Lewis Diuguid

April 17, 2014

Grieving is not enough to end gun violence in Kansas City

An ecumenical service for the three victims of an anti-Semitic shooting on Sunday in Overland Park filled the theater at the Jewish Community Center on Thursday morning. But prayer and grieving are not enough to end gun violence, which is affecting many parts and many people in the Kansas City area.

People filled the theater at the Jewish Community Center on Thursday morning for an interfaith service for the three persons who were gunned down Sunday in a shooting rampage by an anti-Semite.

It was an ecumenical service with speeches and singing for the victims, who belonged to Christian faiths. They just happened to be at the Jewish Community Center and nearby Village Shalom senior living center, where the gunman opened fire. He’s in jail now facing murder charges.

Anti-Semitic hatred is not smart of discerning. It affects everyone in profoundly negative ways.

But so does gun violence, and the Kansas City area has had plenty of it. The number of homicides — mostly on the city’s East Side, mostly involving young black people and mostly caused by guns — seem stuck at about 100 a year.

This year police also have linked 12 incidents of shots being fired at vehicles on highways in Kansas City, Lee’s Summit, Blue Springs and Leawood. People in a minivan on Bruce R. Watkins Drive at 59th Street reported Wednesday that the vehicle’s windows were shot out.

No one has been arrested, and no one is charged.

All of the cases of gun violence bring unwanted attention to the Kansas City area. We worry about it. We cry. We grieve. We hold memorial services and prayer vigils.

But beyond that, we just wait — doing nothing about guns and gun violence — until the next killings, and then we start our worrying, prayers and grieving all over again. It’s nice, but it’s not enough.

And the Republicans, who back the National Rifle Association, an unrestricted Second Amendment and liberal gun laws, want to bring their 2016 national convention here? They’re certainly welcomed and would fit right in.

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