Reality on the Ground

longform-original-7455-1416935902-24Tuesday night was a little tense with more attempts at violence, particularly in front of City Hall.  However, when compared with Monday, the violence simmered quickly and everything that has happened since then has been remarkably limited in scope.  There are many who speculate that the presence of 2200 National Guardsman has curtailed the violence and there is probably more than a little truth to that.

However, there is a sense that we are not out of the woods yet.  A claim by a protester at the Ferguson PD that the Guard can’t protect the police forever seems to ring true, consistent with the generally accepted narrative that the violence isn’t over yet.  August was violent in the beginning and then tapered off.  November has proved to be violent and then shut off completely.  I have little problem saying that the reason for the inexplicable and sudden cessation of Monday levels of violence is not because of the hundred-hundred and fifty arrests since then.  Far more rioters were involved in the activities of Monday night than a hundred and fifty.

Fortunately, if there is one silver lining to be derived from the dark cloud that Monday night represented, it seems as though the media honeymoon with the protesters may be over.  Allowing the media to go where they want but with the caveat that they would be on their own if they ran into trouble allowed for reporters to see first hand the level of violence we encountered in the first couple of weeks.  The arguments by protesters that we were the problem back in August rings completely hollow when reporters are getting assaulted, robbed, carjacked, and shot at.

Interestingly, because of the Mike Brown supporters and their falling out with the media, a questionable use of less lethal force by a County Officer on Halls Ferry has completely failed to generate the outrage it normally would and probably should.  The specifics of that incident are still light on details and it seems as though the individual in question was probably a looter, but the use of less lethal force in this situation against the passenger is probably a mistake from the information available at this time.

Still, the media coverage has completely lacked the outrage present in the local and national coverage from before.  For example, a few weeks back, the FAA’s narrative about the county police requesting a no fly zone for media was reported at every news break when the story first came out.  Consequently, the FAA decided to divert flights landing at Lambert and restrict air travel below certain levels over Ferguson on Monday night due to regular reports of gunfire.  So much for the implication that the police were trying to exclude the media to cover up abuses.

The protester pushed narrative that the police were responsible for the violence appears to be at an end.  Still, a few intellectually and morally bankrupt writers like Sarah Kendzior maintain their solemn vigil like a vagrant huddled in the corner of a dark alley repeating nonsensical ramblings.  Rewind back to last week and the individuals boarding up their businesses were racist for assuming the protesters would turn violent.  Fast forward to our post-grand jury world, and the police and firemen are racist for supposedly letting W. Florissant burn.  She fails to reference her utterly wrong contention that the protests would be peaceful (to the point that disagreement was racist) or the repeated gunshots being fired at first responders by arsonists who didn’t want their efforts to go to waste.

Meanwhile, tonight will be my first night back to a regular ten hour shift, though our days off are still canceled until further notice.  We’ve been working twelve hours shifts since Monday and I’ve really started to notice a difference.  My mind and specifically my vocabulary are actively turning into mush.  Hopefully, the guard will help to bring about some degree of peace and I can stop living out the last act of Flowers for Algernon.



10 thoughts on “Reality on the Ground

  1. I really appreciate you sharing your experiences, it gives a more rational picture of what is really going on there. Would you mind clearing an item up for me? I know you really stressed and busy, but I read this article that was posted on my FB page linking to the site of not ex con) the article states that 3 black males guard a Conoco station from being burned or looted. Article goes into detail saying one of the men that is 6’8″ stands in the bed of a pickup with an AR-15 to protect the business of a white man on Monday night. My question is how many Conoco stations are there in a town of 22k? One of your earlier posts this week states that a Conoco station was burned to the ground. I have never been to St. Louis and I was just curious if there was more than one. Thank you. Stay safe out there.


    • I don’t know where this Conoco station is, or if it’s same one just earlier in the night. However, the one I was at was technically in Dellwood near W. Florissant and Stein. It was immediately next to the car lot and completely engulfed when we arrived. It’s pictured on the left hand side of one of the pictures I posted. I was facing south on W. Florissant. The burning building to the left, east of me, is what’s left of the Conoco at that point.


  2. Here’s an interesting story about the distortions of the media: “” This kind of behavior on the part of the media is downright shameful.


    • Excellent article, thanks for pointing it out.

      Reminds me of Igor Shafarevich’s observation in “The Socialist Phenomenon” about pacifist Anabaptist groups of the late Medieval era (modern Amish and Mennonite groups are in the Anabaptist tradition), some of which were so thoroughly pacifist they rejected even the eating of meat, who sometimes “switched from one extreme to the other overnight,” and then would suddenly attack surrounding towns and commit mass murder and robbery and rape and all manner of chaos until stopped. I don’t know who “Jones” is in that article, but that may be what he meant in saying, “a lot of these young people are on the knife’s edge between violence and nonviolence.” Once someone buys into an extremist and irrational position, apparently they can easily flip to its equally irrational opposite in a very short time.

      It’s my belief that only someone with a strong pacifist streak could ever believe that the police ought to be able to cope with violence without ever resorting to force. The difference, to me, is clear — violence is an attempt to coerce others into giving you what you want; force is used in defense of others or of the general peace. Bullying versus policing, in other words. I’m all for applications of force that do no harm and that are as gentle as possible, but I think it’s unrealistic to believe that there should be no overlap in terms of methods between those who are violent and those who have the right to use force. Those who endorse violence, and those who use force to prevent that, are always going to have fairly similar toolboxes because they are always going to live in the same world and, often as not, in the same culture.

      The idea that the police should be able to do their jobs without ever using physical force, be it physically overpowering someone or shooting off tear gas in response to riots, is dangerous, not just because it demonizes police who are handling a difficult task the best way possible, but also because it encourages a mindset that historically has led to violence. There’s a difference between holding police accountable and demanding inhuman perfection of the police; one is the sign of a free society, and the other a sign of a culture committing suicide. A fair percentage of the US population is way over on the wrong end of that spectrum, with most national news people leading that charge toward cultural death.


  3. I have a question for Officer Smith. In reading one of your earlier posts, you pointed out, as I recall that when you were in training to be a police officer, one of your training officers told you that if you were killed by an assailant with your own gun, it had better be because you had used it to the fullest to stop him (emptied the gun). What kind and caliber hand guns are issued to officers? I know a St. Louis police officer who told me (long before any of this recent Ferguson situation took place) that he was issued a .25 caliber hand gun, which, as I understand it, really doesn’t have that much “stopping power”. By contrast, the US military used to issue that .45 caliber handgun which, it was rumored, could blow somebody’s arm off! What do you know about this?



    • It depends on the agency. A lot of agencies in the county use S&W M&P .40’s. I believe the city still uses 9mm Beretta’s. I’ve seen a few Muni’s with Glocks including Florissant PD. Some agencies allow you to carry whatever you can qualify with (within reason). The trend seems to be .40 caliber for most. I have carried a .45 Sig in the past and while I never shot anyone with it, I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t take anyone’s arm off. Stopping power is a pretty heavily debated topic and ultimately comes down to personal preference. The trade off is fractional stopping power vs. number of opportunities to shoot. The jump in caliber is not nearly as dramatic as it seems or as some people like to make it out to be, though there is a distinct difference.


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