[Note: The situation in Ferguson is as such that even lowly music journalists such as myself have felt compelled to report on the scene -- I wrote this article, which was published Wednesday -- despite having more experience with things like Ra Ra Riot than real-life riots. In keeping, I am an idiot who probably has no business being on the ground, and who should probably be leaving this work to RFT's actual news reporters, whose work has been simply astounding. I offer this article as my case in point. Hopefully it can bring a small amount of much-needed levity and laughter to a city in the midst of a terrible situation. This story occurred on Wednesday night, before the St. Louis County force was replaced by the decidedly less-militarized state troopers. Enjoy.]
|Technically not my car, but a good enough approximation.|
At approximately 9:30 p.m. Wednesday night, after hitting several police roadblocks around the site of the protesting in Ferguson, I finally found a way to drive into the fray, popping out just behind the line where police were turning away cars. I parked on a residential street that runs perpendicular to W. Florissant, and the first thing I saw was an armored personnel vehicle 40 yards away from my position, loaded with cops dressed in all their military finery. Nearby, I watched other police officers dropping smoke flares on the ground and turning away cars that were coming through. One of the full-riot-gear police stood in the middle of the street, holding a shotgun and telling vehicles and pedestrians alike to turn around and go the other way. Overhead, a police helicopter repeatedly shined a spotlight on pedestrians including myself, flashing it to indicate further that we should leave, and just south of my location police had begun deploying rubber bullets, flash grenades, tear gas and sound cannons.
In awe of the scene, I stepped slowly out of my car and shut the door, distracted and neglecting to realize I had left my keys sitting on the passenger seat. I figured it out two seconds after the door closed, as is often the case in these matters.More »