State of Confusion

proxySo Governor Nixon has preemptively declared a State of Emergency in St. Louis ahead of further possible riots resulting from a Grand Jury decision in the shooting of Michael Brown. The problem is that while this sounds ominous, the reality is that nothing much has changed. The executive order detailing the deployment of the National Guard leaves the entire issue eyebrow-raising-ly vague. While it’s clear the Guard is only meant to be used in a support role, there is zero information on where the guard will be deployed (even as far as cities) or how many guardsman will even be in the area.

The most interesting part of the last several days to me was Nixon’s discussion of a “unified command” which was a phrase he used for the first time a few days prior to the state of emergency declaration. Up until that press conference, we were told during the mandated trainings that the County would be in charge of the County and the City would be in charge of the City. Everyone was going to be operating essentially as their own respective agencies in their own respective venues (primarily due to the fact that there is expected unrest in Ferguson, St. Louis City near Shaw, and Clayton, instead of just Ferguson this time). This was in contrast to what happened in August when you had municipalities as far west as Weldon Springs in St. Charles sending officers to bolster a force of countless other muni’s, St. Louis City and County, St. Charles City and County, and the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

One other interesting, but related, footnote to come out of the “unified command” was that Capt. Ron Johnson (MSHP) was still going to be in a supervisory role. Obviously, about a month or so ago, St. Louis County was put back in charge of the Ferguson response. Rumors were spreading that Johnson was not only being removed as the head of the Ferguson response, but also as a Capt. of Troop C.  From what I was told, he was being transferred to some type of face-saving ceremonial “training” position in Jefferson City after complaints by other troopers and St. Louis County Police to the Superintendent of the Highway Patrol, Ron Replogle. The complaints of the other troopers and the county were supposedly similar to my complaints from the blog entry “Oh Captain, My Captain.” Whether the rumors were false or whether Jay Nixon simply overrode the reassignment is not clear. Since Ron Johnson is NOT ultimately in control of this response anymore, even as an equal co-leader of the “unified command,” clearly something administrative happened.

Like anything and everything else that happens in Ferguson these days, the State of Emergency Declaration is being used as evidence that the Grand Jury Decision is imminent. However, Bob McCulloch supposedly hasn’t even spoken with the Governor since this all began back in August. Like the other developments in this case, it seems as though no one really knows when the Grand Jury decision will finally be reached. To me, this is evidence that the most likely reality is that the Grand Jury is still deliberating and the indictment/no indictment question is still in the air for all the speculating and tea-leaf reading that has taken place. We just don’t know anything yet.

Naturally, having said that, watch the decision take place tomorrow, now that I’ve said that it won’t…


10 thoughts on “State of Confusion

  1. In my opinion, Captain Johnson was brought in because he was an African American, in the hope that he could help calm things down. I think he tried, but some people were going to cause trouble, no matter what the race of the police force leadership was. To me, this just shows that the demand that police forces be “more like us” isn’t worth the hot air used to speak it–some people have no respect for the police no matter what. I think Governor Nixon realizes that letting people loot and pillage last time has not gone over very big with a large majority of people anywhere–just look at some of the comments to some of the articles posted on the web in recent days–if lynching rioters were legal, many would enjoy watching it happen. Most of those leaving comments are fed up with the rioters, and the officials who let them get away with it.

    If I were running this “show”, I would set it up the following way:

    (1) Protestors would not be allowed to block streets or entrances to public or private building at any time. After being told to get out of the way, and a count to ten, they would be arrested.

    (2) Police and the National Guard would be dressed in full riot gear. Each officer would have an automatic weapon, (M16, AK47, or equal). Rubber bullets in these weapons are fine. Each officer would also have a Colt 45 pistol of the type that used to be given to US military officers, MPs, and SPs, loaded with live ammunition. Protestors would be told, if you loot, or assault anyone in any way, you will be arrested. If we have to go into a crowd to get you, we will. If you threaten anyone’s life, you will be stopped with whatever force is required. We might have to shoot you, or kill you. We will if we have to.

    (3) I would place two or three officers equipped as described above in front of every business in Ferguson, and in other nearby areas. I would place larger groups of officers at strategic locations so they could be quickly sent where needed to prevent looting and rioting. Since the streets are kept clear, they could get to where they needed to be.

    (4) I would use helicopters to keep an eye on things, and equipment with both cameras to record the situation, and snipers.

    (5) If there were a way to put snipers on buildings, especially in places like Clayton, MO, I would do that also.

    I’m no military strategist, but what I have outlined, in my opinion, would correct some of the errors made in the handling of the previous “protests”.

    We know that the protest groups have complained about the Governor merely calling up the National Guard, saying that the protestors would be “self-policing”. They are either naive or stupid if they think they can deal better with violent protestors than an armed force can. Some people have to be forcibly restrained from doing bad things. It’s unfortunate, but experience teaches that it’s true.

    The job of the police is not to coddle those who break the law. It’s time to make that abundantly clear.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Is that picture at the top supposed to be just a plywood sign, or a homemade shield? That handles seem to be in an odd place since they appear to be on the front.


      • I just read an artical on Washington Post about them. Apparently some of the shield/signs have sharp edges and exposed screws, but they claim they are going to round off the edges and cover the screws….right.


  3. Winston Smith–have you seen this?


  4. Is this a joke? Unified command cannot be serious. The fact that they responded at all to any of these demands is beyond belief. Wow! I am sorry but demands for law enforcement to allow people to break the law should not be tolerated. Period. Much less responded to. What the hell is wrong with law enforcement officials in St. Louis? It has always been my understanding that becoming a police officer required being sworn in to protect the citizens by upholding the laws of the state or county. That must not be the case any longer, at least in St. Louis county. To the law enforcement officials in St. Louis county: how dare you endanger the lives of the very brave officers that put their lives on the line in said county, as well as the law abiding citizens that live there by even acknowledging a list of demands from a group of violent looters and arsonists. To the officers in St. Louis and surrounding areas: Stay safe out there. Especially since it seems officials may not have your back.


    • The way I read it, Unified Command didn’t give up anything of substance in replying to the protest group’s Rules of (Engagement) Conduct. The Command even asked the protestors to play fairly from their side and renounce some of the bad things protestors have been doing as well. Take a look at items 6, 11, 14, and 18 to see that this is so. If the protestors read the Command’s reply as any kind of concessions, they are sadly mistaken and will be quite surprised should anyone break the law. Already, protestors by the Ferguson Police Station the last few nights have been arrested for blocking the streets. I feel this is a definite step forward, something we didn’t see near enough of last August.


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