The Corner

Here’s How Citizens Are Preparing for Possible Mayhem in Ferguson

Residents of the greater St. Louis area are preparing for potential chaos tonight following the scheduled announcement of whether or not Officer Darren Wilson will be indicted in the killing of Michael Brown this past summer. Our Ryan Lovelace is on the ground, where citizens don’t entirely trust that law enforcement will be able to keep persons and property safe:

The announcement of the grand jury’s indictment decision is expected to come sometime this evening, though it’s not clear quite when.

Over the weekend, Ryan wrote that gun sales in the area have been soaring, worrying police:

“People were afraid that they were going to lose their gun rights [then], now they’re afraid they’re going to lose their lives,” says Steven King, the owner of Metro Shooting Supplies, a gun store near Ferguson, Mo. “Everybody is on edge because they don’t know where the lightning is going to strike.”    

He’s describing the atmosphere in the St. Louis metropolitan area as citizens await a grand jury’s decision about whether to indict police officer Darren Wilson, who is suspected of shooting 18-year-old Michael Brown. They fear violent riots, and King says he has never seen a spike in gun sales like this. While they rose after President Obama was elected in 2008, and after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, he says this time it’s different.

Metro Shooting Supplies sold more than 100 guns in a three-day span earlier this month when rumors spread that a grand jury was preparing to hand down its decision. “It’s not safe to go to downtown St. Louis anymore,” says Jack Konn, a customer at King’s store. “Something is going to happen really violent.” . . .

The police understand that gun sales have risen, says St. Louis County police sergeant Brian Schellman, but do not want residents to circumvent their authority. “We understand that people feel threatened and whatnot, but that’s what the police are for and we hope that they use our services,” he says. “If you feel that there’s a threat toward you or your family or your property, then you need to contact the police and not take concerns into your own hands.”

Patrick Brennan was a senior communications official at the Department of Health and Human Services during the Trump administration and is former opinion editor of National Review Online.

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