Thumbs down to sympathy for Beloit teens convicted of sexual assault. Institutional racism is a real problem, but it's far from clear that racism played any role in the sentencing this month of three Beloit teens convicted of forcing a 15-year-old girl to perform sex acts. Protesters at the Rock County Courthouse on Sept. 13 drew attention to the teens' cases, but this isn't a situation of the teens being wrongfully accused. It's unnerving, too, that some of the teens' defenders claimed the victim consented to the sex acts and then "yelled rape." Sorry, but this is the #MeToo era, and accusing an underage teenager of yelling "rape" isn't likely to win sympathizers, not even among ardent racial justice activists. We doubt, too, the victim's family considers the one-year Rock County Jail sentences too extreme.
Thumbs up to new prosecutors for Rock and Walworth counties. District attorney offices in each county will get one new prosecutor each thanks to the new state budget. Gov. Tony Evers took credit for 60 new positions created statewide, including the two local ones. But it's important to note this was a bipartisan effort. Rep. Amy Loudenbeck, R-Clinton, began touting months ago her legislative committee's plans to hire more help for both DAs and public defenders. "I know that our local legislators have been working really hard to help us with our prosecutor shortage, and it was a big effort from lot of different people to make this happen," Walworth County District Attorney Zeke Wiedenfeld said.
Thumbs down to state Senate majority leader embracing tariffs. Republican Scott Fitzgerald claims farmers support President Trump's tariffs, despite farmers' losing access to foreign markets and crop and milk prices remaining near historic lows. It's probably more accurate to say farmers are losing patience with Trump's trade war and its effect on their livelihoods. Wisconsin leads the nation in farm bankruptcies, with 45 filing Chapter 12 bankruptcies between June 2018 and June 2019. In declaring his candidacy last week to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, Fitzgerald praised Trump's trade war. "He's continually trying to push that envelope, and ultimately it's going to pay off for us," Fitzgerald said. Bankrupt farmers might not agree.
Thumbs up to Missy Long and a would-be hero. Her day didn't end well, with her SUV floating down the Rock River, but we must salute her intentions. She went to a boat launch to release a turtle that had appeared at her house. But she became distracted, apparently forgetting to put her vehicle in park. It rolled into the river. Another Good Samaritan in the making that day was Kevin Mageland, who worried someone was trapped in the vehicle and dove in after it. He told The Gazette he checked inside but didn't find anyone. A Facebook comment about this episode put it best: No good deed goes unpunished.