Security

One Policy Wisconsin Should Not Change

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I'll say this for the state of Wisconsin: At a time of absurd and intrusive security theater, from the TSA's tactics at the airport to zero tolerance rules at schools, the Badger State has maintained an impressively open capitol. You don't need to go through a security gate to get into the place. Anyone can enter, with or without an appointment, alone or with a crowd. Or at least, they could until this morning:

Wisconsin Department of Administration Executive Assistant today released the following statement regarding continued protests in the State Capitol Building.

"When the State Capitol closed at 4:00 p.m. last night, the majority of protestors voluntarily left the building as requested by the Capitol Police. Of those who remained, all but a few have voluntarily complied with the request of law enforcement to remain in a designed area of the building. Officers in the building are continuing to work with those few individuals to gain their compliance.

"No additional protestors will be allowed into the building until this situation is resolved. Once it is, law enforcement will continue to implement the procedures that were announced this morning. Under those procedures, protestors will be allowed into the building, but crowd size will be adjusted to accommodate the cleaning crews, the preparation for the Tuesday's joint legislative session and the number of protestors who remained in the building overnight."

Meanwhile, "Capitol Police will be stationed at the King Street entrance and can assist members of the public who do not have an appointment, but who wish to see their legislators or meet with others in the building."

Maybe this really is a matter of letting the cleaning crews do their thing, but reading the Madison ACLU's Twitter feed isn't making me optimistic: "Capitol: metal screening, limited doors," "Dividing crowd into 3 lines—scheduled mtg, public hearing, protesters," "windows being welded shut." I'd hate for this standoff to end with construction crews (unionized or not) digging a moat around the capitol.

This should be a transpartisan issue. Wisconsin's permissive public-access policy is a practice worth saving—and if it makes it easier for peaceful protesters to squat in the state house, then I say that's a feature, not a bug. Today the unions, tomorrow the Tea Parties, next week the Juggalos: Stand up for liberty and let 'em all come.

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  1. I’d hate for this standoff to end with construction crews (unionized or not) digging a moat around the capitol.

    Why do you hate fun? (Or just some clever reverse psychology going on?)

    1. We already have that in Hawaii:

      Hawaii State Capitol Building

      But, so far no dick move like in the article preventing access by protesters.

      1. Oh, and the moat costs hundreds of thousands a year to have unionized workers futilely try to remove the endless scum growing in it, and the underground staff offices below the moat have perennial problems with water leaks in their roofs, and NO ONE will just fill in the damn thing with dirt and plant flowers instead.

        Teh Stoopid is strong with them.

      2. Heh. Makes me happy to see a photo of mine randomly linked to in a blog I read regularly.

        Back to lurking anonymously…

  2. Your viewpoint on this subject depends on whether you think public property is held in trust on behalf of taxpayer owners or if you think the notion of public property is a contradiction in terms.

    The latter view, IMHO, means that you should just be able to live in a legislator’s office. I think that’s an unacceptable outcome.

  3. Dividing crowd into 3 lines – scheduled mtg, public hearing, protesters…

    So that unnamed fourth category – those with no beef with their government – are free to roam about the building unmolested by any new rules?

    1. One of them broke her leg, and the other wouldn’t come alone.

  4. I dunno. I was with you until that last sentence. But support for Juggalos is just going too far.

    1. I could see the usefulness of getting all the Juggalos into a central location. Then we dig the moat.

    2. Actually, a band of filthy Juggalos would be a number of evolutionary steps up from the scum in my legislature.

    3. First, the came for the Juggalos, but I did nothing….

      Because, come on, they’re freaking Juggalos. Would anyone miss them? I’d rather save the spotted owl.

  5. At a time of absurd and intrusive security theater, from the TSA’s tactics at the airport to zero tolerance rules at schools, the Badger State has maintained an impressively open capitol.

    Very true. Given the Capitol’s location, it is used as a shortcut for pedestrians as well.

    I was just at the Texas Capitol in Austin, and we had to walk through a metal detector.

    I’m surprised the Wisconsin Capitol’s rather limited public toilets haven’t staged their own strike by now, to tell you the truth.

    1. KY’s capitol had metal detectors for about 5 minutes. The large percent of staff who concealed carry made the situation humorous as they would hand their firearm to the guard in order to walk thru the metal detector and then retreive their weapon to reconceal it.

    2. It’s all the cheese. Most of them only shit thrice a year.

    3. You can bypass the metal detectors at the Texas Capitol if you have a concealed handgun license–you get to go through the staff lane.

      The governor resisted putting metal detectors in the capitol for a long time, but they were put in after some nut with a beef with one of the legislators popped off a few rounds outside the entrance last year.

    4. One thing I like about the texas capitol, is if you have a CCW permit, you get to bypass the security checkpoints. Just show the guard your permit, and in you go.

      Armed citizens are the best defense.

  6. You can carry a handgun into the Virginia capitol building if you’ve got a CHP.

    There have been attempts to change that recently.

