Boots & Sabers

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2155, 22 Oct 22

Monsters in our midst

Here is my full column from the Washington County Daily News this week. I watched a lot more of the trial later in the week and it only got worse.

Thanks to the live stream from Court TV, I have watched dozens and dozens of hours of the trial of Darrell Brooks. It continues this week. I highly encourage readers to tune in for a few hours to watch Brooks in long form instead of in snippets of news story. The man is a monster.


Brooks has been charged with 76 crimes including 6 murders after he drove his car through the Waukesha Christmas Parade last year running down at least 67 people. He has chosen to represent himself which puts him in the position of questioning his victims, witnesses, and law enforcement personnel who had to clean up his carnage. Throughout the trial, Brooks’ utter lack of remorse, callous revictimization of people whose lives he has devastated, and mockery of the rule of law is infuriating.


I take comfort knowing that when Brooks is convicted and sentenced that Wisconsin now has truth in sentencing. Brooks will never be paroled by the likes of Governor Tony Evers and released back into our midst.


When Tony Evers ran for office with Mandela Barnes, he promised to cut Wisconsin’s prison population in half.


He has been working hard to keep that promise through his appointed chair of the Wisconsin Parole Commission. Wisconsin ended its parole system about twenty-two years ago in the waning days of Governor Tommy Thompson’s administration, but criminals convicted before that time are still eligible for parole.


According to data released by the Wisconsin Parole Commission to conservative news site Wisconsin Right Now, the Wisconsin Parole Commission under Evers’ appointee has been releasing an average of two felons per week with discretionary paroles from January to May of this year. They are on pace to release over 100 of the most vicious murders, rapists, and child molesters this state has ever seen by the end of the year. These monsters will be roaming the streets of Wisconsin.


In the gubernatorial debate hosted by the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association between Governor Tony Evers and challenger Tim Michels last week, Evers prevaricated and evaded a question about his liberal support of discretionary paroles. First, Evers said that the governor does not control the Parole Board. Then he took credit for reversing the discretionary early parole of murderer Douglas Balsewicz and firing the Chair of the Parole Board.


Then he pivoted to talk about his support for more government spending on shared revenue. At no point did Evers commit to slow or stop the emptying of our prisons of murderers and rapists with discretionary paroles even though he bragged about his ability to do so.


Tony Evers is choosing to release violent criminals. He could stop it, but he is not doing so because he wants it to happen. He wants violent felons to be released into our communities because social justice politics is more important to him than victims and their families. Evers’ choices will surely lead to even more victims and families. Wisconsin Right Now has been reminding us of some of the crimes that these criminals committed. Joseph Michalkiewicz was sentenced to life for killing a gas station attendant with a screwdriver, pipe wrench, and hatchet. He was released in January of this year after serving less than twenty years. He is 62 years old.


Dennis Steele brutalized and murdered a 3-year-old toddler by breaking his ribs and crushing his skull. He was sentenced to a life sentence. He was released in February after serving just 32 years. He is only 54 years old with many years ahead of him.


David Alliet grabbed a UW-Eau Claire student off the street and violently raped her. He was sentenced to 40 years in prison but was released in July after serving only 23 years. He is 53 years old.


The list is agonizingly long with hundreds of victims who were killed or forever traumatized by these crooks.


One case looks eerily familiar. Shannon Bailey raced his car down a crowded street and onto the sidewalk running down 30 people and killing one. 22 years later, he is back on the street thanks to Evers’ Parole Commission. This is a full 35 years before he would have otherwise been released. If this is the kind of monster that Evers’ Parole Commission released, would they release Darrell Brooks in 22 years if they could?


While the passage of time may diminish the memory, it does not diminish the savagery committed by these felons. For every criminal released by Evers’ Parole Commission, there are victims and families whose lives have been forever altered. In many cases, there are victims who never got to see another sunrise. While their lives have been shattered, the monsters who committed the crimes are now enjoying their freedom thanks to the policy decisions of Governor Tony Evers.


He could have stopped these felons from being released like he took credit for doing during the debate, but Evers chose to let them all out.


2155, 22 October 2022


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