SHOW THOSE KIDS WHO'S BOSS

If you've never lived in Wisconsin and therefore the name "Waukesha" means nothing to you, don't worry. Your state or urban area has a place just like it. It's a suburb where the whitest, most Jesus-loving upper middle class people congregate and attempt to insulate themselves from the wickedness (and darkness, wink!) of the Big City. If you hear the name of a particular locale and the first adjective that comes to mind in the free association game is "sanctimonious", that's your Waukesha.

Waukesha is Scott Walker territory, the place where everyone knows that the government is bad, Jesus is good, and the purpose of law enforcement is to keep the colored folk out. To anyone who has been there, be it once or for a lifetime, it is no surprise at all to hear that two 12 year old kids who stabbed a classmate 19 times because of something they read on the internet are going to be tried as adults. It is precisely the kind of place where everyone is so eager to prove their Tough on Crime and Personal Responsibility is #1 credentials that they would think such a thing appropriate. Never mind that the defendants are not only children, but children so naive that they would think something about a ghost on a website called "CreepyPasta Wiki" is real.

This is the kind of attitude toward crime and social issues that predominates in white America, the obviously overcompensating tough guy swagger that makes every crime a lock-and-throw-away-key offense. Judges, lawyers, and juries are unnecessary because everyone is guilty and the appropriate sentence is death or, when death cannot be plausibly argued, decades of hard labor and beatings. When the dick-measuring progresses to the point that literal children – not some 17 year old who just barely qualifies as a minor and has already established a criminal record – are being tried as adults without hesitation, most people would pause a moment or two and reflect. A reasonable person might ask a question like, "What the hell is wrong with us?" and "Can criminal agency even be established according to the law on defendants who are 12 and think ghosts are real?" But if you thought like that, you would have moved out of a place like Waukesha long ago. Or they've found some reason to lock you up.

In a community of assholes, the competition to prove oneself the biggest asshole is intense and unceasing.

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25 Responses to “SHOW THOSE KIDS WHO'S BOSS”

  1. Middle Seaman Says:

    You have to admit that best moral values come from religion. This place in Wis is just one of many. The Taliban are moral people and they kill just the sinners. Pedophilia can't take place in the house of god. Scott Walker, the nicest man in Wis, got moral fascist values through religious studies. Until about 50 years ago, god called for segregation. Another moral step.

  2. Then Again Says:

    I think it's wrong to try obviously deluded children as adults, but I can't help but think of that Onion story: "White girl to be tried as black man". I wonder what caused the system to strip white preteens of their exceptional status. I assume they must be poor, or not pretty enough, or the percieved sapphic subtext was enough to waive the default.

  3. Dbp Says:

    @then again

    My guess is the constant need to find pure evil under every rock. Everything needs to be a sensation and an existential threat. Plus there's likely the "i'm stoppin' them devil worsh'ping girls 'cawse I'm a hero and jesus amen " angle.

  4. Andrew Says:

    I'm not okay with trying 12 year olds as adults, and I haven't been following the story, but I'm pretty sure that at age 12, I knew that stabbing someone was wrong and would bring serious consequences.

  5. democommie Says:

    "Victim was "one millimeter away from certain death," according to court documents"

    That's from the Chief of Police.

    My guess? He's neither a doctor nor a forensics expert. The crime is horrific enough, no need to dress it up.

  6. J. Dryden Says:

    This is weird for me, because my first teaching job was at Carroll College (now Carroll University), located in Waukesha. Where I lived. For two years. And where I really enjoyed living. Where my neighbors–actual neighbors!–were friendly and helpful, the streets clean and safe, the restaurants few but decent, and the vibe generally one of relaxed good humor. I've said before that, based on my experience living there, I would have been reasonably content to continue to do so (but then the tenure-track job offer came, so, you know, adios.)

    It really was only after I left that I began to hear/read about The Other Waukesha, and I was shocked–genuinely shocked, not 'Captain Renault' shocked. Election malfeasance, police heavy-handedness, etc.–this had not been my experience at all.