    1. Wisconsin, unfortuntely, is one of the two states that prohibit concealed carry.

  7. I’m sure if you would have set up shop in Madison 2 months ago protesting man goat rape or some other pressing issue, the union bacon would have surely respected and protected your rights to do so.

  8. The capitol, being so called public property, should be open to every member of the public every atomic second. Homeless should be permitted to sleep in legislators’ offices.

    Cleaning crews…

    1. See it is hard to tell if this is seriousness or satire. This is one of those fundamental divisions within libertarianism I think we should spend more time exploring.

  9. Fuckin’ public space, how does it work?

    1. It confuses me… Like magnets.

  10. Cut off public access to toilets. They should be allowed to be there, but a never ending festival of stupid from any group seems like a bad idea.

    1. but a never ending festival of stupid from any group seems like a bad idea.

      Dude, the whole POINT of a legislature is a never ending festival of stupid.

      If they took out every trace of Teh Stoopid, what’s left would be anarcho-capitalism.

  11. You know who else wanted a clean capitol building.

    1. The janitor’s union?

  12. Huh? Really? What possibly can be the point other than to badger public policy into being decided based on non-democratic and/or non-republican means? Apparently you think that’s a good thing, but you haven’t explained _why_ it’s a good thing, or what _right_ they are exercising (or conversely, what right is being violated by the rules changes).

  13. It’s an interesting dilemma.

    I despise not just unruly politicized mobs, but all large assemblages of people.

    Seeing demonstrators, faces contorted with rage, inches away from the legislators, jabbing their fingers at them and chanting “Shame! Shame! Shame!” I find it hard to be sympathetic.

    But politicians locking their “bosses” out is a bad idea.

  14. I don’t have much of a problem with asking “visitors” to leave after business hours.

    1. “Libertarians” (Hippies of the Right) despise the original hippies but seem to admire one of their cherished tactics: occupying public property and disrupting public business till they get their way.

      1. I think you need to take a shit. You know, to clear your head.

  15. occupying public property and disrupting public business till they get their way.

    In an alternate universe where people reliably act based on mutual respect, various constituencies could make their political preferences known without resorting to mob displays and attempted intimidation.

    I suspect a “properly constituted” (*waves magic wand*)referendum would greatly reduce the power of public sector unions.

    I want to believe this, because that is what I would like to see.

  16. Yes, stand up for freedom! Alternatively, shout down opposing views.

    Where does one draw the line between legitimate protest in defense of ones’ rights, and simply using force or the threat of force to get something one wants?

  17. Okay seriously I live in Wisconsin. I live in Calumet County about 2-hours from Madison. I was in the capital this weekend for a family event. I couldn’t resist seeing the mayhem up close and personal. I went into the capital building and the stench was unbelievable. People have been living in the building for 2-weeks. (Think rank 1960’s radical stench) Some clearly had not left much to shower or groom. I had a hard time moving around. The first thing that grabs you after the smell is how much junk is laying around. I was told by multiple people who work at the capital that they have serious maintenance issue. Toilets are backed up some are saying that they could have permanent damage to some of the marble. Posters are taped to everything. Apparently, tape and marble do not go well together. One guy said that they would need to remove all the glue by hand. He thought it could take months to do that alone. A week ago, Madison got like a foot of snow. It snowed again last night into today. Everyone tracks the snow into the building. The floors we’re awful. Just a total sloppy mess.

    Jesse—this is about cleaning the place. The Capital Police are on the side of the protesters. They wouldn’t toss them unless they had too. The place is beyond gross. Lastly, the capital is rented out for weddings this weekend–they need to clean the dump.

    1. I hope it really is a case of letting the cleaning crews do their thing and then returning to normal. I’m not convinced that this requires special security lines or welding the windows shut. We’ll see how it plays out.

    2. Why in God’s name is the capitol rented out for weddings?

      I would say something misogynistic but I don’t want to impugn Commodore Decker’s character.

      1. It keeps brides from bribing representatives for the privilege.

        1. “bribing”? Are we talking “return to jus primae noctis” here? I think someone has a made a terrible mistake!

    3. The Capital Police are on the side of the protesters. They wouldn’t toss them unless they had to.

      So it would be interesting to see their response to a right-to-work protest?

  18. I actually like the idea of a Greek-style democracy, with millions of people standing in a circle, shouting at one another.

    Maximum gridlock!

    1. But what if a large minority of the people flee the state?

  19. Today the unions, tomorrow the Tea Parties, next week the Juggalos: Stand up for liberty and let ’em all come.

    I’ve finally figured out who Jesse Walker is. He’s the obnoxious brother-in-law who you let crash at your house when his girlfriend kicks him out, who then rewards your good nature by inviting all of his friends at the bar to come home and crash on your living room floor, and help themselves to whatever goodies can be purloined from your refrigerator and your bar.

    1. Who is “you” in this scenario, exactly?

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