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A Call for Calm / Kara Kaswell

August 11, 2014  |  Share

As a longtime journalist, seeing the looting and rioting in North St. Louis County, I’m reminded sadly of the absolute anarchy and mayhem in the wake of the Rodney King riots in 1992. The Sacramento TV station flew us into Los Angeles within the first 8 hours of the riots – after the male reporter they sent requested to go home because he was terrified. When I got off plane, he handed me a sweat-soaked bullet proof vest and told me, “Good Luck.” I didn’t know then how much I would need it. Within one hour we were in South Central in LA and a sniper was shooting into the crowd. We dove for cover behind a car as the bullets hit the tree behind us. We stayed up for 24 hours fueled by adrenaline, seeing stores looted, and buildings torched. It seemed like the more video we shot, the more aggressive the looting became. Dawn on the second day brought calm as actor Edward James Olmos came out and walked the streets in South Central – leading a line of Blacks, Whites, Asians and Indians – a rainbow of humanity – calling for unity and calm. There are so many parallels between the riots in Los Angeles and what happened last night and what is still happening today in Ferguson in North St. Louis County. While I have laid down my microphone and no longer cover news, my stomach churns. I am upset as I watch former colleagues report from the scene. I fear for their safety. As we wait for answers as to what really happened to Michael Brown, I urge journalists to consider what role the camera plays – because truthfully there is no protest without media coverage. We all need to try to breathe and wait for answers, losing an 18 year old man in this manner is truly disturbing, and terribly sad. I just don’t want to see anyone else hurt. — Kara Kaswell/ Former reporter KMOV-TV CBS

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