PavCo Multimedia Synergistics Weblog

February 14, 2008

Public Service

Filed under: General,Politics — CPav @ 11:28 pm
Tags: , , ,

I’ve been meaning to blog about this before this point, but for a variety of reasons, haven’t.

One week ago this evening, I hurried from work to my kids’ high school, and worked the first act of the school play, selling concessions. I ducked out after intermission and headed home, to do some web surfing prior to (I assumed) meeting the family for a late dinner. I got on the internet and did some stuff, skimming through headlines on my Netvibes homepage. There were a number that caught my eye, but one stood out. There had been a shooting at a City Council meeting in Kirkwood, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis.

This resonated for a number of reasons. As many readers know, I’m a member of the City Council in Ellisville, Missouri, a city a dozen or so miles west of Kirkwood. I went to high school in the community just to the north of Kirkwood, the same community I work in now, and spent many lunch hours back then shopping at a comic book store right in downtown Kirkwood. I even passed a few pleasant moments chatting with the mayor of Kirkwood at a conference last Fall.

The headline caught my attention, but I didn’t turn on the television for a good half hour after I initially read it. After that, I couldn’t turn it off. There’s quite a bit of coverage elsewhere on the internet, especially on the St. Louis Post Dispatch website (, so I won’t rehash everything. In short, though, a Kirkwood businessman, who felt he had been unfairly targeted by the city and the council, went into the Council meeting with a gun. After shooting a police officer outside City Hall, he took that officer’s gun, entered the council chambers, and started shooting with both weapons. When he was finished, he had killed five people and injured two others. Police officers shot and killed him as he attempted to leave the chambers.

It was flattering to me how many people spoke to me the next day and indicated their concern, since they couldn’t remember which community I lived in; we have over 90 municipalities in St. Louis County alone, not to mention neighborhoods in St. Louis City proper and bedroom communities on the Illinois side of the river and in nearby Jefferson and St. Charles Counties. The other thing that struck me, though, was how many people asked me something along the lines of “So, who’s going to come into your meeting and start shooting?”

The answer to that one, I truly believe, is “No one.” Granted, we’ve made a few decisions that the members of the public or petitioners didn’t agree with. Some of them, in fact, disagreed quite strongly. But I think that by and large we are even-handed and fair, or at least we try to be. We make decisions based on what we believe is best for our constituents and the city. I know people have left our chambers disappointed. Some have left angry. They’ve felt misserved or shortchanged by the system. To many, the people who sit on the dais represent the system, though by and large, we’re just a small part of it. We’ve dealt with lawsuits in the past, are dealing with them now, and will in the future. It’s part of what we do.

Getting shot at should not be part of what we do.

The 300 Project: 7/30


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