It looks like we may be in the home stretch of this ridiculously drawn out local criminal matter. Â After most of the online community got punked by a rumor that the Darren Wilson grand jury would be returning their indictment decision on Monday, November 10, we in the St. Louis region are still waiting for an answer. Â However, that does not mean that nothing has been going on.
Today, Gov. Jay Nixon, who still says the name of the state like he’s from DeSoto (he is), discussed the listening tour that has been going on in the name of being in this together and all being on the same page, as well as some specifics, but not too many on the preparations before the Ferguson show down, if there is one.
- Local police forces have had 5,000 hours of training on how to deal with such incidents. Â Beyond that, Nixon did not give details.
- The National Guard has been called up as a contingency, just in case things get ugly, but just as a contingency.
- The controlling police entities will be a combination of St. Louis Metropolitan police (city), St. Louis County Police and the Missouri Highway Patrol.
- Violence will not be tolerated. Â At the heart of the governor’s remarks was the defense of free speech and the safety of the citizens.
That was the gist of it. Â This, of course, was in addition to boarding up windows, postcards mailed to residents telling them what to do if it gets violent, businesses being on edge, a run on gun shops, etc. Â To say people here in St. Louis are upset, apprehensive and not happy about all of this is an understatement.
What was more impressive, was the sentiment expressed by St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar. Â He pointed out that we got very lucky in the first wave of violence. Â There were few injuries and fatalities. Â The question of whether or not we can avoid that again is to be seen.
The governor was asked about intelligence reports regarding imported agitators and he was reluctant to give details other than actual facts were being sorted from the rhetoric flying around the internet.
What still is being pressed by the more peaceful of the protest groups is the underlying “issues” that are perceived as being unfair or discriminatory. Â There is still an accusation that there is institutional racism, and racial profiling by the police, as well as hiring practices in police departments that do not reflect the racial make-up of the communities served. Â Only one municipality in the St. Louis region has any sort of accurate reflection in that regard. Â (It happens to be one of the bigger ones.)
As a resident of the St. Louis region, and one who lives very close to the “line” that divides us, a lot of the division in that regard is voluntary. Â We’ve gravitated to polarity, and it is by no means absolute. Â The police concentrate on the people committing crimes. Â If the majority of the people speeding who are stopped for it happen to be black, maybe it would be a good idea to slow down.
So, now back to our regularly scheduled programming. Â The county prosecutor says the earliest the grand jury will be ready with a decision is Saturday.