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Horrific Murder Case Puts Milwaukee’s Progressive Failures in Spotlight

Horrific Murder Case Puts Milwaukee’s Progressive Failures in Spotlight
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett speaks during his State of the City address, Monday, Feb. 8, 2016, in Milwaukee, Wis. Barrett said his plan for Wisconsin's largest city includes economic development, health care and violence prevention. (AP Photo/Greg Moore)

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, has been a bastion of the Left for over a century now; the last Republican mayor left office in 1908, and a string of Democratic and socialist mayors has ensued. Various sources have rated the city as one of the ten poorest in the nation, and also as one of the most segregated.

Both of these failures can only be viewed as products of the party in power. After 100 years, the Left surely owns this one.

The latest is Tom Barrett, a former U.S. congressman who ran for mayor when his district was eliminated through redistricting, and who has twice run — and thankfully lost — bids to become governor. Barrett’s administration has been characterized by a program of rapid gentrification of the downtown area — typified by his “trolley to nowhere,” an oblong closed loop in the downtown area being built with a federal grant from the Obama administration, in a city which wisely did away with street cars over half a century ago — at the expense of the surrounding neighborhoods which are descending into chaos as a result.

Further evidence of this depravity was provided by the murder last week of Greg Zyszkiewicz.

The 64-year-old city building inspector was on a routine call in one of those crumbling neighborhoods. Mr. Zyszkiewicz, by all accounts a model citizen and family man, was found slumped over the wheel of his car with the motor running, apparently the victim of an attempted car theft gone wrong.

Five suspects were apprehended, of which three have been charged: two 17-year-olds and a 21-year-old, all three of whom have criminal histories. The 21-year-old was a convicted felon out on bail awaiting sentencing when the murder took place. One of the 17-year-olds shot Mr. Zyszkiewicz in the face with a sawed-off shotgun.

This horrible crime was neither the end of the story nor its beginning, just an incident in the middle.

A crime spree began on March 22 in a car that had itself been stolen several weeks earlier. They first drove to a gas station, where they robbed a woman and stole her car, a Kia. Mr. Zyszkiewicz’s Mustang was to be their third acquisition; per the testimony of one of the three, when Zyszkiewicz resisted, his teenage killer pulled the trigger “in a panic.”

But they weren’t in such a panic. These three monsters were so stone-cold dead inside that they simply continued on their spree, until chased and caught in the first two stolen cars some hours after the killing.

The 21-year-old was convicted of felony theft in June 2016. The judge thoughtfully added as a condition of his bail prior to sentencing that he not commit any new crime. Oh — he was also out on bail, by the way, for felony possession of a firearm and for felony bail jumping, but that apparently didn’t register with the Milwaukee judiciary.

In fact, this prolific 21-year-old had already, on six occasions, been charged with illegal possession of a firearm — but five of those times that charge was dropped as part of a plea bargain.

No, we’re not done. There was a domestic violence complaint against him registered on March 22. He had threatened the mother of his six-month-old son with the sawed-off shotgun that was used to kill Mr. Zyszkiewicz, and punched her in the face several times.

Why? She had apparently refused to let him see his son. Who can blame her?

One of the 17-year-olds was himself out on bail for operating a motor vehicle without the consent of the owner. Again, a condition of his bail was simply that he commit no new crime.

In Milwaukee, it seems you need to actually blow an innocent man’s brains out at point blank range for a prosecutor to convince a judge to order remand.

Of course, one of the hallmarks of the Barrett administration has been an incessant demand for more restrictive gun control laws. Here, we have prima facie evidence of how effective such laws would be.

Memo to Mayor Barrett: They call them criminals because they don’t obey laws already on the books. His string of six firearm violations was a hint that further gun control isn’t a response to the problem. And to the municipal judiciary: Letting violent felons out on bail on the condition that they commit no new crimes doesn’t reduce the crime rate, or make Milwaukee safer.

The people of Milwaukee need to recognize that the Democratic approach to crime simply facilitates it. They need to make the necessary changes in cultural attitudes. They failed Mr. Zyszkiewicz.

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