First, a sanitized news account of the racially-charged mob beatings that marred the Wisconsin State Fair late last week:
Local law enforcement agencies are investigating several incidents near State Fair Park late Thursday night. Milwaukee police said that around 11:10 p.m., squads were sent to the area for reports of battery, fighting and property damage being caused by an unruly crowd of "hundreds" of people. One officer described it as a "mob beating." Police said the group of young people attacked fair goers who were leaving the fair grounds. Police said that some victims were attacked while walking. They said others were pulled out of cars and off of motorcycles before being beaten.
Now, the rest of the disturbing story:
Witnesses' accounts claim everything from dozens to hundreds of young black people beating white people as they left State Fair Thursday night. Authorities have not given official estimates of the number of people involved in the attacks. "It looked like they were just going after white guys, white people," said Norb Roffers of Wind Lake in an interview with Newsradio 620 WTMJ. He left the State Fair Entrance near the corner of South 84th Street and West Schlinger Avenue in West Allis. "They were attacking everybody for no reason whatsoever."
"It was 100% racial," claimed Eric, an Iraq war veteran from St. Francis who says young people beat on his car. "I had a black couple on my right side, and these black kids were running in between all the cars, and they were pounding on my doors and trying to open up doors on my car, and they didn't do one thing to this black couple that was in this car next to us. They just kept walking right past their car. They were looking in everybody's windshield as they were running by, seeing who was white and who was black. Guarantee it."
"I saw them grab this white kid who was probably 14 or 15 years old. They just flung him into the road. They just jumped on him and started beating him. They were kicking him. He was on the ground. A girl picked up a construction sign and pushed it over on top of him. They were just running by and kicking him in the face."
A witness told WTMJ that as he worked in a kiosk at the State Fair Midway, he saw what he described as "a Riverwest type mob. Easily between 50 - 100 kids all under 18 and all African American. They were running around knocking people over (young kids and adults), looting the Midway games (stealing the prizes), starting fights." The witness, who asked not to be identified, couldn't say for certain if only white people were being attacked. "It was just complete chaos. There were police on horses, lots of security guards, and EMT's on the scene. They never got control of the area."
I fear that even covering this story runs the risk of stoking racial tensions, which is obviously not my intent. I strongly urge our readers to exhibit extraordinary discretion in the comments section. It's unsurprising that many of us haven't heard a peep about this story in the mainstream press -- it was off my radar until Drudge linked to a few local pieces over the weekend. The truth is that the press sometimes scrubs the racial component, or averts its gaze altogether, from these ugly stories.
There's an understandable concern that people may jump to unfair conclusions based on incidents like this. Indeed, it's unfortunate that some will surely seize on this episode as a means to reinforce bigotry. That being said, it happened. Let's not pretend otherwise. Let's not fear the facts. Why did a group of dozens-to-hundreds of black teenagers viciously attack pedestrians and motorists, reportedly for no reason other than the color of the victims' skin? This is not a pleasant question to ask -- and its answer is likely quite complex -- but it's a question that must be asked nonetheless.
UPDATE - MadisonConservative has an informative post up about this at Hot Air's Greenroom. Apparently, police have enforced a curfew at the fair, and the African-American Milwaukee County Sheriff is criticizing black community leaders for not doing more to discourage and prevent this sort of violence. Wow.
UPDATE II - Let's not the unruly, predominantly white mob that caused havoc in the Badger State just a few months ago. Speaking of which, tomorrow holds a decisive round of State Senate recall elections. More on that later...