With the conflict in Ferguson, Missouri still raging on, some residents there fear for their safety. But there's one former Tri-State resident who wanted to get closer to the action.
"I didn't have to initiate contact. Many people stopped me and they wanted to tell their story,â?? Joel Shults said.
Shults has worked in law enforcement for the past 30 years, spending ten of those years teaching criminal justice at Hannibal LaGrange University. He's now a columnist for a law enforcement website and traveled to Ferguson for an inside look of what's happening.
"I saw the burned out Quick Trip. There were stores boarded up like a hurricane was coming, spray painted open, lots of pedestrian activity dozens if not hundreds during the day, and thousands at night," Shults said.
He even went for a ride along with the St. Louis County Police.
"Patrolling those troubled areas of the city, that unit was eventually called back to the command post where they had to set up a perimeter because of the violent marchers that were coming towards the command post,â?? Shults said.
Shults believes that social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook have shed a negative light on police officers trying to keep the city safe.
"The story got told and framed in a way that suited a certain agenda, and we haven't been able to unravel that story yet,â?? Shults said.
And while he is not sure when the conflict in Ferguson will end, he says it is one for the history books.
â??Ferguson will be a title, rather than a geographical location like Columbine is a title. I don't think any facts that come out regarding officer Wilson's actions will have any impact on peoples opinions because nobody is seeking facts right now. They've got their minds made up and everything they see, they interpret in that template. I think the history books will probably contain the poorly written story of what happened in Ferguson,â?? Shultz said.
Meanwhile, leaders of the Nation of Islam and other black activist groups are working to calm tensions in Ferguson. The leaders asked protesters to clear the streets of the St. Louis suburb at sunset amid the National Guard's arrival.