My family has always been early-risers. It was undoubtedly Dad’s influence.
I was up at 6:00 which made me the slacker.
The power was back on. Everybody had their phones plugged in, charging.
Most of the family was glued to the TV news. It was impossible to make out which neighborhoods had been burned. The riot had turned into total chaos in the half-hour without leadership that occurred after I broomed off Harry’s roof.
I got antsy after sucking down a freshly brewed cup of coffee. I needed to be doing more than watching the boob-tube.
The first order of business was to collect my truck. I jogged over and found it unmolested. Apparently, all of the neighbors with sticky fingers were roasting marshmallows just west of where I parked. I unlocked the truck and drove it back to Marie's and parked in the street.
Then I decided to hoof it back into the old neighborhood to see what was going on since I was last on the list for a shower and it would be a while before the water heater caught up.
Yes, I know: Cat, curiosity and all that.
As I walked back in, I texted Psylla, fearing the worst: “R U OK?”
She responded immediately: “M fine”
I asked “Where R U?”
Even old dogs like me can learn new tricks, like texting abbreviations.
She responded: “At friends. Behind Montessori School”
That was a relief. Psylla was the ringleader. If Psylla was at her friends then so was her sister Dryad.
Then she did something she had never done before. She volunteered information.
She texted “Got wild last night. Made TV in Philippines. Dad texted ‘Get out’.”
Then she texted “I am going back to sleep”
I said a prayer of thanks. I had no doubts that the two girls would never initiate violence but stray bullets, chunks of concrete and wild-fire have no conscience or sense-of-direction. They go where they go. Anybody can get dinged by them, a fact which undoubtedly influenced Mr Blue-face’s choice to lead-from-behind and above.
Frankly, I wanted to see how bad the neighborhood looked in the daylight and see if Nick and Josh had been able to disable any of the buses.
I almost didn’t get into the neighborhood. There were police on the corners of all the roads leading into the neighborhood. Fortunately, the one on the corner of Jenison and Oakland was an Eaton County deputy and she recognized my name.
She was in a mood to chat and I was hungry for news. I got the latest gossip from the cop side of things.
The Lansing mayor had fired the Chief-of-Police last night.
The Chief recommended that the Mayor read his contract. He was owed a two-week notice and he was not going to leave until the two weeks was up. The only way she* could remove him before the two weeks were up was to call a tribunal and prove he was breaking the law.
The mayor threatened that she would have him black-balled and that he would never work in a large city again.
The Chief responded that in two weeks, the way things were going, there wouldn’t BE any large cities still standing.
The Chief had grown a big, brass set that clanged together when he walked.
He called in mutual aid. There were law enforcement officers from Ionia, Clinton, Shiawassee, Eaton and Jackson Counties. There were Ingham county cops. And they all brought meat wagons and billy clubs and an attitude.
The Chief also reached out to other agencies and specifically requested two special officers. Officer Zephyr was working the rioters congregating near the Verlinden Avenue buses and Officer Sinclair was working the crowd in the High School parking lot. Zephyr and Sinclair were arson investigation dogs and were expert-witnesses in every court-of-law in Michigan. They were trained to smell gasoline, diesel, paint thinner and a half dozen other, common accelerants.
Their handlers were figherfighters who wore body cams. Those fire-fighters were also considered expert-witnesses. If either of those dogs sat down in front of you and looked at you, your only chance to avoid hard-time was to plea-bargain or hope the prosecution made technical errors.
The firefighters were really pissed at the rioters. They put themselves at risk every time they made a fire run. Firefighters had been attacked and lamed trying to put out the fires rioters had set. Every firefighter knew at least a couple of firefighters who had been sent to the hospital by rioters.
The deputy informed me that the Chief was controlling the flow of traffic into the neighborhood while the sheep were separated from the goats. There were only two pickup points. You had to go by either Zephyr or Sinclair if you wanted to ride out of the neighborhood. If he alerted on somebody, the person was asked to step out of line.
He was asked for ID. After handling and photographing the ID, the fire-fighter peeled off his plastic glove and turned it inside out. Then he clipped the open end with a clip that could only be removed by cutting it and popped it into an evidence bag.
Later that day, I actually witnessed an arsonist get bagged-and-tagged.
“Whya doing that?” one of the men asked.
“Everything you touch leaves traces of DNA and any accelerants you handled in the last 24 yours. You just gave me additional evidence that links you with the use of accelerants.” the firefighter said. “That glove has a bar-code on it and it was assigned to me. The photo I took has your ID and the bar-code. The glove has your DNA and traces of the accelerants you handled last night.”
The evidence gloves weren’t really needed but were frosting on the cake. Every lawyer is protective of their win/loss record and is spooked when presented with an overwhelming amount of evidence against their client. Why roll the dice when you cannot win and the client cannot pay? You have better things to do with your life.
They did let one man go after Sinclair alerted on him. He claimed to be a driver who had fiddled with the bus engine, trying to figure out why it stalled and wouldn’t start.
The fact that he had grease smeared on his shirt gave weight to his claim.
Letting him go was the best thing the officers could have done. Attorneys for the arsonists would later attempt to claim that it was a set-up and that the cops were racists.
The driver was black. The prosecutors invariable pointed out that he had NOT been arrested because of something called “evidence”.
The suspected arsonists were sent to five different jails in five different counties.
And to add insult to injury, the Chief paid the parking enforcement Sunday over-time to issue parking tickets for all of the disabled buses lining Verlinden Avenue.
Josh and Nick had been busy last night. Only two buses had made it past the perimeter and neither one of them made it as far as the freeway. Those buses had two flat tires on one side and they barely made it a mile before the inside, rear dually liquified and that was all-she-wrote.
The buses with the crimped fuel lines idled for about ten seconds and then sputtered to a stop. The other buses had three flats on one side and the drivers refused to move them.
Nearly all of the former rioters were completely disoriented. They expected to be home in bed by now. Instead, they had not slept all night. They were cold. They were hungry. They were thirsty and the batteries of their smartphones were dead.
Even worse, the Marxist “leaders” who organized the entire fiasco and who were supposed to pay them were nowhere in sight.
They had been left twisting in the wind. They now had to figure out how to get back to Mishawaka or Columbus or Indy or Chicago or Madison and they had to do it on their own dime.
They had done everything they were expected to do and the Marxists had left them to take the rap.
This may come as a surprise, but cops are notorious gossips. It is a way to deal with stress. It is a way to gain some tiny degree of predictability in a very chaotic and unpredictable job.
Later that morning the cop-network was buzzing with rumors that the Mayor had directed the Chief to arrest residents and the Chief told her to pound sand.
Then he told her that since she and the City Council had partially defunded his force, he had limited resources. He could either work on PROBLEMS or POLITICS but not both, Then he reminded her that his oath was to work on PROBLEMS.
Then he told her that she could direct her new Chief to start arresting residents in
"thirteen days and seven hours” before saying "Have a nice day" and cutting off the call.
The Lansing police force might have been gutted, but every cop on it...and every cop on loan from outlying areas were 100% behind the Chief.
They were being allowed to do their jobs, and that was way overdue.
*The current mayor of Lansing is a man. He does not seem any better or worse than the average Democratic mayor.