Monday, June 15, 2009

Actual lack of gunfire makes Milwaukee news

I would have gone to the Locust Street Festival yesterday, had I felt up to it. I usually try to go every year. It's free, it's great people-watching, great food, fun music, and just a nice place to wander around. I was glad I didn't go though, after I saw this from WISN news:
A 38-year-old man was shot Sunday (June 14th) in the middle of the Locust Street Festival in Milwaukee's Riverwest neighborhood... Investigators said he was shot in the left hand and right thigh. Police said the victim and the suspect knew each other. Police are still looking for the shooter, but said they know who it is.
(He) was released from Froedtert Hospital Monday morning.

"We believe this altercation stemmed over an earlier issue between the two men and it resulted today in a shoving match here,” Milwaukee Police Department Asst. Chief James Harpole said.
Police could not say whether the shooting was gang related, but witnesses felt that was at the root of today's violence. "When I saw the victim being led away in the stretcher, he flashed a gang sign," said a witness.

Refreshingly, though, investigators said the witnesses and the crowd were very cooperative, talking to police and alerting them to evidence at the scene.

So when I saw this article, (also from WISN) stating,
Several law enforcement agencies were called to State Fair Park Sunday night (the same day) to break up a large crowd...who was there for a scheduled rodeo and concert...when the band didn't show up, people got upset and started throwing beers on the stage. (Too bad Jake and Elwood Blues didn't show up to play "Rawhide" for three hours.) People also started demanding they get their money back.
State Fair police called for assistance for crowd control.
The spokeswoman said there were no guns or fights, just a large crowd.

I somehow felt a little relieved and even surprised. No gunfire!!! Sad, hey? What does this say about our city? As you may recall, I recently wrote that Brain and I didn't go to Riversplash this year because of threats of violence. I'm not super-fond of big crowds anyway, but throw in chaos and that just is not something I would call "fun."


Erik Helm said...

You have to love the little events that tell us it is summer in Milwaukee. The first shootings at festivals and the lakefront, grilling accidents, etc. Your title for this post deserves a Pulitzer. I am still laughing (at the title...the shooting was not funny...)

The state fair incident reminds me of when in college, I was bartending at the rock stage at Summerfest (dumb summer job)when the heavy metal band Quiet Riot failed to show up, and the crowd, consisting of large sociopaths with big hair decided to destroy the stage and eat the bleachers. Never been so happy of security thugs before or since!

The River Otter said...

"Eat the bleachers?" Please tell me this was some kind of typo!!

Erik Helm said...

Only my way of using language to illustrate the utter chaos that took place. Actually, they used the parts of the bleachers, once they had been smashed, as battering rams to try to get into the beer tent where I was wetting my pants.

mikemiller34 said...

Glendale Days is still safe, one would hope. (My Mom ran the Glendale Fourth of July parade for about a decade until 1992.)

Anonymous said...

I'm not afraid to die, but martyrdom for the right to attend a summer festival just doesn't seem worthwhile.
You only get one chance. I'll save it for something important.

Dave Reid said...

Some random acts aren't going to make me stop enjoying my city.

The River Otter said...

You're right, Dave- as usual- I just am unfortunately focusing on the negative right now.

Dave Reid said...

I hate to see these terrible events as much as anyone but I hate to see Milwaukee painted with a broad brush as "violent" when in fact much of the city is just fine.

The River Otter said...

@Dave- I know you are right. I lived in the 'hood; I've worked for years at a clinic that serves the underserved (uninsured, Medicaid, teen moms, etc). I find myself in the 'hood a lot- (and I mean that as a descriptive, not a negative, term- sorry if it has become a loaded word) and I see a lot: some good, mostly neutral, mostly not bad; the media focuses on the negative, of course. I'm not afraid to go to 6th and Concordia or 23rd and Keefe or 2nd and National, and I do, whether for "business", or for church, or to get a picture, or whatever. It's just the irony of it all (fun turning into violence) that makes me hold my breath. I don't want to feed into it either. I don't want white flight to have happened here or in other similar cities. I don't live in fear. I still love this city.