Sunday, October 23rd, 2016

Wild Bill Kramer


Having met and talked with State Representative Bill Kramer more than a few times, one word springs to mind, unperturbed. The sky is rarely falling, the sun will rise tomorrow, and life at the legislature goes on. He has his issues of special concern, of course, but there is a certain amount of perspective in his countenance. It works well for him in his position of Assembly Speaker Pro Tem.

This isn’t to say he doesn’t get visibly irritated. He does. Irritated, as when he asked for the Assembly gallery to be cleared the other day after repeated obnoxious provocation by the Madison protestors unleashed by the Democrats.

But for the most part the fire and brimstone is left to others, like Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca who has called for Kramer’s removal from the chair.

The other day we got the “shocking” news that Kramer carries a gun. Oh yeah, it’s a semi-automatic.* How dramatic.

My wife, the Lovely Doreen from Waukesha, was similarly unperturbed. “Does it count as a concealed weapon if everyone knows about it?”

But, there’s a gun in the legislature!

And so came the breathless questions, would Kramer use it? On whom? Does he need a gun? Why?

‘‘Have you been in the Capitol lately?’’ Kramer said. ‘‘The saying is you don’t need a gun until you need it. I hope to go to my grave having never fired it at anything but a paper target.’’

It’s not unreasonable for a Republican member of the legislature to fear a little for his or her safety these days. Aside from the death threats, there are the actual incidents: the stalking of Rep. Robin Vos (fortunately it was just a beer thrown at him), the scary moment when Sen. Glenn Grothman had to be rescued from a mob by one of his Democratic colleagues, the daily harassment of legislators and staff in the Capitol. Add to the mix the sense that the Capitol police are completely ineffective at their jobs and the Madison police are indifferent to the safety of the legislators, and it’s not surprising that Kramer says he is not alone in carrying some means of self-defense.

But there’s a gun in the legislature! Yes, there is. And not one member of the public or the legislature is less safe knowing that some members of the legislature are carrying. If anything, there is a little more safety knowing that should someone from the mobs in Madison decide to cross the line into putting the life of a legislator in danger, that some at least possess the means to defend themselves.

To believe the public is somehow less safe, one would have to make the rather incredible suggestion that Kramer’s gun will somehow jump out of it’s holster and start shooting people on it’s own volition. (Any other suggestion would have the same probability independent of Kramer’s concealed carry permit.)

But, there’s a gun in the legislature! Yes, yes there is. Unfortunately the reporter didn’t ask more interesting questions, like why the Glock 26? What does he like about it? Where does he spend his time practicing? Is there a range near Madison that he likes, or does he strictly spend his time at Fletcher’s?

Update! Owen Robinson questions the choice of the Glock. Anyone else?

*If I can make one suggestion for journalism school curriculums, every student should be required to spend one hour at a local gun range learning about guns. If they are all going to write about guns, they might as well learn the difference between a revolver, a semi-automatic pistol and an automatic pistol. They might even learn what constitutes “an assault rifle.”
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