LETTER: In wake of shootings, hostile words send a chilling message

To Ozaukee Press:

America recently suffered two more mass shootings—in Texas and in Ohio. On that weekend’s Sunday morning, I went to the Ozaukee County Fair with a specific idea in mind. That event has been going on for 160 years and reflects home-town America. With its 4H members and their livestock, arts and crafts, carnival rides, music, beer and food, it’s what you would expect when going to an American county fair.

There are also booths representing various community organizations, including one big red and white tent showcasing the Republican Party and a smaller blue and white one standing up for Ozaukee Democrats.

After those horribly sad and sadly familiar mass shootings in our America, I felt the need to go to the fair for a quick connection with fellow Democrats, and I also wanted to stop by the Republican tent and just have a conversation and ask some questions that trouble me more every day. But I was too early; the red and white tent was zipped up tight, and there was only one volunteer at the blue and white booth preparing for the day.

I stopped to talk to her, and told her I needed to feel something good and positive and that change was possible. I don’t know her well, but she gave me a hug and we chatted for a few minutes. She told me about how many people had stopped over the previous five days with positive comments and questions. But then she shared comments from two other citizens.

There was the woman who stopped at the booth only to spit on the concrete. And the man who stopped to say, “I wish you were all dead.” Really, that’s what he said. Once again our current America slapped me in the face.

She and I looked around and both of us thought—this is another public gathering, and we are not safe; no one is safe in our America anymore.  

The memory of our conversation haunts me. It’s playing on a continuous loop in my brain. I don’t care which side of the aisle you are on, red or blue or purple, we can at least treat each other with respect. And I have to wonder if those specific individuals put on their Sunday best and were sitting in church as I visited the fair.

Linn Woodard
Port Washington

 

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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494
 

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