C.W. Gusewelle

Kansas City’s greatness should fill us with gratitude

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art is just one of Kansas City’s many assets.
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art is just one of Kansas City’s many assets. The Kansas City Star

We whose luck it is to share this midlands city have much to be proud of and an even longer list of reasons to be grateful.

To cite just a few:

A splendid array of public parks and handsomely tended boulevards.

An impressive number of excellent hospitals.

The magnificent collection of world class art at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

The glorious Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts — the city’s amazing showcase for symphonic music, theater, opera and events of wide public interest.

And no mention of the city could possibly be complete without celebrating the current season’s dazzling success of the Royals.

What other virtues come immediately to mind?

A congenial weather pattern for one. Hot summers, yes. But nothing like the killing drought that has savaged the American West, kindling scores of wildfires, destroying enormous stands of valuable timber and driving hundreds of families from their homes.

There’s no denying that storms blowing down from the Northern prairies can turn our winters bitter. All discomfort is relative, however.

I’m well aware that our Eastern cities have a reputation for cultural eminence. During last winter’s siege of Atlantic coastal blizzards, however, network television captured the spectacle of half-clad men in Boston diving from upstairs windows into 6-foot snowdrifts atop their cars parked on the street below.

From the moment the first TV footage of those lunatic leaps appeared on the evening news, it was clear that city’s claim to superior intellectual attainment could use re-examination.

And our city, despite its many virtues, is not without serious faults.

A recent report based on information from law enforcement sources in 10 major U.S. cities revealed a distressing increase in the past year’s frequency of murders. Milwaukee, St. Louis and Baltimore showed the most troubling increases of 76, 60 and 56 percent through August. Kansas City ranked seventh on the list with 54 killings this year, up 20 percent from 2014. Now that toll has risen to 79, about 30 percent above the same point last year.

Even so, except in the most impoverished and troubled neighborhoods, we Kansas Citians do not live in daily fear for our lives.