomed to seeing protesters but questioned why people would do that at the fair.”It’s one of those things people have a right to do.   Most people come to the fair, and they set aside politics and business and just have a good time,” Walker said.

The protesters did not let up, and so as many in the crowd called for his recall, the governor continued on and did what he came to do.

“We declare the 2011 Wisconsin State Fair open for business,” Walker said.

Other than the chanting during the governor’s address, the ceremony went off without incident.

The governor is expected to return for the governor’s auction next week.

Open for business, he keeps insisting, but no jobs.

Jobs that could keep some of these young people occupied, centered, learning a skill, off the streets and out of jail.

And so it goes.

~ by blksista on August 6, 2011.

2 Responses to “Meanwhile, Back in Wisconsin: Violence at State Fair Not Necessarily Race-Related, Plus Governor Gets Heckled, All on The First Day”

  1. These riots may not have been motivated by race, however race was the dominating factor. Your circular illogic to “explain” is Sophistry in its most juvenile form. This is truly lack of self discipline, self pride, and an inability to control oneself. Root cause and effect come down to lack of parenting skills and loss of societal norms. From whence do those fail, nanny statism at its worst. Plantation mentality forced upon undisciplined minds who therefor “revolt'”, against what they do not know, they just need lash out.


    • Fred, your reply belongs in the stone age. Race was not the dominating factor, CLASS was. And spelling and grammar is definitely not your forté.


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: