As America nervously awaits potentially violent demonstrations following a grand jury’s expected decision about whether to indict Ferguson, Missouri, police officer Darren Wilson, a St. Louis police forum saw calls for civilians to arm themselves against protesters. Protests broke out in a number of American cities after early indications emerged that Wilson may not be indicted in connection with the Aug. 9. shooting death of Ferguson teen Michael Brown.
A post on the St. Louis Cop Talk forum by a forum user with the screen name “A Concerned Cop” called on the populace to be prepared to defend themselves instead of expecting the police to keep them safe, according to Vocativ. The site has since been closed to unregistered users.
“If you do not have a gun, get one and get one soon. We will not be able to protect you or your family. It will be your responsibility to protect them,” the post read. “Our gutless commanders and politicians have neutered us. I’m serious, get a gun, get more than one, and keep one with you at all times.”
The explosive statement was one of a number of similar posts about the need for people to be prepared to defend themselves in the event of a protest, Vocativ wrote, adding that one poster even referred to the protesters as “terrorists.”
It appears that the sentiment behind the calls to arms has found sympathetic ears in the St. Louis area, as gun sales have undergone a rapid rise as anticipation for the grand jury decision has built, according to a KMOV report.
“Friday morning (Nov. 7) it was at a fever pitch and this entire weekend we’ve sold over 100 guns in three days. This is very abnormal,” Steven King, the owner of Metro Shooting Supplies in the St. Louis suburb of Bridgeton, told the station. “With all the rumors on the Internet, they are saying every neighborhood is unsafe, there is a possibility of a strike in any neighborhood.”
The postings on the forum come in the wake of controversy over the Ferguson pro-Michael Brown protest group No Indictment posting a map of places where protests could emerge if Wilson is not indicted. The list included churches, corporate offices and other sites that some critics believe should not be demonstrated against as they have no direct connection to the shooting.
Another user with the screen name “Retiree” posted on St. Louis Cop Talk calling for using fire hoses to “protect” cops, Vocativ reported.
“I say if the protesters want to use shields and like equipment then the officers should incorporate using the fire dept and there [sic] hoses. … With the wind and temps what a great way to put a sudden stop to marches and protests,” the online commenter wrote. Another supposed police officer complained on the forum that “[w]e can’t even hit our sticks on the ground,” according to Vocativ.