Saturday, August 17th, 2019

Andy Kochanski didn’t wait for 911


A tavern owner, Andy Kochanski, on Milwaukee’s south side acted quickly and possibly saved the lives of his customers Thursday night. He shot one armed robber dead and caused two other robbers to run for it. This is his statement on Facebook:

I would like to state that I did what I had to do to protect my customers and myself. I have no regrets and would do it again if need be.

PLEASE do not let this keep you from having a great time here. PLEASE do not let this tarnish this neighborhood. This could and has happened anywhere.

You should ALWAYS feel safe here.

Andy Kochanski

Reaction on Facebook has mostly been positive. So far only one person is claiming that they were a customer and never return. That’s far outweighed by the number of people and other businesses that are supporting Kochanski.

What’s interesting, and certainly the source of some buzz, is the statement by Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett,

“It underscores for people who are out there committing crimes that committing crimes is a dangerous business.”

I think the positive reaction to the shooting and even the reaction by Barrett (who’s probably trying to figure out how to take back what he said) reflects the frustration of a community with the escalating number of violent crime incidents in the city.

The whole incident reminds me of a section from Robert Heinlein’s Time Enough for Love. Heinlein wrote the book in the early 1970s, a period when violent crime was seemingly an intractable and growing problem in urban life.

For instance, did I mention the time Joe decapitated a man?”


“Not much to it and it wasn’t important to the story. This young blood tried to share the wealth one night by sticking them up. Llita had J.A. in her right arm, nursing him or about to, and couldn’t reach the gun she kept at the cashbox; she couldn’t fight and was bright enough not to try against those odds. I suppose this dude didn’t know that Joe had simply stepped out of sight.

“Just as this free-lance socialist was gathering up their day’s receipts, Joe lets him have it, with a cleaver. Curtain. The only notable thing about it was that Joe acted so quickly and correctly in the crunch, for I feel sure that the only fighting that he had ever tried was that which I forced on him in the ‘Libby.’ Joe did everything else properly, too—finished taking the head off, threw the body into the street for his friends to take away if he had any, for the scavengers to remove if not— then displayed the head in front of the shop on a spike meant for such purpose. Then he closed his shutters and cleaned up the mess—then may have taken time to throw up; Joe was a gentle soul. But it’s seven to two that Llita did not throw up.

“The city’s committee for public safety voted Joe the usual reward, and the street committee passed the hat and added to it; a cleaver against a gun rated special notice. Good advertising for Estelle’s Kitchen but not important otherwise, save that the kids could use that money—helped pay the mortgage, no doubt, and wound up in my pocket. But I wouldn’t have heard of this minor dustup had I not been in New Canaveral and happened to stop by Estelle’s Kitchen when the real head was removed—flies, you know—and the plastic trophy head custom required Joe to display was substituted for it by the street committee.

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