Madness In Ferguson Continues
By Carol Brown
It’s next to impossible to keep up with the madness that has come to embody the word “Ferguson.”
Here are just a few of the latest examples of society run amuck.
Jay Nixon has not done a good job protecting businesses in and around Ferguson. Shop after shop has been looted and burned. His response has been too little too late.
Filling this void have been some compassionate and patriotic Americans who have stepped in to help protect and defend local shops from destruction. A group called the Oath Keepers has been providing private security, free of charge to local businesses. The New York Times reports:
When Sam Andrews awoke on Tuesday morning, he found his wife watching a television interview with a woman whose bakery had been vandalized during the violent unrest here on Monday.
“She said, ‘You’ve got to go help her,’ ” Mr. Andrews said in an interview on Saturday morning.
And so Mr. Andrews, a former Defense Department contractor who is now a weapons engineer in the St. Louis area, set to work. Under the auspices of a national group called the Oath Keepers, Mr. Andrews accelerated plans to recruit and organize private security details for businesses in Ferguson, which are receiving the services for free. The volunteers, who are sometimes described as a citizen militia — but do not call themselves that — have taken up armed positions on rooftops here on recent nights.
“It’s really a broad group of citizens, and I’m sure their motivations are all different,” said Mr. Andrews, who is in his 50s. “In many of them, there’s probably a sense of patriotism. But I think in most of them, there’s probably something that they probably don’t even recognize: that we have a moral obligation to protect the weakest among us. When we see these violent people, these arsonists and anarchists, attacking, it just pokes at you in a deep place.” (snip)
But on Saturday, with the county police said to be threatening the Oath Keepers with arrest, the volunteers decided to abandon their posts and instead protest against the authorities…. (snip)
On its website, Oath Keepers released a recruiting message to “all skilled veterans and patriots” and asked them to “grab your gear and start rolling toward Ferguson.” The post listed nine types of people the group was seeking, including paramedics, police officers, “private drone operators” and videographers who could “film any encounters with looters.”
Mr. Andrews said he researched the qualifications of each volunteer, as well as whether any might have racially based motivations to participate.
“I don’t want any racists in my group,” he said. “I don’t want any people who want to visit violence on any group. I only want professionals with real credentials that can be verified and have experience in dealing with violence.”
But the St. Louis County police, Mr. Andrews said, and other law enforcement officials have expressed misgivings.
“When we hear information that someone, or a group, is providing security without a license, our department has to investigate the issue,” a police spokesman, Shawn McGuire, said in an email on Saturday.
Mr. Andrews said that the warning on Friday was tantamount to a temporary shutdown order, and he said he did not expect his volunteers to defy it.