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Hero of the Week: Citizen Tom Barrett

Plus Event of the Week and Les Paul Memorial

Aug. 19, 2009
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Among many well-wishers from across the country, President Barack Obama called Mayor Tom Barrett to commend him for his bravery. The Shepherd Express also wants to recognize Tom Barrett the private citizen for his heroism this past weekend. It would have been easier and safer for Barrett to walk the other way and mind his own business when he heard a woman screaming in distress. But as a true citizen and good neighbor, he made it his business to help in any way he could. Barrett confronted an angry man who then attacked him with a metal police-style baton. Barrett suffered some serious injuries and might have been killed, but he also may have saved this woman’s life and perhaps the life of a 1-year-old child. Tom Barrett embodies what it means to be a true citizen in a civil society. The Shepherd Express thanks him for his heroism and wishes him a speedy recovery.

Event of the Week: Benefit Concert for Soldier’s Heart Veteran Retreat

You can help veterans and their families heal their emotional and spiritual wounds by supporting a fund-raiser for the Soldier’s Heart Veteran Return Retreat to be conducted by author Ed Tick (War and the Soul) the weekend of Sept. 17-20 in Racine. For more information about the retreat, go to www.soldiersheart.net or call 352-9602.

The benefit concert and local artists’ silent auction will be held at Linneman’s Riverwest Inn, 1001 E. Locust St., on Sunday, Aug. 23, at 7 p.m. A $5 donation will get you in the door to hear performances by The Last Rhino, Jay Flash, and Jason Moon and the Paste-Eating Elmer’s. It’s sponsored by the local chapter of the Iraq Veterans Against the War.

Les Paul Memorial

Discovery World will host a public viewing for guitar legend Les Paul on Friday, Aug. 21, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; doors will open at 9 a.m. The “Les Paul’s House of Sound” exhibit will be free and open to the public during the service. Paul’s final Wisconsin concert in 2008 from the Pabst Theater will be shown as part of the tribute. Discovery World is located at 500 N. Harbor Drive in Milwaukee.

Jerk of the Week:Amy Geiger-Hemmer, Blogger at Living Lake Country

What’s worse than the attack on Mayor Tom Barrett while he attempted to protect his family and strangers from an out-of-control “knucklehead”? Blaming Barrett for his own beating. That’s exactly what Amy Geiger-Hemmer at the Journal Communications-owned Living Lake Country Web site did just hours after Barrett’s attack was made public.

On her “Hemmer Time” blog, she claimed that Barrett would not have been attacked if he’d been carrying a concealed weapon: “Maybe this incident will make him do some soul-searching and wish he had been carrying a gun.... (Remember the old saying: “A conservative is a liberal who has been mugged?) Gosh, what am I saying?!?.... How foolish of me! Barrett is a true-blue liberal down to the core. He’d never acknowlege [sic] that having a gun may have served to protect him, his family and the victim being beaten. He won’t admit that a speedy dial finger isn’t quite the same as being armed. Barrett could have ended the incident with one quick flash of a weapon...too bad he didn’t have one!”

Never mind that a “flash of a weapon” could have turned a tragic situation into a fatal one. Facts and logic—and basic human decency—won’t prevent gun advocates like Geiger-Hemmer from trying to score cheap political points while Barrett was still in the hospital, recovering from his wounds.


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