Outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder’s Friday video message to police in Ferguson, Mo. — urging restraint when dealing with anticipated protests following a grand jury ruling in the Michael Brown shooting — may have taken a credibility trip to nowhere after the FBI reportedly arrested two men yesterday in an alleged gun and bomb plot in connection with the planned protests.
Reports in Reuters, the Daily Mail and other news agencies including CBS News identified the suspects as Brandon Orlando Baldwin and Olajuwon Davis. They are alleged to have illegally purchased two Hi-Point .45-caliber pistols, according to the CBS report, quoting court documents.
Holder’s video, extolling the virtues of peaceful protest and public safety, encouraged law enforcement to be restrained. The First Amendment protects the right of free speech and protest, but it doesn’t protect the use of bombs or guns.
If the allegations have merit, and bombs had gone off and guns had been fired, it might be fair to wonder whether the culprits would have shared the blame with so-called “weak” gun laws that allow “easy access to guns.” The FBI has reportedly dispatched about 100 agents to Ferguson, and it has also been reported by Reuters that “hundreds of civil rights attorneys” have descended on the community.
The attorneys are there to monitor police reaction to civil disorder. Will any of those attorneys rush to defend the two suspects in the alleged gun/bomb plot?
While everyone is urging calm on the surface, activities in Ferguson over the past few nights suggest that trouble is brewing. Trouble is especially anticipated if the grand jury decides not to file charges against officer Darren Wilson. He shot Brown in August on a Ferguson street in a controversial confrontation that is hotly disputed.
The shooting was followed by weeks of unrest that included property damage, looting and arrests. This new alleged gun and bomb plot ratchets things up quite a bit.
According to veteran law enforcement and self-defense author Massad Ayoob, writing in his Backwoods Home column this week, “Agenda-driven outside protesters are already (in Ferguson), and have been poised for quite some time. The protesters’ alliance encompasses many of the usual suspects in the race-baiting-for-money world, and more.
“In a New Thing,” he added, “the protesters have issued Rules of Engagement that they, uh, demand that the police follow: No protective gear allowed for cops, more than they’d usually wear, that sort of thing. Uh, yeah…
“Here’s a hint,” Ayoob warned, “when YOU propose ‘Rules of Engagement,’ YOU are preparing to ENGAGE.”
Protests are planned in scores of cities, including Seattle. The grand jury decision is expected at any moment. Schools in Ferguson will be closed next week. The National Guard has been called up by Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon. Does this seem like everyone is expecting calm or calamity?