By Jay Bullock Special to Published Jan 19, 2016 at 3:16 PM

The opinions expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect the opinions of, its advertisers or editorial staff.

I was at a party over the weekend, and I met a nice couple currently living in Slinger. I really, really, really wanted to ask them about Bob Gannon, who also hails from there, but the common-sense prohibition against talking politics at your wife's work party meant I didn't bring it up.

Gannon holds the Wisconsin state assembly seat once once held by Glenn Grothman, and he has not let down those of us who miss Grothman's racially-charged, borderline insane ramblings and pronouncements since his ascension to Washington as the area's House member.

Gannon first came to my attention last month when, responding to a shooting at a mall in Madison, he suggested that good clean white folks like himself take up arms to stop the "gang-bangers, thugs, and scum" like the kids in that shooting. That the mall was a gun-free zone, Gannon suggested, made it an easy target for gun violence.

No one was killed, and no bystanders were hurt in the shooting, so my third thought upon reading Gannon's words was that if he had his way and a few of those good clean white folks had whipped out their pistols and started firing at the "scum" doing the shooting, people would surely have been killed and injured in the chaotic hail of bullets.

My second thought, so you know, was that Gannon needs a proofreader, or at least to learn the difference between who and whom.

And my first thought was that the NRA member Gannon himself was the real threat and a clear danger to the citizens of Wisconsin (beware, I used some strong language in that piece).

Shortly thereafter, Gannon further distinguished himself by attempting to blame Milwaukee's crime rate for the state's sluggish job growth. On the one hand, Milwaukee's economy is doing pretty well compared to many parts of the state. On the other hand, Gannon's Republican colleagues, led by Gov. Scott Walker, themselves have a thoroughly unimpressive record trying to boost the state's employment fortunes.

On the third hand, though, Gannon sounds just straight-up racist. You'd think that after the "gang-bangers, thugs and scum" flap he'd be careful about using racially charged language. And maybe get a copy editor. But no.

"Milwaukee is ranked the sixth highest city nationally in per capita murders by Forbes," Gannon wrote, "which makes it obvious that our largest urban center is the anchor holding back the ship of state as far as jobs is concerned." Obvious how?

Gannon falls into a classic post hoc fallacy, confusing correlation with causation. "Milwaukee leads in murders and mayhem per capita," he opined, "with a large number of these crimes occurring in mainly black neighborhoods, the same neighborhoods with the worst unemployment rates in the state. ... What employer will build or expand when they fear muggings, carjackings, attempted murder, or other serious criminal threats to their employees?"

While the relationship between crime, unemployment and poverty is complicated, Gannon gets the relationship backwards from what research suggests. Rather than crime driving away jobs, as Gannon sees it, it's a lack of jobs that drives crime rates up. If Gannon gave a single concern for Wisconsin's black population beyond their value as a target, he would be working to bring jobs to the city in order to curb the crime rate. Instead, he broadcasts to the world that if they have jobs to offer, they should not bother bringing them to Milwaukee.

Gannon goes on to blame the "democrat mayor" and "democrat district attorney" in Milwaukee and Milwaukee County for being concerned not about the crime but about a "tiny trolley" and the investigation of alleged election wrongdoing by Walker and others. Ha ha, tiny trolley. I'm sure Tom Barrett is crying in his beer now – the beer he was drinking to celebrate the current state of Milwaukee's urban economic revival. The John Doe pot-shot is about what you'd expect from someone who probably gets all his news from Charlie Sykes.

Gannon also makes no mention of Madison, likewise led by politicians of a Democratic stripe and, like Milwaukee, driving the economy of the state right now.

Last week, Gannon followed up his rhetorical middle finger at Milwaukee with a literal one aimed at the Democratic Assembly leader Peter Barca on the floor of the Wisconsin legislature. Though Gannon apologized for letting a moment's anger get the better of his digital control, that moment also included additional shots at Milwaukee, which he blamed for the state's heroin epidemic. "If Milwaukee wants to export something, how about you export safety and jobs?" he asked.

So that's where we are with this Gannon fellow. In just a month, he went from someone I'd never even heard of to a significant political embarrassment for the state, his comments and press releases having gone viral nationally. It only leaves the question of who the brave rational Republican will be to challenge Gannon in this year's primary election.

Surely the people of Slinger and the rest of the 58th district don't want to be known for a clown like Gannon. I am sure that, like those nice people I met at the party the other night, most of Gannon's constituents are not completely unhinged monsters whose idea of a good time is vigilante fantasies and alienating people.

I know the 58th won't vote for a Democrat – even before the last pro-Republican redistricting, that part of Wisconsin was a deep and unchanging red – which is why it needs to be a Republican in the primary. Someone must step up, and soon.

Jay Bullock Special to
Jay Bullock is a high school English teacher in Milwaukee, columnist for the Bay View Compass, singer-songwriter and occasional improv comedian.