There is one verifiable fact in all of the chaos surrounding the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Michael Brown, an un-armed 18-year old kid, was shot and killed Saturday night by a Ferguson police officer. Michael Brown is dead. This is a fact. And since that terrible action, the suburb of over 21,000 residents has been up in arms with protests that started peacefully, but quickly turned into rioting, arson, assaults and looting.
Ferguson, Missouri turned into a war zone one day after Michael Brown was senselessly gunned down. There was no investigation. Ferguson PD barely had time to register that there had been a police-action shooting before the protests started. Those protests quickly escalated to violence, and at that point, the protests ceased to be covered by the First Amendment as now widespread crime was being committed.
"Protesters" shattered store windows at a Ferguson QuickTrip Gas Station and looted the shelves of goods. It was then burned to the ground. QuickTrip didn't shoot Michael Brown. A Wal-Mart was similarly looted as were cell phone stores and clothing stores. Cars were overturned, both civilian and police cruisers. These stores didn't shoot Michael Brown. Shots were fired into crowds of police officers. Live rounds. Fired at human beings. This stopped being protest then and became something much more. A war zone.
We've tasted war for so long that it's no longer foreign to us. Many of our friends and neighbors, mothers and fathers, sons and daughters have pulled on a uniform and went to Iraq and Afghanistan to fight. We turn on the news nightly and see Israel and Hamas blowing each other up between commercials for new Bacon-BBQ Whoppers at Burger King and whatever new concoction Papa John is selling these days. Russia invaded Crimea. Learn all about it after your local weather. War is a part of our lives. And because of that, we can't see it clearly when it is played out on our streets, right outside St. Louis, next to the famous arch that separates east and west. Right in middle America. And make no mistake. This is war.
And because this is war, the rules are different. In its extreme, it would be called martial law. It hasn't reached that level yet, but will soon, most likely. Right now, it is still a "police action." It's a dirty phrase, defiled by years of bleed/lead stories about bad cops, for which there were many. But Ferguson is a city in the grips of a police action. By definition, the police are peacekeepers. Their one goal is to uphold the peace.
There is no peace in Ferguson. One alleged bad guy wearing a uniform and badge killed an unarmed kid. This one cop doesn't represent Ferguson as a whole. He doesn't represent police officers as a body of men and women who work their asses off in their communities each day to try and make it better and safer. This is one cop in a small suburb who may have committed a crime. The Constitution says that he should be afforded a trial and be given due process. That didn't happen. The violence came first. The looting. The burning. The beatings. The property damage. And because of that, Ferguson is under Police Action.
In order to gain and maintain control during a Police Action, authorities have to demand that citizens disband and return to their homes. Yet, that isn't happening as more and more "protesters" are pouring in. Police are firing rubber bullets into the crowds, many unarmed, in attempts to break them up and get them to go back to their homes. Ferguson PD asked them to disband and they refused. Rioting and crime are going on. It is a Police Action now. This is our reality.
Twitter is sizzling with hashtags reporting the events from people on the streets. Whether they are there or not. It's the beauty of a hashtag. No matter what, it's all still the telephone game. Bloggers and social media darlings post images. Always of the bad guys in the uniforms, and never of the people actually breaking the law refusing to clear the streets.
The trained Journalists who refused to leave a restaurant that was being shut down were removed and detained, all the while screaming that their First Amendment rights were being violated. They weren't. A Police Action supersedes that. There is imminent danger on the streets of Ferguson. People were injured. Property destroyed. The only way that the danger can be contained is by civil obedience.
Instead, rioters fight the authorities trying to bring order back to this suburb in Middle America. Twitter screams that a politician has been detained. He was. Antonio French, an alderman from St. Louis, is smack in the middle of the riots, allegedly inciting and encouraging the rioters. Instead of helping to restore peace, French is lighting fires. More people--civilians and police--are injured. Yet, the crimes go on.
As reported here in The Inquisitr, the FAA has declared the airspace above Ferguson a no-fly zone. With the media attention that the riots are generating, this is standard procedure to ensure the safety of pilots in the air and of the people on the ground.
Twitter screams about the media blackout. That's also true. To restore order, the influx of "protesters" pouring in from outside of Ferguson must be stemmed and contained. The Washington Post is reporting that protesters in surrounding towns are traveling to Ferguson to join in the rioting. Adding more chaos. And still, more people are injured.
A media blackout serves to help contain the situation. The press argues that a media blackout is illegal and infringes on First Amendment rights. Ferguson Police used the media blackout to stop the advertising that Wal-Mart was unguarded, and that other stores, shops and restaurants were without doors and windows. It's not infringing on rights, it's about public safety and the protection of private property.
This was a tweet from Brittany Noble at KMOV in St. Louis. The media blackout isn't about hiding actions, it's about controlling the growing crowds.
Police asking media to leave west Florissant so that they can control the crowdsWhat's happening in Ferguson, Missouri is terrible any way you look at it. And while the Ferguson Police has done many things wrong here, it is still a war zone, and they are doing what they can to restore order. One thing is still for certain: Michael Brown is dead. Wal-Mart and other local stores have been ransacked. QuickTrip was burned to the ground. The police didn't do that. The "protesters" did. The same "protesters" that have been called "friendly" and "unarmed." These protesters committed these crimes. Maybe not all of them, but enough. And if we can't blame every single protester for the crimes being committed by a few, why do we blame every cop for the actions of a very few? Order and peace will return to Ferguson, hopefully soon. And it will be the Ferguson Police Department who restores that peace, but the citizens of Ferguson must keep the peace.
— Brittany Noble KMOV (@BrittanyNoble) August 12, 2014