    Now, though, I realize: Well, duh, you idiot. Look in the mirror. You look and sound as if you were born with a "I Am John Galt" bumpersticker on your butt. You could walk into any megachurch in the country and seem right at home. You're progressive, but you're the sneaky button-down kind. You taught at the local college. No wonder you were treated with politeness and deference. Now, if you'd been, oh, say *anything else*, you might have had a *slightly* different experience…

    Which saddens me. I had such a nice time at the picnic that it never occurred to me that it was a sheet-optional Klan rally.

  7. geoff Says:

    My younger daughter just turned 18, and is one of those "digital natives" you hear about on the teevee. As someone who's recently familiar with twelve year old girls I think I can say that the girls in question are either a) REALLY stupid, b) certifiably insane, or c) lying about their motive. I certainly do not believe these children should be charged as adults, but I also find it very hard to accept that they attempted to kill someone because of an internet meme. It just doesn't wash.

  8. Suttree Says:

    This is all complete conjecture on my part but if your Waukesha was anything like my Glen Ridge circa !989 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glen_Ridge_rape, it tends to be kids who feel superior due to their wealthy parents. I have read the linked article and it says nothing of the sort due to the very young age of the assailants.

    Maybe I am going to start yelling at clouds at the age of 40 but it certainly seems like either kids are getting some weird ideas from shitty movies or the intertubes or that we just happen to have more access to these stories due to increased media presence that would rather cover local horror stories as opposed to the horror that our world endures every single day. As a side note, my older sister and her best friends watched all of those terrible movies when I was a child and they all turned out to be spectacular, caring human beings. I could not watch them as a child, and zi can still not watch them.

    So here is my input with absolutely no facts at all. White and wealthy. Pretty and popular. That is why it happens to have made the media. No one cares when it happens in New Orleans because white children do not live there.

  9. Suttree Says:

    I meant go to school there. Surely there are white children, albeit a minority.

  10. Scott Says:

    Just saw this story on the evening news and my take-aways were:

    1. Even 12 year olds know that stabbing people is a bad idea.
    But
    2. Charging 12-year-olds as adults is so extraordinary that something must have been left out of the story.
    So
    3. I don't have nearly enough information to form an opinion.

  11. Captain Blicero Says:

    Whether they truly think Slender Man is "real" is for a mental health professional to decide, so can we please stop trotting that out self-righteously? They shouldn't be tried as adults, regardless.

  12. Denialist Duck Says:

    I was having similar thoughts about this Bowe Bergdahl thing, we're pretty much sold out of pitchforks and torch making material up here not far from his hometown… everybody wants a piece of the "traitor."

  13. buckyblue Says:

    There's a difference between the city of Waukesha and the county of Waukesha. Usually when people talk about Waukesha and its characteristics they are referencing the county, though they think the city would be just the same. Waukesha county is Scott Walker's wheel house, the city not so much. Most local elections go to Republicans but we have elected Dems out of here. Usually victory margin for the state assembly seat that is basically the city is 47-53 republican. It is becoming much browner, the school I teach at is 1/3 hispanic. It's the school the girls would have gone to. They lived in an area of low income housing not far from where the stabbing took place (drove by there yesterday). When you see pictures of the girls don't think stuck up rich bitch, but something closer to white trash.

    Wisconsin has some of the most draconian laws concerning juveniles. Adult when you're 17, any felony tried as an adult when you're 15-16 and can be waived into adult court when you're 10. The girls had on the clothes covered in blood when the cops caught them nearly five miles away because they were going to walk 'up-north' to a national forest where slenderman had a mansion (300+ miles). One of the girls had the knife in her backpack. But then again, they did hold her down and stab her and leave her in the forest to bleed-out. Pretty gruesome.

  14. c u n d gulag Says:

    If the 2 girls could have gotten their hands on a gun somewhere, had taken the other girl out in the woods and shot and killed her, saying that they found the gun in the woods, and were "Just goofing around, and didn't mean to shoot their friend," then they'd likely have walked.

    I think people think of stabbing someone multiple times is vicious.
    But at this point, we're kind of inured to gun violence.

  15. Pat Says:

    … but, c u n d, what if instead of a gun they had gotten their hands on 1 cup? Clearly they need to be stopped.

