The Morning Jolt

Charlotte Erupts, Again

Charlotte Erupts, Again

The world never stops turning, and the political environment of this cycle never stops churning. It’s entirely possible that someday we will look back at the presidential election of 2016, and when we talk about the decisive factor or event in the race, we may discuss something that hasn’t happened yet. Think about just the past twelve days or so: Hillary Clinton collapses at Ground Zero; New York City, Minnesota, and New Jersey are the targets of terror attacks, and now Charlotte erupts in violence for a second night:

Reporters, and state troopers in tactical gear, centered around the EpiCentre, the entertainment complex at College and Trade streets that faced looting and sustained significant damage and was expected to be closed for the day. Businesses damaged there included Sundries EpiCentre, CVS, Enso and Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse.

The NASCAR Hall of Fame was among the sites hit by vandals. On Thursday morning, a street sign hung from the front window of the hall’s news center, after vandals tried prying out the front window. Adjacent restaurants and hotels were also damaged, with doors and windows broken out.

An official with the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority said they were working to assess damage to the NASCAR Hall of Fame building, and the adjacent convention center, and would release a statement soon.

Among the spots hit by vandals was the headquarters of the region’s United Way, across from the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The United Way building had its lobby windows smashed out. It was unclear early Thursday if looters entered the building.

Given the “ongoing civil unrest,” Bank of America told its employees not to report to their uptown offices on Thursday. The bank’s headquarters is in the heart of the city and two blocks from the city where most of the riot damage occurred overnight.

Wells Fargo also told all non-essential employees to work from home.

A Duke Energy spokesman told the Observer Thursday morning that all non-essential personnel who work in uptown are being told to stay home for the day.

Protesters are convinced the police shot an unarmed protester in the head; the police say they didn’t fire the shot.

The ongoing violence stems from police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott; police said he was armed; protesters claim he had a book.

Police said they had been searching for someone who had an outstanding warrant at The Village at College Downs complex on Old Concord Road when they saw Keith Lamont Scott leave his car holding a gun.

CMPD said Scott got out, had a gun on him, and put the officers in imminent danger. Officer Brentley Vinson shot Scott. Both men were African-American, a police official said.

“Man was in his truck, reading a book waiting for his kid to come home,” said a man on scene. “Cops shot him, for nothing.”

Charlotte’s NBC affiliate is now showing a photo allegedly coming from a witness, showing a gun at the scene:

Hey, Is Anybody in America’s Media Paying Attention to the ISIS Mustard Gas?

A few weeks ago, I wrote that it’s a sad fact that almost no one cares about chemical-weapons attacks in Syria — or anywhere else, really.

Not even when it’s aimed at our troops, apparently:

ISIS is suspected of firing a shell with mustard agent that landed at the Qayyara air base in Iraq Tuesday where US and Iraqi troops are operating, according to several US officials.

The shell was categorized by officials as either a rocket or artillery shell. After it landed on the base, just south of Mosul, US troops tested it and received an initial reading for a chemical agent they believe is mustard.

No US troops were hurt or have displayed symptoms of exposure to mustard agent.

One official said the agent had “low purity” and was “poorly weaponized.” A second official called it “ineffective.”

Newsbusters notices that none of the network evening news broadcasts mentioned the mustard-gas attack.

You have to go over to the U.K. Daily Telegraph to get a sense of ISIS’s chemical-weapons capabilities and the worst-case scenario:

While it is the first chemical attack against US troops, there have been 20 documented cases of chemical weapons being used against the Kurdish Peshmerga army, which has been moving in on the city from the east for the last few months.

Hamish de Bretton Gordon, former commanding officer of the UK Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Regiment (CBRN)who has been advising and training the Peshmerga in Kurdistan, said troops should be prepared for bigger and more lethal chemical attacks.

He told the Telegraph that Peshmerga commanders have intelligence that Isil has rigged with explosives a chemical plant 25 miles south of Mosul and six miles north of Qayyarah.

An explosion at Misraq, which holds thousands of tonnes sulphur dioxide and hydrogen sulphide, could be catastrophic.

Mr de Bretton Gordon’s downwind predictions of six-10 miles would mean Iraqi, and any supporting US, forces would be at risk.

ISIS controls a chemical plant that produces sulfur? Does this not seem alarming to anyone?

My super-secret spying techniques — Google searching — found this picture of the Misraq State Sulfur Company facility, upgraded in 2015:

Monday we were lucky from the terrorists stateside; flying shrapnel not killing anyone, bombs not going off, bombs found by homeless men. This week we’re almost as lucky with the terrorists overseas.

The problem is that luck is not a strategy, and sooner or later, luck changes.

National Stop-and-Frisk? Let’s Stop Groping for Answers.

Oh, yay, stop-and-frisk on a national scale, brought to you by the government that brought you the wandering hands of the Transportation Security Administration.

Asked earlier in the day during a Fox News town hall, set to air Wednesday night, how he would stem “violence in the black community,” the Republican presidential nominee quickly offered up the notion of allowing police officers to stop and pat down individuals they deem suspicious of carrying weapons or contraband.

“One of the things I’d do, Ricardo, is I would do stop-and-frisk. I think you have to. We did it in New York, it worked incredibly well and you have to be proactive and, you know, you really help people sort of change their mind automatically,” Trump said in response to an audience member’s question.

Where to begin? I don’t want police policy being set by the Oval Office. As of now, it’s been ruled unconstitutional, although it’s probably going to end up being argued before the Supreme Court. You would like to think any conservative who respects the Constitution would at least be a little wary about giving the police broad latitude to frisk anyone they want, for their own definition of “suspicious” and probable cause.

Hey, you know who else was a big fan of stop-and-frisk? Mike Bloomberg.

Audio surfaced online this week of former Mayor Michael Bloomberg candidly talking crime and gun control, stating that the “only way to get guns out of kids hands is to throw them up against the wall and frisk them.”

Bloomberg, 73, spoke to the Aspen Institute on Feb. 6, on a wide range of topics that mostly focused on his political endeavors.

“It’s controversial, but . . . 95% of your murders, and murderers, and murder victims fit one M.O.,” Bloomberg said. “They are male, minorities, 15 to 25. That’s true in New York, it’s true in virtually every city in America.”

He added, “You’ve got to get the guns out of the hands of the people that are getting killed. First thing you can do to help that group is to keep them alive.”

This morning on Fox and Friends, Trump explicitly said the police should be able to stop people, frisk them, and take their guns away if they think that person shouldn’t have them. “They know who has a gun, who shouldn’t be having a gun.”

Nice job, Republican primary voters! Heck of an endorsement, my NRA friends!

ADDENDA: If you’re Hillary Clinton, you’re probably looking at Georgia as the red state most likely to turn blue. You’re probably hoping to have a really good debate performance to spur a poll surge there. Drive up turnout in Atlanta high enough, and you might have an outside shot at beating the GOP voters coming out in the suburbs and rural areas . . .

Too bad for her that the Atlanta Falcons are playing the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football that night. 

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