Had Gov. Eric Greitens called out units of the Missouri National Guard to protect property in St. Louis when protests became violent and storefront windows were broken and bricks were thrown that injured police, would that have prevented some damage? Even the mayor’s house was damaged.
Some National Guardsmen did protect fire stations, and other public property, but the Guard was not called out in force.
There is no doubt that had the governor activated Guard units, some people would have called that overreaction. The Guard was on alert. Others are saying some damage could have been prevented had the Guard helped police, which, by the way, reportedly did a good job. Quick police action kept the protesters off interstate highways.
Also, had the Guard been called out, that would have had a larger national impact on publicity, which would have dented St. Louis’ image even more.
The protesters did disrupt business in downtown St. Louis and in University City, and at shopping malls in St. Louis County. Corporate offices closed early Friday, restaurants and bars shut down, and a concert that would have drawn 50,000 people was called off downtown. A second concert also was canceled.
A football game scheduled for Friday night at St. Mary’s High School with St. Francis Borgia Regional High School was postponed to Saturday at 11 a.m. There were no problems. Borgia won in a meeting of undefeated teams. After the game, the two teams gathered at midfield, prayed and displayed sportsmanship. St. Mary’s has a number of African-American players.
It was peaceful on a St. Louis football field.