Ferguson, Missouri, was once again engulfed in chaos and gunfire just before the close of the one year anniversary of Michael Brown’s death. Despite attempts by the Ferguson City Council to acknowledge the date in a positive manner by providing food and even free school supplies for local children, their “Unity Weekend” began to fall apart even before darkness fell.
During a solidarity march for Michael Brown and other young black men killed during police actions, protesters took shelter from heavy rains in local stores. At least one of those stores was subsequently looted as protesters spilled back onto the streets.
Shortly after 11pm, however, things turned violent. According to Police Chief Jon Belmar, officers were pursuing a man they believed to be armed. He turned on them and fired on their vehicles. When they exited the vehicles, the suspect continued to fire on the officers. They returned fire, and the suspect turned and ran. When the suspect turned and fired on the officers again, they returned fire and critically wounded him. He is currently listed in stable but critical condition at a local hospital.
The weapon police recovered from the suspect was a 9mm that had been previously reported stolen from a home in Cape Girardeau, MO.
In the aftermath of the shooting, one figure has been notably absent: Missouri Governor Jay Nixon. When the shooting occurred a year ago, Nixon made a name for himself when he failed to properly handle the situation. His lack of leadership forced National Guard troops to stand by while criminals (many imported for pay by outside agitators) practically burned one of his cities to the ground. He infamously was so unprepared that he had to be rescued from his own press conference by Malik Shabazz of the New Black Panther Party.
Ferguson remains tightly wound and only loosely contained, and the highest office in Missouri can’t even muster a tweet of support for those on the ground. Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder, however, is another story. Fresh off a speech from Ferguson’s “First Friday” event during which he praised Ferguson police officers for their hard work, the 2016 gubernatorial candidate took to Twitter this morning to offer prayers and support to the officers who went above and beyond in the face of verbal and physical threats.
Social media (along with several media outlets) is decrying the killing of yet another young man at the hands of police officers. I was reminded of Israel, and the fact that no matter how many rockets Hamas fires, as soon as Israel they become the aggressors (for no reason that I can see other than perhaps that they have better aim and are therefore more effective). In this case - and so many others recently - it seems that no matter what the criminal does, or how well he or she happens to be armed, if the police shoot back then they are obviously at fault.
One thing is for sure: it’s not over yet in Ferguson.