The Ferguson Missouri spectacle
Remus has a few words for you about the North Saint Louis dustup. Let’s start with some empty calories from:
President Barack Obama called the police shooting death of an unarmed black teenager a tragedy and called on Tuesday for thoughtful response after two nights of violent protests, looting, arrests and tear gas in a St. Louis suburb. He promised a full investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice into the case, which has provoked outrage in the largely African-American town of Ferguson.
Isn’t that just too precious. Lets look at the “largely African-American town of Ferguson”:
Ferguson is about 10 miles north of downtown St. Louis… About two-thirds of residents are now black. Fewer than half of the approximately 9,100 homes are owner-occupied, and about a quarter of residents live below the federal poverty level. Several North County school districts—including the Normandy system from which Brown recently graduated—have lost state accreditation because of declining test scores and other academic shortcomings.
The “unarmed teen”, Michael Brown, was a six-foot four, 292 pound 18-year-old gangsta who was wanted, along with an accomplice , for a strong arm convenience store robbery committed minutes before his attempted apprehension and death. Video and stills of that assault and robbery have been released:
The convenience store video reveals Michael Brown entering the store followed by Johnson. Brown hands a box of Swisher Sweets to Johnson. Brown took several boxes of cigars and turned to leave the store. “Brown grabbed the clerk and “forcefully pushed him back into a display rack.”
There is no dashcam video of the subsequent shooting, perhaps the Ferguson police blew their budget on armored vehicles and tactical gear and a helicopter, but the first reports looked bad:
Controversial shooting… You mean the apparent fact that the kid was shot in the back? It is alleged that the deceased assaulted the cop and attempted to grab his gun. However, it appears that the suspect was shot multiple times outside of the vehicle and he was unarmed and leaving—that is, after the confrontation in the vehicle… Shooting unarmed people that are not actively attacking you tends to be a pretty good way to rile up the population. After all the ordinary citizen who does that sort of thing is usually staring down a Murder or Manslaughter charge, but when the cops do it the worst thing that usually happens is that they get paid leave off for a while.
As always, these early reports may have been more rumor than fact. They were, after all, based on the story told by his accomplice, repeated elsewhere and embellished in the social media. Whether the “suspect” was shot in the back or not will be known soon enough.
Update, August 18th: Michael Brown… was shot at least six times, including twice in the head, a preliminary private autopsy performed on Sunday found. One of the bullets entered the top of Mr. Brown’s skull, suggesting his head was bent forward when it struck him and caused a fatal injury… Mr. Brown, 18, was also shot four times in the right arm, he said, adding that all the bullets were fired into his front.
Baden’s autopsy found that Brown was shot at least six times—twice in the head—and that all of the bullets struck him in the front, the New York Times reported late Sunday. The bullets did not appear to have been fired from close range because no gunpowder was found on Brown’s body, the newspaper reported. Dorian Johnson, a friend who was with Brown and ran from the scene during the shooting, has said through an attorney that Brown was shot in the back.
A Ferguson police officer tells it this way:
Michael just bum-rushes him and shoves him back into his car. Punches him in the face and them Darren grabs for his gun. Michael grabbed for the gun. At one point he got the gun entirely turned against his hip. And he shoves it away. And the gun goes off. Well, then Michael takes off and gets to be about 35 feet away. And, Darren’s first protocol is to pursue. So, he stands up and yells, “Freeze!” Michael and his friend turn around. And Michael taunts him… And then all the sudden he just started bumrushing him. He just started coming at him full speed. And, so he just started shooting. And, he just kept coming. And, so he really thinks he was on something.
Note: this version is apparently supported by a witness, see this article, The “JJ Witness Video” – Eye Witness Audio of Mike Brown Shooting States: “Brown Doubled Back Toward Police”, at The Last Refuge
Boiling away beneath this incident is another problem, the militarized police. We no longer speak of peace officers or police departments. They’ve come to be known as law enforcement officers and police forces, by their own preference and usage. Given their tactics, equipment and behavior, the police closely resemble the standing army we’ve rightly feared—one of the few things liberals and conservatives agree on. Notice they call us “civilians”. Police chose this path knowing, or perhaps because, it creates a clear cut “us and them” relationship with the populace, most visible in their routinely botched and often fatal “no knock” home invasions. The excuses are rarely convincing, as in all things, you are what you do, not what you say.
That sort of conduct by armed agents of the State is characteristic of war zones: places where no rights are recognized, where the preponderance of force is the one and only standard of ownership, where “you’re either one of us or the enemy.”
But Ferguson is no different from anywhere else. This has been creeping up on all of us for generations. The police—from the French word meaning “people”, ironically—were something akin to a paid Neighborhood Watch until the mid-1800s. When police adopted military ranks and uniforms following the Civil War, it was widely predicted they would become an army of occupation. Unless we believe the militarized police of one city is to protect them from the militarized police of another, an army of occupation is what they appear to be. One putative reason for all their gee whiz army stuff—to quell large scale riots and looting—has yet to be demonstrated.
