Sadly, this IS Kansas City

KCTV5 photo

If not for the raw gravity of what had just happened a few hours before, one would have been tempted to laugh out loud at the assurances from Kansas City Police Chief Stacey Graves and Mayor Quentin Lucas that “this is not Kansas City” after the tragic shootings  at the Chiefs Super Bowl rally yesterday.

Indeed, it is Kansas City. And they know it is. And in the most cowardly way they whistle past the graveyard, refusing to state publicly what must be done to fix it and to start a very difficult but in the end maybe productive conversation of accountability.

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas and Police Chief Stacey Graves/KCTV5

 Anyone who can read crime statistics knows unfortunately that this IS Kansas City. KC’s urban war zone is well documented by spiking murder rates over the last three years which peaked with a record ever homicide level by the end of 2023. Someone was gunned down in Kansas City on average every 47 hours last year.

By and large the victims and the killers have much in common in age, race and socioeconomic status. Everyone in Kansas City knows the profile, although they do their best to exert pressure that it not be recognized publicly. Political correctness; Diversity, Equity, Inclusion; the need for representation and buy-in from multiple communities, yada, yada. It all makes for great obfuscation and a smokescreen of death.

 Kansas City is not alone of course. Every urban center in the country is dealing with the same problems. Though those cities are typically led by Democrats, this is not a problem that one can lateral back to Joe Biden’s Administration. It’s been growing for decades, spawned by a social welfare system that funds and maintains the breakup of poverty stricken families, makes it easy for men to abandon the girls they get pregnant, and the lack of family clout and toughness that enforces moral accountability on the men of those families. Boys who grow up without quality men around them will almost assuredly not grow up to be quality men.

Six year-old Sir-Antonio Brown, killed by gunfire in Kansas City, Kansas, in May 2023/FOX4KC.COM

When they break the law they encounter a legal system which seeks the endless hope of  rainbows and butterflies-style redemption as opposed to the coporality of harsh accountability. No one envies the Russian legal system much less those caught up in it, but this does not happen there and the country is far more ethnically diverse than the United States.

But it happens here, and the innocent, like Lisa Lopez, the 44 year-old local radio host and mom of three, end up dead. Some 21 others, many of them children, are among those with bullets in them. They are the legacy of Kansas City’s failure that also include:

 – Courtney Wickham, who died in December hustling into a  Midtown elevator on the night of her birthday. Some kind of commotion outside, and a stray round hit her.

– Lauren Reddick, who was only 11 years old when she got hit by stray gunfire in her bedroom after two thug-operated vehicles on the street outside her house decided to shoot it out. She lived, but she’s paralyzed.

– In 2021 KCUR radio reporter Aviva Okeson-Haberman made the mistake of being in her apartment in the war zone where she was hit by a stray bullet. In her 20s, she was kept alive on life support long enough to harvest organs she planned ahead to donate. 

– Blair Shanahan Lane was killed by a stray bullet on the Fourth of July while celebrating in her backyard in Kansas City in 2011.

– Erin Langhofer died at a First Fridays event the summer of 2019 standing by a food truck ready to make a purchase when Deon’te Copkney, running from a shooting that just erupted, was firing behind him as he ran away

Shooting after shooting after shooting, but no witnesses come forward. The thugs own the streets of Kansas city. The cops and the rest of us are just renting space.

Lucas says he knows what the problem is. It’s the guns. There were thousands of guns in the KC area that day of course and every day; but those guns did’t all go off and kill people.

Tragedies like these and worse happened every two days last year in Kansas City. Yet members of the tearful, exasperated Kansas City media covering Wednesday’s events, as well as other community leaders, seem taken aback. ‘How could something like that have happened on such a beautiful day when school was out, kids were seeing their favorite players, and everyone was there to celebrate the winning spirit of Kansas City?’ they woefully ask the camera lense.

 They know better, but they are cowards and they won’t say it. Not a single one of them in their shock and earnest co-misery ever mentioned the scourge they all know to be true.

 People in those positions, if they were really leaders, should have the stones to call real balls and strikes. But they don’t.

So, welcome to Kansas City.

Dane Hicks is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and the United States Marine Corps Officer Candidate School at Quantico, VA. He is the author of novels "The Skinning Tree" and "A Whisper For Help." As publisher of the Anderson County Review in Garnett, KS., he is a recipient of the Kansas Press Association's Boyd Community Service Award as well as more than 60 awards for excellence in news, editorial and photography.

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George Pisani

More than cowards, people like Mayor Quinton Useless are deliberately part of the national problem commented on by Sen. Hawley as noted at https://kaninfo.com/opinion/2068/ . Feigned denial of actual causes, coupled with a determination to undermine our Constitution. I cannot recall ever reading a politician or lobbying group demanding bans on SUVs after one is used by a human to cause mayhem.

George Pisani

Watching the network news, and the expected hand-wringing and wailing that “There needs to be a LAW…” about firearms possession, my thought is “there already are…” Those now engaged in righteous virtue-signaling should pause, take deep breaths, take out their accessory i-Brain, and look up the dictionary meanings of the words criminal and its synonym lawless. The root of the problem is, was, and always will be, disgusting people who have consciously decided to be defined by those words. If problems exist because laws are poorly (or not at all) enforced, well …. It ought not to require AI to indicate the answer.

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