Franklin girls, let’s win it for Christine

I knew the Franklin High School girls basketball team was pretty darn good. But I hadn’t seen them in action until watching the You Tube video  of their 57-54 sectional final victory over Divine Savior Holy Angels Saturday that propelled the Sabers to the Division 1 state tournament his Saturday. They’ll face Hudson in semifinal at about 2:10 pm.

This hustling team flies all over the court. Gritty, hard-nosed, and extremely poised, going to state for these girls is no fluke.

Franklin hasn’t been to the girl’s state tournament in a long, long time. I blogged in 2007:

It was the greatest girl’s basketball team to ever play at Franklin High School.

In March of 1999, Franklin entered the state championship game against Kettle Morraine undefeated at 26-0. While the Sabers failed to capture the title, the team was clearly the best in school history.

One of its amazing stars was Christine Rathke, a gutty, hard-nosed player with tremendous hustle and determination, the unquestioned leader on the team.

Christine Rathke, Franklin

In February of 2000, Bobbi Roquemore of the Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel wrote, “Over the past four years, Franklin has gone from a doormat to the dominant team in the Southeast Conference. Rathke, a flashy, do-it-all guard, has been the catalyst in the rise of Sabers’ basketball program and has smashed records along the way. Rathke has played all four years on the varsity and owns the school’s all-time scoring mark with 1,446 points.”

Roquemore told of little children in Franklin asking for Rathke’s signature.

“I didn’t expect to be signing autographs, but I like it when the little girls come up and talk to me,” Rathke said. “I tell them what it takes to get to that level.”

After leaving Franklin, Rathke played for Southeast Missouri State University before transferring to the University of Wisconsin-Parkside in 2002.

On Sunday afternoon, February 16, 2003 at about 1:00 pm, Rathke was driving from a UW-Parkside team banquet heading west on Ryan Road at about 36th Street when a car heading eastbound crossed the centerline and collided head-on into her car. Rathke died at the scene. She was 20 years old.

The driver of the other car was Victor Sanchez, who was 19 at the time and living on the city of Milwaukee’s south side. He was charged with homicide by negligent use of a vehicle. Sanchez was speeding and passed in a no-passing zone at the time of the fatal crash.

Former Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel reporter and WTMJ-AM talk show host and well-known blogger Jessica McBride has confirmed that Sanchez was an illegal immigrant. Another highly reliable source involved in law enforcement has confirmed for me that Sanchez was in the country illegally at the time he killed Rathke. Sanchez is no longer in the United States. He has been deported, not soon enough to save young Christine Rathke.

Rathke came to mind as my blood boiled reading the Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel’s report that some local police departments are caving in to a radical pro-illegal immigrants’ group. Voces de la Frontera is asking police departments to develop new policies to prevent officers from asking potential suspects about their citizenship status.

Shockingly, as the newspaper reports, “Some departments are going along.”  (The article is a typical Journal/Sentinel puff piece, relating incidents intended to drum up sympathy for illegals).

We also learned that the Milwaukee Police Department, under the leadership of outgoing Police Chief Nannette Hegerty, implemented its new policy in April. And yet, despite the normally chatty, far from camera shy Chief and her spokeswoman, we didn’t hear about the policy until October 8th.

“Milwaukee police spokeswoman Anne E. Schwartz released a copy of her department’s policy and confirmed that it was updated in April, but she declined to comment further. According to the policy, Milwaukee officers can question a person’s immigration status or alert federal authorities only in cases of violent crimes, suspected terrorism, street gang crimes or other limited cases.”

This is outrageous on several counts.

The MPD institutes a new policy on procedures dealing with the public, but doesn’t go public about it for six months.

Police officers in Milwaukee are not going to question certain suspects about their immigration status in effect, giving them a free pass for possibly violating the law.

How many other police departments are going to cave to a radical pro-illegal immigrant group? Who’s in charge of protecting our streets, the police, or Voces de la Frontera?

Does Hegerty or any other police chief contemplating this go-easy policy need to be reminded that not long ago, one of their own, a Kenosha deputy was killed by an illegal immigrant?

Rathke’s and the deputy’s killer were both familiar with the criminal justice system prior to the offenses I referred to. Our lenient, politically correct methods let them back on the streets to break the law again, and this time, kill decent, innocent people. These deaths were preventable, but a system that isn’t tough enough on illegal immigrants is partially complicit for these deaths.

In our country, the rights of those here illegally are paramount. It’s disgusting and indefensible. Shame on any police chief or police department that develops a policy to look the other way when confronted with illegal immigrants.

Christine Rathke should serve as a reminder that too many people are in the United States illegally, and yes, a great many of them are not nice people who are only here to try to better themselves. Rathke’s picture should be posted inside every police department to remind our officers that illegal immigrants are here and they are committing violent crimes against the law-abiding citizens our police are entrusted to protect.
Oct. 9, 2007

A tribute to Rathke with her picture and high school jersey is on the wall outside the Franklin gym. A park on S.68th Street is named after her.

Wouldn’t it be inspiring for the Franklin girls to win state in honor of Rathke?

3 thoughts on “Franklin girls, let’s win it for Christine

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