Yael T. Abouhalkah

August 23, 2013

We are KC’s runners. Please don’t shoot us

Recently, runners all over the Kansas City metropolitan area have heard from their spouses or other loved ones about a threat that simply shouldn’t exist. My warning came from my daughter on Twitter from Japan: “Scary. Watch out.”

Along with thousands of other Kansas City area residents, I laced up my shoes and went out for a run Friday morning.

Kansas City’s runners — men, women and plenty of youngsters, too — have created a tight-knit community over the decades and are proud of it.

The runners participate in hundreds of charity runs a year, raising millions of dollars for local causes. They generally stay healthy, which is good for their employers — and their families.

And runners know what to watch for when they’re out on the roads, such as distracted drivers and dogs.

But recently, runners all over the metro have heard from their spouses or other loved ones about another threat that simply shouldn’t exist.

My warning came from my daughter on Twitter — all the way from where she’s working in Japan.

“Scary. Watch out,” she wrote.

She

linked to this story

about three teens charged with shooting and killing Christopher Lane, an Australian youngster who was out for a run late last week in Oklahoma. The cause? Reportedly one or more of the suspects were “bored.”

And while that despicable action has received lots of national attention, Kansas Citians already know of a similar incident from last year.

It occurred just a few miles from my east Kansas City home, when

Raytown runner Harry Stone

was shot and killed while out for a morning run. More than a year later, no one has been arrested.

My wife was the one who told me to be a lot more careful after that one.

In talking to runners since both these incidents, I don’t sense a scared feeling or a greatly heightened sense of dread while going out for a run. That would be an extreme over-reaction.

But I do think this kind of incident does give us as runners — and society in general — a pause to reconsider just what kind of world we have created.

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