Kenosha, Wisconsin, was a city I was unfamiliar with before it became the subject of national headlines after the police shooting of Jacob Blake on Sunday. It's a town that boasts nice waterfront views of Lake Michigan and has a small-town vibe, while still having a population of around 100,000.
That is why the chaotic scenes that broke out on Sunday and continued until Tuesday were so jarring. Kenosha is by no means a big city; its police department does not have body cameras. Milwaukee and Chicago are the two biggest cities nearby. The destruction could have been stopped after the first day, but because of poor leadership at the state and local level, Kenosha's residents were at the mercy of the chaos.
"I don't know what's next, what do we do next, other than clean up and I have some loose ends with some customers that we have going on," Scott Carpenter told Townhall after his business was burned down on Monday night, adding "we can't leave our customers hanging...but I feel sadden because this is done."
"It's not justifiable," he explained. "We have insurance, yeah, but the insurance isn't there so somebody can destroy your things...we pay for it. It causes insurance rates to go up. It's basically theft. Whoever did this stole from us."
His mother, Linda, said it was wrong for people to destroy other people's livelihoods and police should be able to do their job. Only the police couldn't until the first 125 Wisconsin National Guardsmen came in during the night and were able to help secure the Kenosha County Courthouse. That allowed officers to then go out and escort firefighters to protect them as they put out the flames, but because there were so many fires, many had to be left alone for hours.
Can report fire trucks are responding to fires under police escort but they have to drive by many because of the amount of fires in Kenosha. pic.twitter.com/5446HxoMe4— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) August 25, 2020
This is why armed civilians came to town to protect private businesses and property. The police and National Guard were mainly focused on protecting the county courthouse. Due to the lack of manpower, shootings occurred between the armed civilians and rioters.
As I told Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Thursday, Kenosha was the second-worst riot I have covered this summer, with the first still being in Minneapolis.
Townhall's @Julio_Rosas11 joined @TuckerCarlson to report what he witnessed in Kenosha, Wisconsin.— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) August 28, 2020
Tonight, follow Julio for his on-the-ground coverage of protests outside of the White House. pic.twitter.com/iBBPWBrdL8
This comes as Americans are getting ready to vote for either a change in leadership or trust in President Trump being able to put down the unrest for good. Speakers at the Democratic National Convention were more than happy to talk about the peaceful protests but acted as if the riots and looting that have been occurring for over three months were not happening.
If the destruction can happen in a place like Kenosha, it can happen anywhere.