Yael T. Abouhalkah

Bloody week of murder and mayhem embarrasses KC

Updated: 2013-06-26T23:17:47Z

By Yael T. Abouhalkah

The Kansas City Star

Chicago has gained a reputation for being a bloody mess, thanks to a soaring murder rate in recent years.

But guess what?

So far this year, the number of homicides in Chicago is about three times that of Kansas City — roughly 160 to 50 here. Yet Chicago’s population is six times that of Kansas City.

In other words, Kansas City once again is embarrassing itself on a national stage with its rate of murder and mayhem.

In the last week a number of violent episodes once again has turned the spotlight on the crime problem here, especially in the central city.

People have been shot outside apartments, stores and nightclubs. Many of the victims have been innocent bystanders, such as the people who simply asked for directions and got shot.

It’s been a shameful week for the city, one that shines a negative light on the city and one that undermines much of the good work being accomplished by residents, businesses and elected officials.

While people look to the Police Department, Mayor Sly James and City Hall to “solve” this mess, it’s not going to happen.

The police don’t have a magical wand to wave around to reduce violent crime, because if they did, it would have been waved long ago.

As for James and City Hall, they can talk about better education being a key to reducing violence — and it is — but that’s always been true. So again, if someone could make sure the children at risk truly were getting a better education so they wouldn’t grow up and shoot someone, that kind of program would have been in place by now.

If you live in the suburbs of Kansas City, weeks like the past one make you wipe your brow and go, whew, “Glad I don’t live there.”

And if you live in Kansas City, you wipe your brow if you don’t live near the violence and repeat that phrase.

But if you do live in the neighborhoods where the problems are occurring, you can say what’s been said for, oh, about the last 30 years or so: We’ve got to do better, got to cut down on the young people carrying guns, got to teach people that shooting others isn’t the answer to anything.

Unfortunately, that message has not gotten through to the people toting the guns around too much of Kansas City, especially on the East Side.

To reach Yael T. Abouhalkah, call 816-234-4887 or send email to abouhalkah@kcstar.com. He blogs at voices.kansascity.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/YaelTAbouhalkah.

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