What the gentle reader might not know is that the cowardly Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke found himself to be above his head and ran to Scott Walker for help. Walker granted Clarke's request and ordered out the National Guard, even though they don't have a mission or objective yet.
It reminded me of another Wisconsin governor that was a lot like Walker - Jeremiah Rusk. But in 1886, it was laborers and not African Americans who were the targets:
Governor Rusk was under considerable pressure from employers to stop the strike. Employers were saying that they would turn the entire society upside down and use the bombing in Haymarket Square as their proof that a revolution is under way.It also needs to be pointed out that this isn't the first time Walker has threatened to use military force against peaceful protesters:
Rusk called the Mills and told Captain Treaumer of the Lincoln Guard "if the strikers try to enter the mill, shoot to kill." Captain Treaumer then ordered his men to pick out a man, concentrate and kill him when the order is given. The strikers spent the night in open fields nearby while the Militia camps stayed at the Mills with sentries posted. During the night the sentries were shooting at anything that moved. A Navy tug brought provisions for the guard.
Around nine in the morning the strikers gathered again chanting "eight hours," a reporter who slept with them reported that it was odd that this was a group with no real leadership, but everyone was united in one single purpose.
The crowd approached the mill and faced the militia who were ready to fire. Before Treaumer knew the crowd's real intentions he ordered halt, but the strikers, who were about two hundred yards away, did not hear him.
He ordered the militia to fire. The crowd was in chaos as people fled the scene. The Milwaukee Journal reported that six were dead and at least eight more were expected to die within twenty four hours.
In 1886, Wisconsin made history right here in little old Bay View. The situation then is being eerily repeated by our own Governor Rusk Walker who is calling for the removal of all worker rights in both the public and private sectors, and has threatened said workers with the National Guard if there is any "unrest." What is worrisome is that he has not defined what he considers "unrest."One might have hoped better from even Walker, but when his supporters and fellow right wing nut jobs have no issue with mocking the death of a black man, I wouldn't put anything past Walker - especially if he thinks it might help his slim to nonexistent chances to be president.
Back in 1886, workers were joining forces and demanding pay raises and eight hour work days. They almost shut down every business in the city until they agreed to start treating their workers with respect and as people. When the strikers came to Rolling Mills in Bay View, where things got ugly. Governor Rusk, at the pleading of big businesses (WMC, anyone?), sent out the state militia. The rest, as they say, is history...