Window on the West
by Mary Rupert
There has been an upswing of killing and violent crimes this past week in Wyandotte County.
There was a fatal drive-by shooting overnight in the early morning hours Tuesday, and that followed a couple of home invasions on Monday. A deadly drive-by shooting was reported Friday night, along with one Saturday and one Sunday morning. There were four homicides within the past week.
After a crime rate that had been low for a long time, the numbers suddenly are up. Residents should be outraged at the violence. There’s no good reason for it. Many hearts have been broken and many lives have changed forever because of it. It’s not fair to a community that has been working hard to bridge the gap between its differences. It’s not fair to students in Wyandotte County to have to worry about violence as they take their exams.
We’ve heard a lot of theories and speculation about it this week.
Perhaps, one person said, some of the authorities ran off a lot of the criminals from a neighboring city and they decided to cross the state line and locate here.
Or, maybe it is a gang war going on, and it started with the shooting of a girl a few weeks ago. It is our guess that at least some of the crimes are related, but not necessarily all of them.
Maybe some people are desperate for money as the holidays are nearing, and are doing things they don’t usually do, like burglaries.
Officially, probably not much can be said about whether any or all of the crimes are related.
We think the likelihood of some of these being gang-related is high. If they are gang-related, we are now at a reactive stage where what can be done is to increase our awareness and notify the authorities of anything that looks suspicious. Parents need to try to stop the retaliation that some youths may be engaging in. Try to keep youth busy and interested in activities, and make sure you know where they are. Arming more kids for self-protection is not a good idea, in our opinion.
For the future years, however, parents and community leaders need to work harder right now to find places where youths feel like they belong, in order that they do not feel the need to join a gang. Parents of pre-teens need to get their kids into organized youth groups, team sports, organized musical groups, pre-career groups and other youth activity groups that have adult leadership in order to help the youths find their place.
To reach Mary Rupert, editor, email firstname.lastname@example.org.