News from the American city of Ferguson – level 3

03-12-2014 15:00

Gun store owners in the US city of Ferguson have reported a sharp rise in the number of people buying firearms.

“I see hundreds of people coming in with fear in their eyes and sorrow in their face. I have people that are spending their savings account to buy a firearm to defend themselves.”

It stems from the fatal shooting of black teenager Michael Brown by police earlier this year.

“In August, when the initial riots started, gun sales went through the roof. They rose exponentially. We were selling a lot of firearms back then. It kind of tapered off in September, then in October, sales normally pick up in the fall, so we had a busier than normal October.”

Yesterday a grand jury decided not to indict police officer Darren Wilson over the shooting of the 18-year-old. Tensions have been high in the city ever since the summer.

“When their backyard is on fire, then they run out and buy a fire extinguisher, so when the people literally saw businesses burning in Ferguson, and looting happening in Ferguson, the people in that surrounding area were afraid that this could happen to their business or their home and they bought firearms.”

Protests quickly started after the ruling was announced and overnight crowds erupted with cars and buildings set alight. Police fired tear gas to break up some protesters.

“I think that people are angry. I don’t necessarily agree with some of the protesters and the things that they are doing, but you can’t judge how people are going to react to the situation. So, you could only be prepared to guard yourselves.”

US President Barack Obama has joined Michael’s parents in calling for peaceful protest.

Difficult words: sharp (quick), rise (increase), sorrow (sadness), savings account (money you save to use for later), stem from (come from), fatal (causing death), initial (first), riot (a violent protest), go through the roof (reach extreme heights), exponentially (becoming more and more rapid), taper off (slowly lessen), grand jury (people who say if somebody is or isn’t guilty of a crime), indict (charge with a crime), tension (when people feel uneasy and scared or angry), loot (to steal things during a riot), firearm (weapon you fire), ruling (a decision made by a judge), alight (on fire) judge (make an idea about something), react (do something because of something else).



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