Rioting resumed last night, 9/23 into 9/24/2014. The scale was reduced and the extent not near as widespread as on 8/10 and 8/17, but the results sickeningly similar. Fortunately, the scale was small enough that an aid call did not result. Still, buildings burned, other fires were set, businesses were looted, gunshots were fired all over, and Molotovs were thrown. Specifically, Whistle Stop, a restaurant for those not aware, was set on fire as were a number of other buildings. At this point, I’m not clear on the extent of the damage. I do know that it wasn’t the only building victimized by arsonists.
What is of particular note is that Whistle Stop, along with a number of others which were victimized in the area, were looted along S. Florissant. S. Florissant is not to be confused with W. Florissant where the bulk of the activity has taken place thus far. For those unfamiliar with the region there are essentially two Florissant roads. It’s actually more complicated but I’ll keep it down to two for simplicity sake. South Florissant and North Florissant unsurprisingly run south and north accordingly while running along the west side of Ferguson. On the other hand is West Florissant which comes out of the city heading east and west, but starts to veer northwest as it heads through Jennings and finally takes a north and south route in Ferguson on the east side of that city.
The west side of Ferguson contains the historic district that is fairly nice and considered to be the “White” side of town. The east side of Ferguson containing W. Florissant and Canfield Apartments is largely known as the poor or “Black” side of town. The expansion of rioting into the nicer part of town is something that many have called for since the beginning. Apparently, we’re now seeing this desire materialized.
So what caused this latest escalation?
Apparently, this was all in reference to a small fire which began at a Mike Brown memorial on Canfield road, near the sight of his death. Was the fire intentionally set? Were there any witnesses or evidence to support the arbitrary jump-to-conclusions mat consensus that some racist white inciter was responsible? No. However, the Post Dispatch was apparently not too worried about facts when writers decided to quote the local fire science experts who represent the residents of Canfield Apartments.
“There is no doubt about it. Someone waited until everyone was asleep and set it on fire. There is no way a candle did this; someone used gasoline.”
With what is the self-proclaimed leader of the Canfield Apartment Watchmen basing his opinion? Apparently nothing. Utterly Irrelevant Capt. Ron Johnson arrived in the area sometime around 11 AM by himself evidently in need of some face time with a camera. He added to the confusion by both confirming that there is no evidence of wrong doing, but, according to the Post-Dispatch, also making sure to add that, ” police were investigating a video showing a blue vehicle near the scene at the time the fire started.” In other words, he implied that there was something to the rumors regarding the fire being intentionally set. A crowd of about 75 people apparently chased him off after he commented on the blue vehicle, according to the Post.
Of course, even if the fire was set by a fully costumed KKK member, the resulting actions of the community would still not be justified. I may be ill-informed as to the nature of the Klan, but I’m at a loss as to how a black-owned beauty supply shop which was looted last night has any connection whatsoever with the burning of the Michael Brown memorial. Then again, perhaps that makes it the perfect cover.
Another possible contributing factor to the recent escalation was the decision by the US Justice Department to exclude all non-residents and media from future city council meetings. All accounts of the meetings that followed indicate division but oddly uncharacteristically peaceful proceedings. In fact, the proceedings were so calm it seems to me that there might be more credence to the theory that the conflict has been driven by outside forces.
Those wanting tension and racial violence as well as their opportunity to demonize the police have thusly been missing out as members of the community have started to come together to hash out their differences. Unfortunately, peace runs contradictory to the agendas of many within the community and abroad who have been feeding off of the community suffering. In other words, if the memorial was intentionally set ablaze, the list of suspects is long indeed. However, a set of unattended candles sitting in the midst of memorial made up of paper objects, balloons, and stuffed animals are not exactly fireproof.
Two County Officers were injurred. One was hit underneath his eye with a rock or brick.