According to a dismissive CNN reporter, the flames at the pizza restaurant were “extinguished quickly,” before “much” damage was done.
And the looters, after they had already stolen from and destroyed the interior of a privately owned liquor store, blocked the entrance of the building so police couldn’t enter.
And then there was the convenience store – a store owned and operated by the QuikTrip Corporation – that was completely burned to the ground.
Amid the racial animosity and the threat of human injury, an important facet of Ferguson, Missouri’s civil unrest is being completely ignored: real people’s investments, livelihoods and life-savings, and the economic viability of an entire community, are being destroyed by “demonstrators” who have no respect for other people’s property.
Small business advocates and believers in the right to private property should not be silent about this.
“Restaurants in the Ferguson area have dried up and mostly closed down” says Craig Donofrio, a radio talk show host from nearby St. Louis. “Some are still trying to stay busy during the day, but after dark, things just role-up. People are afraid to go out at night, and it has killed businesses.”
Donofrio, who in addition to hosting local talk radio is also an ordained Christian minister, is trying to be a voice of calm and peace while at the same time urging respect for private property owners. “There was the case of the man who is a Palestinian immigrant who owns a meat market in Ferguson, and people broke in, took all the expensive meat and booze, and then tried to light the place on fire. He and some of his friends armed themselves with guns and came down in the middle of the night and managed to protect the property, but this poor guy is distraught. He’s now talking about how he had to refund a bunch of money to people who had placed meat orders at his store, and now he can’t deliver. He’s really concerned that he’s never going to be able to rebuild, and he’ll just have to shut down entirely very soon.”
The Tulsa, Oklahoma-based QuikTrip Corporation has for years been consistently rated as one of the top 100 employers to work for in the USA, and one of the world’s most socially responsible companies.
Since 1991, QuikTrip has voluntarily designated its stores as youth “Safe Place” zones, in conjunction with the national non-profit Safe Place movement. Troubled youths and runaways can enter a QuikTrip store and announce that they are in trouble, and QuickTrip will provide them with food, shelter, and assist them with contacting local rescue authorities.
QuikTrip has not publicly determined whether or not they will rebuild in Ferguson, Missouri.