HUDSON — St. Croix County Sheriff Scott Knudson took to social media on Tuesday to condemn a recent message posted to the local Republican Party website titled “Si vis pacem para bellum” — Latin for “If you want peace, prepare for war.”
Knudson, who ran for office as a Republican, said he was “shocked and disheartened” by the message’s tone.
“People were injured and lost their lives last week at the U.S. Capitol, one of them a police officer,” Knudson wrote in a Facebook post. “Any loss of life is devastating, but under the conditions they lost theirs, it was disastrous. I hope that scene is never repeated, in any area of this country.”
His reaction came a day after the website message drew criticism from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel columnist Daniel Bice and amid fallout from the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump.
The message on the St. Croix County Republican Party website was still up as of Tuesday afternoon. It was unclear exactly when it was posted, but it was sometime after the Nov. 3 election, according to captures on the Internet Archive.
“It's time to stand and be counted as a conservative warrior in the on-going fight to preserve our Constitutional Republic,” the message reads.
St. Croix County Democrats chairman Dan Myers issued a statement of unity, and called on citizens to demand accountability for people who use violent rhetoric.
“To those that suddenly find themselves without a political home, we extend our hands, an open mind and a willing heart,” Myers said. “It's long past time to come together and find solutions to the problems that plague our local communities.”
St. Croix County Board
St. Croix County Board Chair David Peterson in a statement on Tuesday reacted to the violence in the nation's capital and feelings of division at home.
"I would like to take this time to address the concerning rhetoric following the riots at the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6. First, let me say that I do not condone the violence at the Capitol last week. The actions of those involved are dishonorable. Across the country and here in St. Croix County people are feeling further divided and many have shared those feelings online. When we experience a tragedy that rises to the level of what we saw last week, it is natural to be angry or hurt but we must not let our emotions get the better of us. We all have our differences. Out of those differences we will have disagreements, but we must show respect to others. Through civil discourse we can better understand our differences and maybe even realize we all have more in common than we think.
"I speak for myself and the County Board when I say that unequivocally we must all condemn calls for violence and hate. During this time, I ask for your patience and understanding. We are stronger together and together we will heal as a county."
Gov. Tony Evers on Monday authorized the Wisconsin National Guard to support State Capitol police with safety and security efforts. The announcement came after news broke about an internal FBI bulletin that warned of armed protests planned for state capitol buildings nationwide.
This story was updated 3:30 p.m. Jan. 12, 2021