Arson Attack at Wisconsin Family Action Office

MADISON, Wis.
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   Madison police and the Fire Department are investigating a fire at an office building on the city’s north side that they said was arson.

   Crews were called to the 2800 block of International Lane Sunday, May 8,  just after 6 a.m. and flames could be seen coming from the facility.

   Madison Fire Department crews were able to put out the flames, and no injuries were reported.

   Officers and arson investigators have not determined the cause of the fire, but police confirmed a Molotov cocktail, which did not ignite, was thrown at the office during the incident. A separate fire was also started.

   Police confirmed that the office of Wisconsin Family Action was damaged in the incident. The group is a PAC that lobbies against abortion rights and gay marriage.

   Speaking to News 3 Now, WFA President Julaine Appling said that someone had thrown Molotov cocktails into her office and had burned books. Appling said she did not know the person who would have lit the fire, but said the suspect “left their signature” with graffiti.

   “We get veiled and not so veiled threats from time to time,” Appling said. “We’ve never had anything that materialized like this.”

   Appling said that she respects people’s right to disagree with her and her organization, but that this incident is taking things too far.

   “We can all disagree,” she said. “People disagree with me all the time. I don’t go threaten them.”

   Appling said most WFA staff members would be working remotely Monday, though she will need to return to help deal with the insurance company.

   The WFA will consider making security-related adjustments going forward, Appling said, but she did not know what those adjustments would be. Right now, the building has now security cameras. She said she was not told to stay away from the office, but felt uncomfortable putting staff members in a tough situation.

   “I’m not going to ask my team to be here,” she said. “I don’t think it’s a terribly secure environment right now.”

   Madison Fire Department officials said in a statement that investigators believe the fire was intentionally set and that the incident was being investigated as arson.

   On Sunday, the Madison Police Department issued a statement regarding their investigation:

   “The Madison Police Department understands members of our community are feeling deep emotions due to the recent news involving the United States Supreme Court.

    “Early Sunday morning, our team began investigating a suspicious fire inside an office building on the city’s north side.

   “It appears a specific non-profit that supports anti-abortion measures was targeted.

   “Our department has and continues to support people being able to speak freely and openly about their beliefs.

   “But we feel that any acts of violence, including the destruction of property, do not aid in any cause.

   “We have made our federal partners aware of this incident and are working with them and the Madison Fire Department as we investigate this arson.”


   Governor Tony Evers also issued a statement on the incident, condemning violence while also promising to continue fighting for abortion rights.
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   Julaine Appling issued the following statement, which can be found at: WiFamilyAction.org:

   “Early this morning a leftist anarchist group attacked Wisconsin Family Action’s office in Madison, throwing two Molotov cocktails into the office, after breaking windows, and then proceeded to light a fire. The arsonists posted graffiti on the outside of the building near the group’s offices. The message was, ‘If abortions aren’t safe, then you aren’t either.’ Anarchy 1312 took responsibility for the attack, leaving its logo on an outside wall.

   “While this attack was directly provoked by the leaked draft opinion from the US Supreme Court in the Dobbs case earlier this week, this has far broader implication. Apparently, the tolerance that the left demands is truly a one-way street. Violence has become their answer to everything. This is what happens when leadership is missing or when leadership implies that violence is ok. In 2020, Governor Tony Evers basically looked the other way when violence erupted in Kenosha and Madison. That kind of non-response fosters what happened to us this morning, leaving Wisconsin citizens who disagree with his policies extremely vulnerable to similar violence.

   “In fact, Governor Evers’s response to today’s incident said nothing about demanding a full investigation and criminal prosecution. He just told his supporters he’d keep supporting abortion.

   “But this attack fails to frighten us, and instead steels the resolve of law-abiding, common-sense, every-day folks to stand up and push back. We know today it is Wisconsin Family Action getting Molotov cocktails tossed through broken windows and fires ignited, but tomorrow it could be anyone in our state or another state who is attacked because we disagree with a policy or action, give voice to the voiceless, or stand up for what’s right.

   “Americans see through the hypocrisy of the left. The violence needs to stop and stop now. It’s not the answer to any question or any problem. Just because the liberals don’t get their way, doesn’t give them license to threaten bodily harm or to burn and destroy.

   “Wisconsin has had enough of this kind of terror condoned by current state and national leaders. But we are still standing. We still support freedom. We love our republic and care for our neighbors. We will repair our offices, remain on the job, and build an even stronger grassroots effort. We will not back down. We will not stop doing what we are doing. Too much is at stake.”

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