There are two pressing questions from last night.
One, why was the St. Louis County Grand Jury verdict made public after sundown?
Two, where was the National Guard?
On the first question, I’ve asked for a response, but so far, have not received an answer. It was a bad decision for Prosecutor Bob McCulloch to reveal the verdict at that hour.
It is possible that a decision was made that once the grand jury had signed off on a verdict, there was concern that “leaks” would stir anger; facing that possibility, it might have been decided that the best thing was to go fully public and get all details out, to get ahead of rumors.
I don’t know that scenario was a fact, but I could see how it would come into play — I still don’t like the fact that it came about 8 in the evening.
Regarding the second question: A decision was clearly made not to use the National Guard on the streets in direct conflict with the public.
Mayor Slay had said that he only wanted National Guard in support roles, protecting facilities and locations.
It’s not clear what St. Louis County or Ferguson wanted, but the fact is … National Guard troops were not on the front line when things started going wild.
Shots were fired; buildings and cars were set on fire; bricks, bottles and rocks were thrown; looting was rampant; Interstate 44 blocked.
In those cases, you did not see National Guard troops.
Today, Governor Nixon said that 700 troops were covering 100 locations.
Well, wherever they were — those locations were never under any threat … so the guard, mobilized in a “state of emergency” got no orders to step into the front lines.
Now, Governor Nixon says he is calling up more troops. He says that tonight 2,200 National Guardsmen will be in the area.
The key is: How will they be used?
Back in those first days after Michael Brown’s death, many were complaining that police were too “militarized” in the first days. Tonight, you should see what true “militarization” looks like.
If Governor Nixon is going to declare a “state of emergency”, mobilize National Guard troops … USE THEM!
Tonight, we should have Martial Law declared.
A Curfew should be in place.
Peaceful demonstrators, do your thing and then get off the streets at the ordered time; that way the thugs can be rounded up a lot faster.
Another point, I know some black leaders who are “afraid” to speak out; they don’t like the grand jury decision, but accept it.
They are just too afraid to go public with their opinions.
To them: If you believe many in your community are wrong, have the courage to stand up and say so.
Don’t just mouth words that violence is not the answer. Don’t say, well it’s wrong, but can be understood.
Don’t switch from current events to reliving slavery and discrimination.
Don’t turn these current events into a class lesson for the future.
Deal with the here and now.
In future days, we can deal with resolving the differences and issues that divide.
Right now, stand up … speak up and say: This is wrong. Stop it.
Otherwise, your silence is adding fuel to the fire.