WP: St. Louis doesn't riot; till the police murder of Michael Brown, Why?Submitted by meekandmild on Tue, 08/12/2014 - 20:43
That has long been part of the city’s lore. During the 1960s civil rights era, this city along the Mississippi River stayed calm — even as Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit and Washington all burned. St. Louis was in their league back then. The nation’s 10th largest city. A sizable black population. And after Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968, tens of thousands of people marched through the city streets. But St. Louis suffered no widespread violence.
It was one of those hard-to-explain moments. St. Louis doesn’t riot.
And then, Sunday night, it did.
Riots and vandalism broke out in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. An 18-year-old black man named Michael Brown was fatally shot by police there. Brown was unarmed. Events leading up to the shooting were unclear. Police and the FBI have promised to investigate. But a day after Brown died, violence erupted. Stores were looted. A gas station was torched. Shots were fired at police.
Maybe it was how police reacted to what initially was a peaceful memorial service for Brown. Maybe it was the echoes of Trayvon Martin, the Florida teen gunned down by a neighborhood watch volunteer. Maybe the crowd sensed police weren’t taking their concerns seriously.
It’s still unclear why, this time, tensions boiled over. But to many people, it had little to do with this town. The violent reaction grew from something larger, something tougher to pin down.