Extremists on Both Sides Are Enabling Violence | Opinion

It's hard to imagine a more horrifying sight than a car mowing down children and their grandmothers in the middle of a Christmas parade. The video footage of a red SUV smashing into a parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, was almost impossible to watch. Even worse, the man allegedly behind this inhuman act was free due to the overreach of well-meaning but clueless progressives.

The man taken into custody for driving his car into a Christmas parade and killing five people was a career criminal named Darrell Brooks. A perusal of his social media timelines shows a history of inflammatory and violent political rhetoric. He also has a long rap sheet, including active charges at the time of the Waukesha tragedy.

And here's the real tragedy of it all: Darrell Brooks should never have been out of jail in the first place. He was out on bail after being charged with several violent felonies, thanks to Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisolm, an enthusiastic bail reform advocate who "previously suggested the state should replicate San Francisco's bail reform to do away with cash bond on minor crimes," according to the Daily Mail.

Brooks had been in custody awaiting a trial date on a $7,500 bond for shooting at his nephew after a fight over a cell phone, but the bond was dropped to $500 in February of 2021 because the courts couldn't give Brooks a trial quickly enough. Then, on November 2, while out on bond for shooting his nephew, Brooks was arrested again for hunting down the mother of his children and running her over with his car. Inexplicably, he received a bond of $1,000 for this crime, which he posted.

Chisolm's office, which repeatedly recommended low bail for Brooks' violent crimes, released a statement saying that "an internal review of the bail recommendation is underway."

Indeed.

How did we get here? How did we arrive in a situation where a thousand bucks is all you need to get out on bail after running down the mother of your kids?

Abandoned celebrations in Waukesha.
Toppled chairs are seen among holiday decorations in downtown Waukesha, Wis., after an SUV plowed into a Christmas parade injuring dozens of people Sunday, November 21. 2021. Dance troupe Milwaukee Dancing Grannies has said some of its members were killed in the tragedy. Jeffrey Phelps/AP Photo

Bail reform efforts can be commendable. But they should never be applicable to people accused of violent felonies, something most reasonable, rational people who support bail reform understand. The problem is when elite academics and political morons who live in online echo chambers hijack the discourse. That's when the conversation devolves from "Police Accountability" to "Defund the Police" to "Abolish the Police." That's when bail reform for people arrested on low-level crimes like marijuana possession turns into "bail reform for anybody accused of anything."

When those at the extremes remove the guardrails, well-intended ideas quickly become stupid and dangerous ones.

But of course, on the other side, there are problems, too. Division junkies and smear merchants love to sensationalize crimes committed by Black people, profiting from our pain and making us live in a state of perpetual outrage. People on both sides use every incident to further their own agenda, consequences be damned.

Each side uses the real pain of everyday Americans to push their side and demonize the other. We're living in an environment in which politics has seeped into every single aspect of our lives. We are losing opportunities to remember the humanity of our neighbors. Every tragedy becomes another battle to fight, another war to wage, another score to settle.

It should not be controversial to say, "People who are charged with violent felonies should not have bail reform," just as no one should use Brooks as an opportunity to smear an entire race of people.

It should be rational to argue for police accountability while also believing that defunding the police is a monumentally dumb idea. We must take our discourse back from extremists and highly-educated idiots. As we have sadly seen over and over again, when stupid people implement stupid ideas, bad things happen.

We must tone down the temperature of our political culture—on all sides. We must isolate and alienate the extremists who control the narrative. When there is clear need for reasonable reform, we should work together. But we should also unite in calling stupid ideas out for what they are.

The extremists make the paradigm shift wildly, and normal people become captives to conversations that aren't meant for us. We can cut out the noise, ostracize the division junkies and bridge divides. Or we can continue on the same path, be splintered and divided even more and watch this great American experiment fall apart.

Darvio Morrow is the CEO of the FCB Radio Network and co-host of The Outlaws Radio Show.

The views in this article are the writer's own.