Sept. 12-18: Aquitted monuments and a never-ending war


Where now is an empty field once stood a monument to commemorate fallen confederate soldiers. Mayor Francis Slay had the monument removed after it was vandalized in late June.


Know: Circuit Judge Timothy Wilson found former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley not guilty of the first-degree murder of Anthony Lamar Smith at 8:30 a.m, Sept. 15.

Inform: Stockley was originally charged with first-degree murder in December of 2011. The charges included Stockley planting a weapon in Smith’s car. Stockley and his partner engaged in a high-speed chase of Smith that ended when Smith crashed his car into Stockley’s. Stockley got out of the police vehicle to approach the suspect. Smith then reached for the “gun,” but Stockley shot Smith before Smith could grab it. Judge Wilson released his verdict in a thirty-page document that was filed on the morning of Sept. 15.

Care: After the verdict, people began to march towards the police station in downtown St. Louis. A week prior to the verdict, Governor Eric Greitens called in the National Guard to keep protesters under control. The night before the verdict, police and the National Guard put up barricades by the courthouse and police stations. The goal of emergency response teams was to avoid the 2014 Ferguson riots after the Mike Brown shooting. Many events were cancelled downtown including the U2 concert, Sept. 16, and Ed Sheeran concert, Sept. 17.



Know: A statue of National Anthem writer, Francis Scott Key, defaced in Baltimore, MD, Sept. 13.

Inform: Police are investigating the incident that took place on Sept. 13, the anniversary of the Battle of Fort McHenry, that inspired Key. At the bottom of the statue the vandal wrote “Racist Anthem” in black paint. The vandal also spray painted the seldom sung third verse of the anthem on the statue as well. As the third verse states, “No refuge could save the hireling and slave From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave.” The verse is widely believed to reference the African slaves in the British army.The statue was also splattered in red and black paint. The police have found no leads.

Care: The Charlottesville, VA protests centered around the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee from the campus of the University of Virginia, Aug. 11. The city of St. Louis removed the Confederate monument in Forest Park in late June after vandals defaced the base with the graffiti “End Racism” and “Black Lives Matter.” These monuments continue to be controversial as citizens force the status of race relations to the forefront.



Know: Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said that he is open to a joint border security with Afghan forces, Sept. 12.

Inform: The United States continues to demand that Pakistan and Afghanistan patrol their shared border in the hopes of finally ending the seventeen-year engagement in Afghanistan. Over 11,000 U.S. troops currently patrol Afghanistan and routinely experience fire from militia groups. The Pakistan military is willing to create a joint border patrol with Afghanistan to overpower the militant groups that are fighting for power there; However, the Afghanistan government’s commitment is unclear.

Care: President Donald Trump announced his intent to send more troops to the region and “expand expand authority for American armed forces to target the terrorist and criminal networks that sow violence and chaos throughout Afghanistan,” Aug. 21.  The U.S. military is sending reinforcements into Afghanistan. Trump’s plan is vague and familiar: he plans to send more troops into Afghanistan. The success of Trump’s plan remains as unclear as its details. The end of the U.S. involvement in Afghanistan would restore military families and provide a much-needed chance for the military to regroup and be used differently.