When I first heard about this story on Twitter and mentioned it, I was immediately shouted down by some left side tweeters who claimed that this was a “set-up” or a “mistake” or a report which had been “debunked” already. However, I’ve yet to find a single, reputable news outlet which is backing down on it, including not only NBC News and Reuters, but Talking Points Memo. (And if anyone was going to pull the plug, it would have been the latter.)
What are we discussing? The FBI has nabbed two individuals heading for Ferguson who were allegedly engaged in straw purchases of guns, as well as explosives.
Federal law enforcement officials say two men arrested Friday, now held on gun charges, are suspected of trying to acquire pipe bombs with the intent of using them during protests in Ferguson, Missouri…
Court documents say the two men, Brandon Orlando Baldwin and Olajuwon Davis, were arrested after they made false statements while trying to buy two pistols at a sporting goods store in Hazelwood, Missouri. They currently face only the firearms charges, though officials say other charges are pending.
The story gets even more convoluted.
Two officials say the men claimed to have affiliations with the New Black Panther Party and were trying to acquire guns and explosives. When investigators heard about their plans, they placed the men under surveillance. “We wanted to see where this might go,” one official said.
You can call this a “sting” or a “set-up” or whatever you like, but if people are claiming affiliation with the NBP and are shopping for guns and bomb materials, the FBI would be pretty negligent in their duties if they didn’t check into it. As to whether or not these individuals actually have a history with the New Black Panther party and domestic terrorism or are simply throwing that claim around to impress people remains to be seen.
This story adds to each of two growing narratives which surround the unrest in Ferguson as we wait for the now supposedly delayed grand jury decision. The first is the idea that the “troublemakers” on the scene are outsiders seeking to foment violence when the decision is handed down. While there are clearly some home grown lawbreakers, it is impossible to deny that this media circus is drawing bad actors from around the country. The situation with Brandon Orlando Baldwin and Olajuwon Davis seems to be yet another example of this.
There have also been endless interviews on CNN and MSNBC with various local government reps and civilian spokespersons who have accused Jay Nixon of overreacting and exacerbating the problem by calling in the National Guard and declaring a state of emergency. These complaints have gone as high as Eric Holder himself, who reportedly accused Nixon of escalating the situation with these actions. When put in the context of recent events, it’s difficult to accuse someone of overreacting when there are people heading for your town with bomb-making materials and illegally purchased guns.