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I’m going to start a club. There will be a website, membership cards, maybe a club song and a special handshake.
It’s going to be a club for whackos. The nutjobs. The bizarre fringe elements among us. Membership in the crazed Tea Party isn’t even enough to get you in and that ought to tell you something about the membership requirements.
Our amusing sheriff, David Clarke is the founding and first member of the Crazy Idea Club.
But hot on his heels for the member of the month award comes Ald. Bob Donovan, he of the greased back hair, clouded thought process and a mouth only a local TV station hard up for news could love.
I’m almost at a loss to figure out how to accurately describe this guy. If you took Michelle Bachmann, put her in pants, slicked her hair back and turned her loose in front of a TV camera we are close to capturing the essence of Bob Donovan.
Donovan knocked me out of my chair this week when he piled on the latest death of a child due to co-sleeping or unsafe sleeping conditions. The 3-month-old died last week.
Ever the voice of reason, Donovan issued a press release calling for prosecution of adults who are involved with the death of an infant under these conditions.
"The word needs to get out that punishment will come if one contributes directly to a co-sleeping death while under the influence (presumably of drugs or alcohol)," he blustered.
He followed up that enlightened thought with a paragraph that was in boldface and had words that were all capital letters. I guess that was to show that this was an important paragraph to him.
"We don’t need more restorative justice. We don’t need more hand-holding. We don’t need more parenting classes. We don’t need more free cribs. The answer – what we DO need – is pure and simple: JAIL."
It almost leaves you breathless, doesn’t it. Donovan is obviously from the bombast school of politics.
If you say it loud enough and use enough high-falutin words, people will be impressed. What he doesn’t seem to realize is that the exact opposite is true.
These instances of infant death are tragic. I’m certain that the adults involved are torn up by what happened. Sure, some of them may be drunk and some may have smoked a joint, but I don’t believe anyone sets out to intentionally kill their child by co-sleeping.
Maybe ignorance is involved, but we aren’t going to put people in jail because they are ignorant. Maybe the adults are callous, or inattentive or lonely. But none of those are jailable offenses.
We have made progress as a society on these deaths. The yearly totals continue to drop. In 2007 there were 29 deaths recorded by the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner. The totals have continued to drop each year since then.
Certainly more needs to be done, as I wrote last week.
Apparently, restorative justice and hand-holding and parenting classes free cribs actually do work.
But when hawkish publicity hounds like Donovan get into the act with their ridiculous ideas, it makes it that much harder to treat this with the seriousness it deserves.
With a history in Milwaukee stretching back decades, Dave tries to bring a unique perspective to his writing, whether it's sports, politics, theater or any other issue.
He's seen Milwaukee grow, suffer pangs of growth, strive for success and has been involved in many efforts to both shape and re-shape the city. He's a happy man, now that he's quit playing golf, and enjoys music, his children and grandchildren and the myriad of sports in this state. He loves great food and hates bullies and people who think they are smarter than everyone else.
This whole Internet thing continues to baffle him, but he's willing to play the game as long as OnMilwaukee.com keeps lending him a helping hand. He is constantly amazed that just a few dedicated people can provide so much news and information to a hungry public.
Despite some opinions to the contrary, Dave likes most stuff. But he is a skeptic who constantly wonders about the world around him. So many questions, so few answers.