Today is the last day of September. Yet- some local citizens are JUST getting their heads around the August record homicide rate of 21 murders.
Last weekend- I worked through 2 shooting incidents Downtown and in the Westport area. Local news media accounts of the violence underplays the events.
First- the 2:20am Sunday morning shooting in a 13th Street & Grand parking garage near the city's blessed "Power & Light" entertainment district.
No news accounts anywhere in this town told of the "chaos" of hundreds of people trying to get to their cars to go home- only to find that parking garage and the street around it sealed off with yellow police crime-scene tape.
Channel 41's videographer Al Miller told me of this several times as I spoke with him from the scene. You could even HEAR the people in the background- as Mr. Miller described people "disregarding the crime-scene tape and going under it" to get to their cars and go home.
Maybe a light rail line would have helped- heh.
Then at 3:03am- an "assist-the-officer" call on "numerous shots fired around 40th Street & Mill" in Westport. With all the cops there- it took at least 15 minutes to locate the 2 victims in that area- and figure out what had gone down.
There were people in 2 vehicles having a "running gun-battle." One male had been reported by witnesses to police there that a black male was "shooting a rifle out of a sunroof of an S-U-V."
After the 2 victims were taken to hospitals- at least one other gunshot victim showed up on their own later. Police sealed of THAT area too- but no reports of angry patrons trying to get to their cars there.
Cops from other patrol zones were called in- leaving those parts of the city under-protected (sort of like the MAST-EMS issue I've reported on this blog a few times).
Sure- a PART of the problem is citizen apathy. How many times am I going to call in a "shots fired" report from my area before I'm going to tire of that when police finally drive down the street looking 20 minutes later?
The KC-MO Police need to return to total city control and more OF THEM are going to have to be hired to patrol the streets.
As in PATROL THE STREETS- not sitting at sobriety checkpoints.
The news media needs to get MUCH MORE proactive and tell the WHOLE STORY on violent weekends.
Well- if the news media were properly staffed- like the police department. And if they truly cared.
I have been told in the past by people IN the news media- more than once- and I won't name that news organization- that "inner-city shootings are not as big a deal as a murder in suburbia."
I'd wince- thinking- perhaps even out loud- "Oh really????"
The violent crime "cancer" seems to be okay if the cancer is benign to the inner-city. Real solutions will wait till that cancer spreads outward.
Oh really???? Please- spare me and the rest of us your feigned outraged editorial ink.