On the front lines in Ferguson, escaping ISIS and how to become a morning person

Three weekend-reads to catch up on

WASHINGTON, D.C. - All eyes have been on the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson in the wake of the police shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown and ensuing clashes between local police and residents. After a short period of calm, violence erupted again between protestors and police after nightfall on Sunday. Rembert Browne of Grantland traveled to the small Midwestern town earlier in the week to find a full-scale conflict:

"As we ran across the street, away from the sound of the explosion, a helicopter shone its light on us. We instinctively ducked, as if a prison watch guard had caught us trying to break out. And I grabbed my stuff. We told each other to be safe, and I started running toward the main street. I figured if I could just get up this one block, I’d find my way to the car blockade, and then I’d be safe.

Then I froze. I could see the soldiers marching up West Florissant. They looked like monsters.

At that moment, I didn’t feel like a journalist. There was nothing about this event that I felt the need to chronicle. There was no time to find out what the bombs actually were and what was actually coming out of the guns and what type of gas was coming out of the canisters. In this moment, there was nothing I felt the need to broadcast to the world. I didn’t even have the desire to communicate my safety or lack thereof.

I was just a black man in Ferguson."

A continent away, Hasan, a student from Mosul, recounts his escape from militant insurgents in northern Iraq to Jack Jenkins of ThinkProgress in Shellshocked: How One Man Escaped ISIS. Hasan is one of over a million displaced Iraqis who have fled their homes as the Islamic State, alternatively known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, has made its way across the region over the last year. 

"I saw all the cars — Army cars — burning in the road, Iraqi flags burned up pretty much everywhere, and where there were once Iraqi flags raised now there were ISIS flags,” Hasan said.

“And we started hearing stories of people who were…” Hasan said, his voice trailing off. “It was just too much for me. I decided it’s not the city for me anymore.”

And on a bit of lighter tone, have you wished you could be one of those uber-productive morning people but can't seem to ever drag yourself out of bed? In the first of a series of essays on self-betterment for Medium, journalist Kevin Roose attempts to break some bad habits and teach himself how to be a morning person. It was a long road:

"I spent weeks reading studies of post-sleep alertness, combing through reviews of products and sleep gadgets, and speaking with experts in the field. I used myself as a human guinea pig for the better part of a month—A/B testing every bit of my routine to observe its effects on me. And I came up with what I believe is the optimal way to drag my lazy ass out of bed."

Read an article this weekend you have to share with us? Tell us about it on Twitter  @DecodeDC using the hashtag #weekendrecap.


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