Monday, November 14, 2005

News From Home

"All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."--Edmund Burke

From the August 9, 2005 Kansas City, Kansas Kansan newspaper:

Double homicide leaves two women dead

The Kansas City, Kan., Police Department is continuing to investigate a shooting that occurred early Saturday morning near Gilmore and Coy avenues, in which two women were killed and several others were injured.

The homicide victims' families have been notified and the deceased have been identified as Marie E Guzman, 21, Hispanic, Independence, Mo., resident and Diana Tovalin, 17, Hispanic, a KCK resident.

At about 3:10 a.m., Saturday officers were flagged down by gunshot victims in a SUV at Seventh Street and Kansas Avenue.

Several minutes later, reports came that more gunshot victims were in a car near 39th Street and Rainbow Boulevard. Each vehicle had one person dead and several injured.

The injured were taken to several local area hospitals, where they received treatment. As the incident developed it was discovered that both vehicles were involved in an armed disturbance near Coy and Gilmore. Officers responded, confirmed and sealed the area.

Detectives are continuing to piece together information surrounding the shooting and are encouraging anyone with information to call them at 913-573-6020 or the Tips Hotline (816) 474-TIPS.

Yesterday, I received a call from my stepson in Kansas City. I hadn't heard from him in several months. He told me he was one of those in the car near 39th st. and Rainbow Blvd. He was out drinking with a friend, and just happened to be present when a man approached the group with an AK47 assault rifle, and opened up on them.

My stepson was shot in the back, the wound coming within an inch of severing his spinal chord. He was told he would be paralyzed from the waist down for life, but fortunately, the doctors were wrong. He is not paralyzed, but he still suffers considerable pain.

Mike, 21, has been in and out of jail since he was 12. He appears to straighten himself up for a while, but then, the next I hear, he has gotten himself into another mess. I know what he is doing wrong. He keeps gravitating towards the wrong people and wrong situations. I just don't know why.

Interestingly enough, although he is not my natural son, I care more for him than his own mother. The last time she saw him, he was being led away in handcuffs. When he got out of jail, she had deliberately moved away and left him no forwarding address or phone number. He doesn't know where she is. And she doesn't know where he is or what is going on with him. Nor does she care.

There has to be a solution to the problem of violence in the inner cities. I just don't know what it can be.

I wish I did.

This whole thing bothers me on many levels. It's not just an inner city problem. Some of you might remember that I discussed the loaded gun found on a student at my son's high school. This is a town with a population of 450.

This morning, I heard a report on the national news about an 18 year old boy who killed his 14 year old girlfriends parents and now the two are on the run together. They live in Lititz, Pennsylvania, a town I deliver to every day of the week on my route. No doubt some of the people I interact with on a daily basis know these young people personally.

We all hear reports every day about some kid somewhere who goes off the deep end and goes on a shootimg rampage, and it happens so often that I think we all get jaded. It becomes just one more story in the news that "wouldn't happen to me". Maybe I am just too close to these stories that they affect me so deeply.

I want these stories to stop. I want this problem to just go away. I want someone to do something. Anything.

There has to be a way we can turn this thing around without making a divisive political issue out of it. I don't want to get a call someday telling me that one of my children has died before me.

Maybe the solution is within this post. Parents have failed these kids. Government has failed these kids. Schools have failed these kids. And unaccountability has failed these kids. How did this happen?

What can we do to turn this problem around?


FrenziedFeline said...

I'm sorry to hear about your stepson--he's lucky he has you to call! Please keep posted on his condition.

I don't have any solutions either. Sigh.

tugboatcapn said...

Me either, mark, but know that you and your family are in our prayers.

Goat said...

My best friend, a black man in Al., lost his son to a senseless shooting. They don't blame the gun they blame the screwed up gangsta culture. This was fifteen years ago, and he was right.

Etchen said...

I am so sorry to hear about your stepson. I have to agree that in many cases that parents do indeed fail their s=children, but i cnnot believe that parents are the cause for all of the evils that children commit today. I have a brother who is a crack addict and I know for a fact that my parents did not fail some point these children have to take responsibility for their actions and stop blaming their parents and society.
Your stepson is in my prayers.