They also confirm multiple businesses vandalized and looted. But the shocker happened when county Police told Fox 2 News that its officers were at the Ferguson Market earlier when looters showed up, but were ordered to “Stand down” by Missouri State Highway Patrol incident commanders at the scene and basically withdrew and allowed the looters to have their way with the store.
There are no official reports of arrests being made. As looting occurred, police dressed in riot gear mainly stood and watched, apparently under orders not to engage.
Looters ran out of shops with boxes stacked in their arms up to their chins. Behind them lay overturned shelves, spilled goods and wrecked displays. All the while, police stayed back by their armored vehicles and observed but did not stop them… Jay Kanzler, lawyer for Ferguson Market and Liquor, said police did nothing to stop the looting in town. “Don’t know why the … police didn’t do anything. They were told to stand down and I don’t know why,” Kanzler said.
The Ferguson Market and Liquor store. Police observed from the protection of armored vehicles, drawing full pay, and made no attempt to stop them.
There was a time when rioters and looters were shot on sight with every weapon that came to hand, including artillery in the nineteenth century. The Ferguson and State police were content to observe them from behind armor and bulletproof glass, even when the mob used gasoline bombs. The law-abiding citizen may rightly ask, what are all the military vehicles and weaponry for? Shall they next be serving pot and donuts to rioters? How are the police not accomplices if they disregard their sworn duty and announce it in advance? Are they not effectively protecting the looters?
The law-abiding citizen also noticesteams weren’t deployed to take out the looters torching downtown businesses. Yet they’ll do bomb-throwing midnight raids, guns blazing, often for what was once routine process-serving, even when toddlers and other innocents are known to be in the house. Their nonperformance in Ferguson suggests police protect themselves first and the citizenry maybe. But all of this is a separate issue. Whatever else the police may be blamed for, the Ferguson riot isn’t among them.
Next, cue the celestial chorus for a kumbaya from high atop Mount Olympus:
We have been very, very neglectful of the St. Louis community, as in communities all over America, when you look at the urban core. There is an obvious disconnect where we have allowed a subculture to grow and fester within our neighborhoods. And so we have learned that we cannot shut people out. We cannot disregard people’s need to be welcomed into society because it means that the individuals are now angry, and they have the right to be angry. So–so, and we in some way have to thank them for giving us a wake-up call. And now that we have the wake-up call, we must mobilize and go into our neighborhoods and offer them a sense of hope and a sense of purpose.
This shuck’n jive doesn’t work anymore. Ferguson was once a middle class suburb of Saint Louis, now, along with all of North Saint Louis, it’s being subsumed by East Saint Louis, itself a pest-hole rivaling Port au Prince. Maybe even Detroit. “Community”? Looters, dopers, moronic thuggers, arsonists, activists and other criminal psychopaths do not a community make. Real communities don’t go from rumors to looting to burning the place down in a matter of hours. Real communities certainly aren’t on international travel lists of places to avoid. Notice who and what this “community” admires, and how uncritically they believe each other’s lies and rumors. Notice who their martyrs are and who their spokesmen are. Being “very, very neglectful” of this ‘community’ is unwarranted forbearance.
What about the” Rights of Property Owners” to be safe in their Homes & Businesses? What about my property values declining because of burned out, boarded up shops because of these unemployed Rioters? What about the Children, who’s schools were closed today for the Chaos?
There seems no reason to treat Ferguson as if it were an actual neighborhood rather than what it’s become, namely, just another place where civilization goes to die. The current residents have amply demonstrated their “sense of hope and sense of purpose.” There’s compelling evidence outsiders won’t impose another. As with any natural sinkhole, wishing it were some other way is futile.
Ferguson’s fate seems decided. Businesses which escaped the looting and arson will also be abandoned, never to return. The remaining law-abiding, productive citizens will flee with them. The tax base will collapse. Schools will teach it’s all someone else’s fault. Guess who. City government will fall into the hands of activists—i.e., looters with big mouths, their sessions featured on YouTubefor their comedy value. Mere corruption will be a fond memory.will point to the lack of jobs and green grocers as proof of oppression. When the streetlights go out because the copper wiring has disappeared, Ferguson will have finally been looted out of existence. About then the adjacent town will have its Michael Brown moment, and so it is these rampages resemble victory celebrations.
This next news article suggests Mr. Clark is right when he says “we have a wake-up call,” but he should also know tolerance for this stuff is running a couple quarts low:
Gun sales are up across St. Louis since the shooting of Michael Brown and subsequent nights of violence. Sales have quadrupled at ‘Metro Shooting’ in Bridgeton according to owner Steven King. He says sales have mainly been to men, but not all… Nearly all of his sales at the Bridgeton store have been to people in North County. He has a store in Belleville and says, in contrast, sales have been normal there.
Metro Shooting‘s customers know this sort of violence is never far away. Ramping up the hate keeps the hustlers in business—their audience doesn’t do concepts, much less analysis, so politics has to come with compelling visuals and a payoff. Their Martyr Selection Committee blundered with Trayvon Martin, too many unwelcome surprises so, as the Trayvon Martin yarn unravels, the Michael Brown saga takes its place. But Alinsky-style “personalization of issues” is a tricky business, and the curve steepens as people catch on. As with any tale told too often, disbelief is setting in early on this one.