” Seven people were arrested and one person shot early Sunday in Ferguson, Mo.,” usatoday.com reports, “as police and protesters clashed again in a haze of tear gas despite a curfew that took effect at midnight.” Wait. Tear gas? Didn’t Missouri State Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson promise “we won’t enforce [the curfew] with trucks, we won’t enforce it with tear gas“? As for those “trucks” (a.k.a., armored personnel carriers) . . . “A team of officers from the Missouri State Highway Patrol, St. Louis city and county police moved armored vehicles down the street of the St. Louis suburb just after the midnight curfew Sunday,” bostonglobe.com reports. “It turned out the timing was coincidental, said patrol Capt. Ron Johnson.” How’s this for coincidence . . .
Police received a report that people broke into Red’s Barbecue and some were on the roof — creating a potential danger for officers trying to disperse the protesters. Police were responding to that report — not the fact that protesters were still on the street after curfew, Johnson said.
Regardless, you might say the Ferguson curfew was a failure in conception and execution. To wit:
As the curfew deadline arrived Sunday, remaining protesters — chanting ‘‘No justice! No curfew!’’ — refused to leave the area. And as five armored tactical vehicles approached the crowd, officers spoke through a loudspeaker: ‘‘You are in violation of a state-imposed curfew. You must disperse immediately. Failure to comply, may result in arrest.’’
As officers put on gas masks, a chant from the distant crowd emerged: ‘‘We have the right to assemble peacefully.’’ A moment later, police began firing canisters into the crowd of protesters.
Highway Patrol Spokesman Lt. John Hotz initially said police only used smoke, but later told The Associated Press that they also fired tear gas canisters . . . Johnson said one tear gas canister was deployed Friday night after the group of rioters became unruly and several officers got trapped and injured.
Hmmm. Little disconnect there. Anyway, “Johnson said one person was shot overnight and is in critical condition,” usatoday.com reveals, “but he couldn’t confirm whether the shooting victim was a protester. The shooting happened on West Florissant Avenue, one of the main thoroughfares in Ferguson and the scene of protests for the last week.”
So . . . maybe? But we know that it wasn’t someone shot by a home or business owner protecting their property against looting. (A story that has got nearly zero play in the mainstream media.) It seems there are guns on the “other side” of the equation, too. The Globe offered this tidbit:
Jayson Ross, who was leading the protesters toward police before the canisters were fired, said: ‘‘They got guns. We got guns. We are ready.’’
Bluster? Who knows? While I don’t see militia members racing to Ferguson to support the “protestors” against government agents (a la the Bundy Ranch), the vibe coming out of the conflict is a lot different than the race riots that swept the nation in the 70s. To quote Warren Zevon, it ain’t that pretty at all. How’s this image grab you?