Over the span of several days, The Epoch Times spoke with over a dozen local residents. Many declined to speak due to concerns over their privacy and due to their fear that the local Antifa and Black Lives Matter cadres might retaliate if they say anything negative about the two organizations.
One small business owner who requested anonymity in exchange for an interview said that he felt that Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, should have called in the National Guard to Kenosha sooner. If this happened, the resident believes that the riots would either not have happened or not have caused as much damage as they did. (Related: Wisconsinites begin grassroots effort to recall Gov. Tony Evers over disastrous handling of coronavirus pandemic, Kenosha riots.)
“When [the National Guard] came in on Wednesday – boom, it stopped,” he said.
Listen to this episode of the Health Ranger Report, a podcast by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, as he talks about how Black Lives Matter is not an movement dedicated to promoting racial equality, but is instead a domestic terrorist organization advocating Black supremacy and anti-White bigotry.
One other Kenosha resident who was willing to be interviewed talked about how much they appreciated President Donald Trump coming to Kenosha to survey the damage. Both Trump and his opponent in the Democratic Party, former vice president Joe Biden, went to Kenosha days after the worst of the rioting and looting took place.
Both presidential candidates toured the neighborhood and listened to residents talk about how their businesses were ransacked and how they feared for their lives. Trump flew to Illinois and then was driven to Kenosha on September 1. Biden, not wanting to miss out on the possibility of getting photographed in the city, went to the city two days later to speak to community leaders, law enforcement officials and business owners within the safety of the Grace Lutheran Church in uptown Kenosha.
Many residents said that Trump's visit was crucial because they believe it's important for the president to see the destruction brought upon their city by Antifa and Black Lives Matter.
Meanwhile, several supporters of Biden who talked to The Epoch Times said that Trump's visit to Kenosha was very divisive.
But as the supporters of the Democrats were focused on getting angry at Trump for surveying the damage to Kenosha and for talking with community leaders to figure out a path forward, John Sherlock, a local, was worried about what will happen to his small business – a cleaning service – if the riots get out of hand.
Sherlock, who said that he did not identify as either a Democrat or a Republican, said that he could not understand why some people acted like they did not care about the damage the rioters inflicted upon their private property. He was also concerned for how “really wrong” it was that agitators and rioters from outside the state are coming into Kenosha to destroy it. Other business owners have expressed similar views.
“We live here together in one city and know how to communicate different views without leaning towards violence,” said Kelly Deem, owner of a baking and canning shop in Downtown Kenosha. “So, we were very saddened to see people from other cities come in and take a lot of negative actions towards our town.”
Deem also said that she really appreciated how Trump was willing to come to the city and open dialogues with the residents.
“Everyone has to come [to Kenosha] and meet,” said Deem. “The governors need to meet with the president; these need to be conversations that are happening.”
In closing, Deem asked the rioters to take all of their anger and hatred and urge to destroy and “put it into something that's positive. [Put it into] good deeds.”
On Tuesday, September 8, Heather Wessling, vice president for economic development for the Kenosha Area Business Alliance told the Kenosha County Board that the damage to businesses and other private property is currently estimated at $50 million, with over 100 business receiving either minor, moderate or heavy damage, while as many as 40 other businesses were classified as “out of business for good.”
“It could be as high as $50 million of losses, together with the businesses, the public infrastructure, the public buildings and what the tenants have lost,” said Wessling.
One of the businesses that lost the most was a car dealership which burned to the ground, along with a huge chunk of their inventory, during the first night of the rioting. According to the owner, they sustained over $1.5 million in damages – around $500,000 in property damages and between $900,000 and $1 million in inventory damage.
Kenosha County Board Supervisor Terry Rose called for the board to ask both state authorities and the federal government to provide the county with funding in order to rebuild not just the small businesses in Uptown and Downtown Kenosha, but also several public facilities that were burned down during the riots, such as the Wisconsin Department of Corrections which was burned to the ground.
“The county needs to assist the city in bolstering the Uptown community,” said Rose. “We need to seek federal funds, state funds or local funds.”
Earlier in the meeting, the board listened to Wisconsin National Guard Major Gen. Paul Knapp inform the county that all of the National Guard troops have disengaged from their mission to supplement the county's overworked law enforcement and other first responders. Knapp said that, at one point, there were over 2,000 National Guard troops in Kenosha.
Rose thanked Knapp, as well as all the other local, state and federal law enforcement units in the county, as well as residents, who volunteered with cleanup efforts and providing aid. Rose stated that this unity sent a message that Kenosha was strong and that it was “not a racist community.”
“But the one issue that we need to make very clear to the people here whose lives have been endangered, whose property has been destroyed, who lived in nightly fear, is the same message we need to send to people who might come here from out of town or elsewhere. Our message has to be very clear: Never again, never again, never again.”
The board did not vote on any recommendation or resolution, but Rose called upon the board to draft a resolution that they can consider as early as next week in order to show that the county was united in wanting to enact policies that work for the best interests of all of the county's residents.
While the worst rioting in Kenosha may have ended, many violent demonstrations are still ongoing in places like Portland and Seattle. Learn more about what Antifa and Black Lives Matter are doing in these places by reading the articles at Rioting.news.