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February 14, 2008

The Kirkwood Shootings

Filed under: General,Politics — CPav @ 11:59 pm
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A few additional thoughts on the Kirkwood shootings:

  • It was amazing to me that of the three members of the victim’s family that were interviewed in the immediate and extended aftermath of the shootings, only one of his brothers expressed any remorse for the deaths of five people. The other brother interviewed and their mother basically just said “He went after the people he thought had wronged him,” as if that was justification enough for the coldblooded murder of five people.
  • It was pointed out to me (by the mayor that I serve under) that the media has almost scrupulously avoided using the word “murder”, even though that’s exactly what happened last Thursday. A man armed himself, went to a place that he knew his targets would be, shot them down, and apparently was on his way out when he was killed. Whatever emotions were behind his actions, this was not a crime of passion, or anything other than a planned massacre. We can try to defuse the emotions of the community through our choice of words, but as someone who had a bit more experience with words than I have once said, “A rose by any other word…”
  • Race has been made part of the equation, but to a far lesser extent than maybe I would have expected. There is assuredly a racial stratification in Kirkwood, but I’m not versed enough in the situation to speak to it. It’s a credit to the leaders of the Meacham Park neighborhood that they did not use these events as a bully pulpit to further divide the community. A meeting held the day after the shootings (see, I’m doing it too, but it just feels more comfortable) was attended by both white and black residents of the city. Some speakers did refer to the shooter as a hero, but most of those were careful to draw a firm line between what he had accomplished in his life prior to last Thursday and the final actions of his life. More details of this meeting are in the Post.
  • A few people (most notably my wife) have asked what we’re going to do in Ellisville to prevent something like this from happening. There’s a simple answer: nothing. I don’t know that there’s really anything that can be done; if a determined member of the public wants to come in and do us harm, they’ll be able to. That’s frightening, but it’s the reality of the situation. The only thing we can do is attempt to give everyone a voice, make everyone feel included, and do the best we can.

I’m sure there was more, but it’s late, and that’s all that comes to mind now.

The 300 Project: 8/31


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