by John Boch
I was down at Barnes Hospital today in St. Louis, not far from ground zero in Ferguson, Missouri. So, being the dedicated reporter, I had to go see what was ground zero in the worst rioting and looting our nation has seen in decades.
Some observations from my trip through Ferguson’s main drag today.
First off, most of what I’ve been watching at one of the live feeds (this one) has been shot from the parking lot of the business Michael Brown stole those cigars from, Ferguson Market and Liquor. It has now become a media staging location, and actually it’s been designated by cops as a “safe harbor” location for the media to report from.
It works well for everyone: The media has a place to park and report from. The cops are always close by. The Market’s owners know their market is at much less likelihood of a repeat of Friday night. (Which would be about the third or fourth time for them.)
Getting out and walking around at roughly 1pm, it was very safe and calm. Police were everywhere: courteous and polite. They wore their standard duty uniforms. I didn’t see anyone in SWAT gear.
I even went into the Ferguson Market and bought a juice – truly ground zero for Friday night’s orgy of violence and the epicenter of the crowd’s anger at “snitching” on Michael Brown, effectively destroying the narrative race hustlers had so carefully planted and nurtured.
The store was fully-restocked, which frankly, I wasn’t expecting. Aside from the plywood over the missing windows, you wouldn’t have really known the place had been plundered three nights before. I thanked the woman at the register for reopening the store. She was probably the owner’s wife, kid or daughter-in-law, and she didn’t seem exactly thrilled that they were open again.
Back outside, cops didn’t outnumber pedestrians, but it was close. Media outnumbered everyone.
The State troopers I encountered were almost nice. They were insisting people not to loiter, but to keep moving.
Most of the worst of the televised violence happened along a six or eight block stretch from roughly that Ferguson Market northward to the burned-out Quik Trip.
On several nights, some of the crowd – the hooligans and rioters aspect of the protesters – headed further north into Dellwood and pillaged some wireless stores, beauty stores, a few restaurants and some big box stores.
Frankly, this community and this street wasn’t what I expected.
With photos and video of the rioters and looters fitting every racial stereotype known to mankind, I expected Ferguson’s main drag to be a ghetto cesspool – you know, Englewood in Chicago or East St. Louis.
Not by a long shot.
It could have been University Avenue (or Cunningham, or Bradley, or Bloomington Road) in Champaign-Urbana. It could have been West Market Street in Bloomington, Vermilion Street in Danville, Eldorado in Decatur or North or South Grand Avenue in Springfield. It could have been any working class commercial district in any city in America.
There weren’t a lot of protesters or pedestrians there during the day. Maybe a few dozen in a six block stretch. There was a white girl who was very out of place. She had a sign promoting a communist message. She wasn’t using her bullhorn. I suspect she was saving it for later. Up the road, we heard one or two people yelling and a couple holding their hands up – probably not with the idea “Hands up – Don’t loot”. It wasn’t rowdy. In fact, it was just another day. (That all changes in the evening, obviously. The protesters are probably at work while I was there…)
It seems as though the locals are upset about Brown being shot (well, duh!). They are displeased with at-times heavy-handed police responses to the unrest, including some cops overtly pointing rifles at unarmed, orderly people during the day when generally things are pretty calm. Frankly, you point a gun at me without lawful reason, I’d be pretty salty too.
It’s the opportunistic criminals, most of them from outside of Ferguson, coming to get their chance to loot and pillage businesses in Ferguson, and those just north in Dellwood. And when the police scatter them from looting they melt into the neighborhoods surrounding the shops, further looking for opportunities to steal things, break into homes or just create anarchy on a smaller scale. If I were a nearby homeowner, I’d be very nervous.
If you take away anything from the unrest in Ferguson, it’s that something like that can happen in your community. If you live in or near an mid-size to large city area where there are stores and businesses, you’re at risk.
It can’t happen to you?
Yeah, think again.
I’m sure if you asked the residents along these streets in Ferguson and Dellwood a month ago if they thought something like this could happen, they would have laughed at you.
Frankly, this is one scenario where a semi-automatic police-patrol-type rifle would come in quite useful to protect and defend one’s home or business from attack. Do you have one and the knowledge, skills and abilities to employ it lawfully and effectively?
Something to think about.
When will this all end in Ferguson?
I don’t know. But so long as the professional agitators are in town, and the Obama regime keeps adding energy to the mix, it’ll probably keep going into the next weekend.
Just be thankful it’s not happening in your community.