  16. Mark B Says:

    I think it really takes some perspective to see Waukesha County for what it is. I grew up in Waukesha, went to school there, was a Young Republican there (I've long since reformed), and never thought twice about how southeastern Wisconsin had been redlined into distinct communities ("Stay out of Milwaukee! It's dangerous down there!"). Until I left. After a semester at UWM, I enlisted in the Army. There's nothing like living with people with significantly differing backgrounds in places like Colorado and Germany, Georgia and Tennessee, and Iraq and Afghanistan to change your perspective of your hometown.

    I was lucky enough to leave before the Scott Walker era, although I've kept in contact with several old friends who still live there. Ed is right – it is definitely Scott Walker country. When Walker was taking on the state employee's unions a couple of years ago, I got into an argument with one of those friends who vehemently backed Walker's position. Did I mention that this friend was an unemployed primary school teacher? I have another friend, with whom I played baseball for most of our childhood, that is running for the 97th Assembly District seat in the GOP primary against at least seven other Republicans, each more conservative than his/her opponents. The winner then gets to run (most likely) unopposed for REP Bill Kramer's seat. Kramer is the Republican representative that stands accused of sexually assaulting a staffer and was fired as Majority Leader earlier this year. There are a lot of awful political opinions (e.g. voter ID laws, anything negative about the President, etc.) that my former friends and neighbors are happy to share on social media that I would have taken as normal in my youth.

    I never really had any experience with religious fanaticism when I lived there, certainly not to the extent of the American south or Germany's ties to Catholicism. At least they never instituted blue laws in Wisconsin.

    While it's overall a nice city and I would probably live there again before moving back to Georgia, I'm not impressed with Wisconsin's more recent "race to finish last" approach to politics and community.

  17. whetstone Says:

    In this rare exception, it's not Waukesha's fault: "In Wisconsin, if a person is at least ten years old and is charged with attempted homicide, they are automatically waived into adult court."

    Doesn't mean they'll end up being tried as adults, as the story says; it could be moved to juvie, but the burden's on the defense for that. Dunno anything else—where the law came from, why they picked 10 (!?!).

    Also doesn't change your statement that Waukesha County is a butthole, there seems to be ample evidence of that.

  18. whetstone Says:

    Also worth remembering that Waukeha isn't just Walker country, it was [George] Wallace country as far back as 1964. And the Waukesha County couple that organized Wallace's remarkably successful 1964 primary campaign (he didn't win, but got like five times the votes anyone expected) were, long before that, involved with Tailgunner Joe.

  19. matt Says:

    We can't just arbitrarily try kids as adults. We need science. Just like the Russians (who're also hard on crime):
    http://www.theworldsbestever.com/2014/06/05/big-balls-dont-lie/

  20. mothra Says:

    How long has it been the law that kids over 10 who are accused of homicide are automatically charged as adults? Post Jeffrey Dahmer or pre? Just idle curiosity…wondering if the legislators thought they'd nip any budding Dahmer's with such a requirement…

  21. Buckyblue Says:

    Not sure of the exact date but I'm thinking Pre. Juveniles who commit first degree murder and reckless homicide are automatically in adult court. Homicides from 12-14 are left up to the DA. They can have a reverse waiver hearing to send the kid back to juvie. I read that one of the girls lawyers had mentioned this. If they tried the girls as juveniles the longest they could keep onto them would be until they were 25. I think that seems pretty fair. I think the severe juvenile waivers come from the 90's and the crack trade in major cities and getting tough on young, mainly black, offenders.

  22. Kevin Says:

    If you are evil.. you are evil as a child as an adult. You want to torture and kill your playmates? well the community should have a red hatchet.. hanging on a wall in the school..

    and when you want to set your friends on fire and shoot them in the head.. the community should take the red hatchet off the wall and bash your skull in…

    and sing the songs of protection and forgiveness.

  23. Robert Says:

    It was unworthy and shallow of me, I know, but when I read about this, my main reaction was sympathy for the girl who got stabbed. Specifically, the horror she must have felt realizing "I'm going to die because my friends are morons."

  24. bago Says:

    Probably the only thing new enough to get past the SmartScreen filters.

  25. Mooser Says:

    "I'm going to die because my friends are morons."

    When I was younger, I felt that way in a car, many times.