Guns and bombs and things that go boom in the night

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by Mary Turck • 10/2/08 • Over the past month, both Sheriff Bob Fletcher and St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman referred to “guns and bombs” that “anarchists” brought to the RNC. The massive local, state and federal security presence is credited by both men with saving the city of St. Paul from the people with guns and bombs. But who were these people and how many guns and bombs did they bring?

Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office booking records for the week of August 30-September 5. show seven weapons or explosives-related arrests during that time. Five of these look like regular, everyday arrests, such as domestic assault. Only two seem even remotely connected to the RNC. These two are arrests for possession of explosives. The two people arrested were a 22-year-old Texan arrested at 5:15 a.m. on September 3 and a 20-year-old Minnesotan arrested at 11:16 p.m. on September 3.

But arrest is only the first step. After an arrest, prosecutors weigh the evidence and file charges. Three people have been charged with possession of Molotov cocktails by the U.S. Attorney. No one has been charged with illegal possession of guns related to the RNC.

The Ramsey County Attorney’s office reports ten felony cases related to activities during the convention. None of them involve guns or bombs. (The RNC 8, who were charged with conspiracy to commit a riot, were not charged with committing crimes during the convention.)

Some people who were arrested on the bridge on September 4 say that they saw police confiscate a gun or guns from others on the bridge. I’ve heard this from journalists whose reports I trust. The Ramsey County Sheriff’s booking records show no weapons charges filed for that night. Perhaps the individuals with guns were Minnesotans legally toting their registered and concealed-carry-permitted guns. Perhaps they were undercover officers who were legally carrying weapons. I don’t know, but it seems fairly unlikely that police would fail to charge a protester with possession of an unregistered or illegal weapon.

I have not heard a single report of any protester or anarchist actually shooting a gun or exploding a bomb during the RNC. Our civic authorities credit the police with this success. I am sure they are correct. I am sure we all owe a vote of thanks to Sheriff Fletcher for protecting the city of St. Paul from destruction and guns and bombs and anarchists and peaceniks and … well, anyone else who is a threat to public order and decency.

I have not heard of a single lion or tiger or bear running amok in the streets of St. Paul during the RNC. I personally want to thank Sheriff Bob Fletcher and all of the security forces from Homeland Security, the FBI, and the Secret Service for protecting us from lions and tigers and bears.