More looting, violence in Ferguson, MO, after memorial to Michael Brown accidentally catches fire

More looting, violence in Ferguson, MO, after memorial to Michael Brown accidentally catches fire

What does it take to induce the black inhabitants of Ferguson, Mo., to riot in the streets, destroy property, and steal from one another? If no other provocation is handy, an act of God will do just fine.

Yesterday, it was noted in Quick Takes that some genius in the town decided to cobble together a memorial to Michael Brown — the teen whose shooting death at the hands of police is under investigation — by arranging stuffed animals around a lit candle. As we all learned (or should have learned) in third-grade science, fire requires three elements to ignite: heat, fuel, and an oxidizing agent. Now, class, which item in the above description provides the fuel? Correct, the stuffing in the toys. The lit candle provides the heat, the ambient air the oxidizing agent, and — poof! Instant fire.

It takes far less to ignite the passions of a mob of people who been told repeatedly that the system is stacked against them. The result, as St. Louis station KMOV-TV reported, was a fresh eruption of violence:

The St. Louis County Police Department said five people were arrested, one business was looted and vandalized and officers were hit with rocks after an unruly crowd gathered in Ferguson Tuesday night.

St. Louis County Police said they received four calls for “shots fired” starting at 9:03 p.m.

The Ferguson Police Department said they received a call for looting which brought them to the Beauty Town store at 9163 W. Florissant. Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson said the looters tried to take a cash register from the store. All of the store’s windows have been boarded up.


The unrest began less than 15 hours after the memorial to Michael Brown Jr. caught on fire. The memorial was feet away from where Brown was fatally shot on Aug. 9 by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson. Police speculate the fire was caused by candles. Tensions in the area were growing throughout the day.

CBS reports that the owner of the beauty supply store said that more than $100,000 in merchandise had been stolen. The store, which sustained damage during the first round of “protests” in the days after the Brown shooting in August, had a large banner in its front window announcing “Beauty Town is back.”

So, unfortunately for Beauty Town, were the looters.

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Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy has written for The Blaze, HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, Smart Life with Dr. Gina, and The George Espenlaub Show.


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