Lessons To Be Learned From Ferguson

As I write this, there are still more questions than answers being created by the tragedy in Ferguson, MO. You know the story. At least the parts of the story that best serve the political interests of those involved. Black teenager shot and killed by a white Ferguson policeman. Local residents, and others from as far away as California and New York, saw it as an opportunity to rob and pillage local merchants and convenience stores. The Reverends Jesse and Al showed up, along with US Attorney General Holder and 44 FBI agents. President Obama sent his regrets to the family of the deceased.

Was the teenager an innocent victim? Was the officer justified in his action? I have no idea. My ol’ daddy used to say, “Believe nothing you hear, and only half of what you see.” And that was before the days of mass media and television!

But one thing has become clear, unfortunately. In times of mass protests and mass assaults, don’t depend upon local law enforcement to protect you.

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Remember the Rodney King riots? I was living in Atlanta at the time, and locals used the Rodney King incident as an excuse to stage similar protests. The Atlanta Chief of Police went on TV to inform us that he just didn’t have enough officers to provide citizen protection. The best he could hope for was to be able to arrest the looters. That was the first time I ever felt the need to own a handgun or get a carry permit. So I got both.

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We have seen the pictures of the trashed and burned liquor and convenience stores. Even the one that the teen-aged victim was alleged to have robbed. But there were exceptions. There were stores that suffered no damage at all. Two such establishments were “Country Guns,” and the adjacent “St. Louis Ink Tattoo Studio,” located less than 10 minutes from where the rioters did their looting and burning.

The two business owners decided to join forces, with one providing the armaments, and the other the personnel. Hearing reports of the rioting, they rushed to their places of businesses. When they arrived, the neighboring Dollar General store had already been destroyed. Adam Weinstein, owner of Country Guns, provided the inventory, and tattoo artist Mike Gutierrez and friends took up arms and manned the sidewalk in front of their places of business. “Nothing was touched,” Weinstein said. “I won’t elaborate on how we did that, but suffice it to say if you see a bunch of crazy guys with machine guns, you know to go the other way.” Their presence also protected an adjoining beauty salon and cell phone store.

Like Tennessee, Missouri has no state permit requirements for the purchase of a rifle, shotgun, or handgun, and there are no state licensing requirements to own them. I believe it is called “Exercising your Second Amendment Rights.”

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