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Ferguson protests and Chicago bloodletting continue

Police don riot gear in Ferguson, Mo., where Gov. Jay Nixon has now ordered the National Guard to deploy.
Police don riot gear in Ferguson, Mo., where Gov. Jay Nixon has now ordered the National Guard to deploy.
Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is sending National Guard troops to clamp down on violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, as noted in today’s Seattle Times, and considering the weekend’s body count in Chicago, perhaps it’s time to deploy troops in that city as well.

While the national focus is on the single death of a black teen in Ferguson nine days ago, there seems less attention on the Windy City, where WTTM reported this morning that the weekend saw seven more people killed and “at least 29 others wounded in shootings across the city.” Chances are that most of those victims were also African-American.

Contradicting much of the rhetoric regarding the shooting of teen Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer identified as Darren Wilson – that Brown was said to have been shot in the back with his arms raised – an autopsy report released yesterday shows that all of the bullet entry wounds were in the front. This private autopsy was conducted by Dr. Michael Baden of New York, who was brought in by Brown’s family. The teen was hit “at least six times,” according to published reports, with four wounds in his right arm and two to his head.

The two head wounds suggest that Brown may have been lunging forward, with his head down, perhaps in a tackling stance. That still must be sorted out by a thorough investigation, of which Dr. Baden’s autopsy report will now be part of the record, as will the autopsy done separately by St. Louis County.

There is another issue, of course. Is the death of Michael Brown more important than the slayings of seven Chicago residents? They are all equally dead, all killed by gunshot wounds. Presumably at least some, if not all, were unarmed when they were shot. Yet in Chicago this morning, there is no media frenzy, no looting, no tear gas, no Al Sharpton and, at least so far, no National Guard troops to quell a week of violent protests.

According to the Times story, Gov. Nixon issued a statement in which he said, “These violent acts are a disservice to the family of Michael Brown and his memory and to the people of this community who yearn for justice to be served and to feel safe in their own homes.”

Meanwhile, the weekend also saw the San Francisco Chronicle reporting that money is beginning to flow into the campaign coffers of Initiatives 591 and 594. More money is being raised by I-594, with its big bucks backing by a number of wealthy Seattle-area elites, while I-591 backers are scrambling for contributions from a blue collar constituency.

The story quotes Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Bellevue-based Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, and spokesman for the I-591 campaign. He is not certain if the National Rifle Association, which has raised a reported $25,000 to oppose I-594, will come into the effort on a larger scale. Right now, the I-591 campaign has been seriously grassroots with the Washington Arms Collectors and CCRKBA, contributing most of the money so far.

Gottlieb acknowledged that his campaign has a tough fight ahead. Last week saw him taping a statement for TVW, ordering yard signs and bumper stickers.

I-594 backers contend that its expanded background checks and other tenets will have an impact on violent crime. Yesterday in Bellevue, there was a homicide at a fast food restaurant not far from where Gottlieb’s national CCRKBA headquarters is located. The victim was stabbed to death. There is nothing in I-594 that would prevent a fatal stabbing.

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