It’s a strange mystery that sounds more like a dark writing prompt than an actual news story: Reports all over, confirmed in at least one city, of piles of bricks randomly appearing in unusual places as riots over the death of George Floyd continue unabated.
Pictures of the bricks began appearing on Twitter over the weekend and, on Sunday, police in Kansas City, Missouri, seemed to confirm that the piles’ existence wasn’t just an urban legend.
“We have learned of & discovered stashes of bricks and rocks in & around the Plaza and Westport to be used during a riot,” the official Kansas City Police Twitter account announced.
“If you see anything like this, you can text 911 and let us know so we can remove them. This keeps everyone safe and allows your voice to continue to be heard.”
We have learned of & discovered stashes of bricks and rocks in & around the Plaza and Westport to be used during a riot. If you see anything like this, you can text 911 and let us know so we can remove them. This keeps everyone safe and allows your voice to continue to be heard.
— kcpolice (@kcpolice) May 31, 2020
According to the Kansas City Star, more than 150 people were arrested in three days of unrest in the city. The article mentioned water bottles and rocks being thrown at police officers during the protests, but no reports of bricks.
Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas told the Start in another article that the day started quietly, but that changed with nightfall.
“I was here at 8 p.m. talking to everybody and it seemed like things were going well,” he said, until things took a “disappointing turn” — which is when the projectiles and water bottles began making an appearance.
While this lends some context to what’s happening in Kansas City, it doesn’t necessarily solve the mystery of the pallets of bricks. It also doesn’t explain a rash of tweets in which personages from political activist Tariq Nasheed to 1990s rapper M.C. Hammer questioned why these stashes were showing up in cities across the country as riots intensified.
Nasheed and Hammer blamed a false-flag operation of some sort; Nasheed blamed white supremacists and Hammer was somewhat unclear:
In Dallas, people are saying that suspected white supremacists are conveniently dropping of piles of bricks in front of buildings, hoping that people will take the bait pic.twitter.com/e9rR3ITmUc
— Tariq Nasheed 🇺🇸 (@tariqnasheed) May 30, 2020
— MC HAMMER (@MCHammer) June 1, 2020
Conservative twitter users, meanwhile, pointed the finger at antifa groups:
Once again ANTIFA finds a “random” pallet of bricks…
Where did these come from?
— Essential Fleccas (@fleccas) June 1, 2020
Frisco, TX. There have been groups organizing “protests” in Frisco for 5PM this evening. All of a sudden this shows up on the path of the “protest”. You wanna tell me this is not planned and organized now? #2A #protests2020 #BlackLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/v1GfogMTpF
— Conservative Realist 🇺🇸 (@Conserv17716651) June 1, 2020
At least in one city, however, there was an explanation for a “random” pile of bricks. In Fort Myers, Florida, there were numerous reports surrounding a cache of what were made out to be projectiles making the rounds on social media. (To be fair, the primary mover behind this theory has a Twitter name we can’t necessarily share with you, so his pictures will remain unembedded.)
However, as WBBH-TV pointed out, there was a perfectly reasonable explanation for the bricks being there: They were being temporarily stored as part of a fiberoptic cable installation.
The bricks were removed by Monday afternoon.
Could such an innocent explanation be the case for the other caches of bricks being reported around the country on social media? At least in Kansas City, the answer seems to have been no; the police don’t seem to have found any reason for the bricks to have been there in the first place.
Then again, we generally don’t notice piles of bricks being used for construction purposes until they’re being used for what can most charitably be termed deconstruction purposes. Most of this could be spotting what’s always been in plain sight because we’re now hyperaware of what else they could be used for.
We can only say one thing with certainty at this point of upheaval: It’s time to get those bricks the heck out of the way.
Bait, cache, whatever — the important thing is they’re a danger to limb, life and property.
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