They reportedly targeted small businesses who “were hit hard by violence–violence committed (mostly) by out of town agitators, criminals, vandals, and hooligans.”
Why? Because, Bill Hennessy (one of the members who participated) writes, “you can’t change the world in your living room.”
Hennessy wrote about his experience in Ferguson and how their presence made residents rethink their preconceived notions of the tea party:
A gentleman (my age) in the salon (husband?) asked who we were with. I told him “St. Louis Tea Party.”
“Tea party?” he said. “You bad boys,” and chuckled. Then he looked at me, very serious. He said, “The tea party came up here to do this?”
“Oh, yeah,” I said. “we don’t want to see Ferguson go south.”
He laughed. And he looked at me. Then he was quiet, lost in thought for a minute. When he came out of it, he was like our best friend. Laughing, giving us crap about stuff, telling stories. He admitted baseball can be like “watching grass grow.”
In that moment of reflection, I’m sure he was trying to reconcile “tea party” with what he was seeing–four white people, ages 18 to 50, laughing, spending money, empathizing.
That moment made the whole event worthwhile.