A joint Missouri House and Senate committee is preparing to investigate Gov. Jay Nixon's actions in Ferguson in the aftermath of a grand jury's decision not to indict a white police officer for fatally shooting 18-year-old Michael Brown.
The committee on governmental accountability met briefly Thursday to appoint chairs and discuss their approach. State Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-Glendale, said he specifically wants to know why no Missouri National Guard troops were in Ferguson following the grand jury's decision on Nov. 24.
Gov. Jay Nixon plans to call a special session of the Missouri General Assembly to pay for the Missouri National Guard and Missouri Highway Patrol’s operations in Ferguson and the St. Louis region.
It’s a move that comes amid immense disapproval of how the governor handled the aftermath of a grand jury’s decision to not indict Ferguson Police officer Darren Wilson for shooting and killing Michael Brown.
The Missouri National Guard has been called up by Gov. Jay Nixon to assist local police with security after a grand jury decision is announced in the Michael Brown case. Typically, Guard troopers are called in to respond to emergencies, like natural disasters.
Credit (Via Flickr/USACEPublicAffairs/By Carlos J. Lazo)
After he declared a state of emergency, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has been coy about exactly when and how many National Guard troops will come to the St. Louis area ahead of a grand jury decision in the Michael Brown case.
The Missouri Department of Public Safety also declined to give such "operational details" on Wednesday.
But to understand how the National Guard works generally, St. Louis Public Radio reached out to a department spokesman as well as a professor in Department of Military and Veterans Studies at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has declared a state of emergency and called out the National Guard to protect “the two pillars: safety and speech’’ that he says could be tested in the aftermath of the grand jury’s decision regarding the August police shooting that killed teenager Michael Brown.
"Our goal is to keep the peace and allow folks' voices to be heard,'' Nixon said Monday night in a conference call with reporters.
Late Wednesday, the Guard furloughed nearly a thousand of their 1,400 federal technicians considered to be non-essential. Spokeswoman, Major Tammy Spicer, says the technicians include both civilian and uniformed staff.
"Full-time federal technicians do a variety of jobs across the state, anything from clerical, to mechanical, to aviation related," Spicer said.
During World War II, it was called shell shock. During the Vietnam War it was called the Vietnam Syndrome. It wasn't until 1980 that psychologists had an official term for the condition: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
With the recognition of PTSD as a psychological condition, large-scale studies of the disorder began, said Dr. Rumi Kato Price, professor of psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine.
"Now we have very well established evidence-based treatments for PTSD," said Price. "That took three decades (to develop)."
For Captain Michelle Matthews, readjusting to home was more difficult than adjusting to war. A reservist with previous active duty experience, Matthews was deployed with the Missouri National Guard to Iraq in December of 2005.
"Life was a lot easier at war in some aspects," said Matthews. "I didn't have to cook, get gas, pay bills. But we were at war."
"We were mortared every day," she added. She described a joke about hearing mortars. If you could hear them, you were good. If you couldn't hear them, then you were in trouble.