Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely baby daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.
In the early 80’s while working at WUWM, I went to the downtown MATC to cover, I believe, a Black History Month event. I heard an incredible speech given by an incredible man.
James Cameron spoke passionately and eloquently about miraculously surviving a lynching in Indiana. Cameron’s story and life is chronicled in his obituary in the Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel.
Over 25 years later, a noose, an instant symbol of racial hatred and violence that has divided our country, all too often pops up in some outrageous, despicable manner meant to intimidate.
President Bush has said, “The era of rampant lynching is a shameful chapter in American history. The noose is not a symbol of prairie justice, but of gross injustice. Displaying one is not a harmless prank. Lynching is not a word to be mentioned in jest."
Noose displays and lynching jokes are "deeply offensive, they are wrong, and they have no place in America today,” said the President.
Some states are now considering laws to prohibit noose displays.
There is some concern that proposed legislation with good intentions can go too far. For example, would a Halloween display like one in Greenfield last October be considered illegal?
One would hope legislation could be drafted responsibly to prevent innocent holiday house decorations from suddenly becoming criminal.
Does Wisconsin need such a law?
Probably not yet.
Remember, Wisconsin has hate crime laws on the books that could, indeed, cover malicious noose displays, though I can’t speak with certainty.
I’m not aware that this problem is as widespread here as it has been in other states. Should it become more frequent, then consideration might be warranted.
Meanwhile, President Bush is correct. There can be no disagreement that noose displays have no place in our society.