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The SOTO Sun

The SOTO Sun

Tragic Shooting in Kansas City Leaves One Dead, Twenty-One Others Injured.

Police+quickly+taking+charge+during+the+parade+and+securing+the+area.+
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Police quickly taking charge during the parade and securing the area.

“I’m going to get you.” Five simple words changed a day meant to celebrate some of the best athletes in the world into one of shock and horror across not only the state of Missouri but the country as a whole. Those five words are the reason that twenty-three people were gunned down outside of Kansas City’s Union Station, and two children will be sleeping without a mother tonight. More than half of the victims were children, just there to see their favorite football players celebrate their big win. 

All of this comes in the wake of an incident last year in Denver in which two men were shot as they were leaving the parade for the Denver Nuggets’ first NBA Championship. So where exactly is it safe for you to be? According to the Gun Violence Archive, as of March first there have been sixty-one days so far this year, and in those sixty-one days, there have been sixty-four mass shootings. The only states seemingly exempt from these statistics are Hawaii and North Dakota, which in the past ten years have not seen a single mass shooting, which is defined as an incident in which four or more people are shot. 

The reason, however, that this specific tragedy hits so close to home is its proximity. For the longest time, most mass shootings have stayed out of Missouri and have clustered in more southern states like Louisiana, Texas, and Florida. When tragedy strikes in your backyard, however, it becomes impossible to ignore, especially when some of those closest to you find themselves at the heart of this tragic story. 

We interviewed Osage High School senior John Kimery to find out what this day of horror must have looked like for him. He told us that the day started early, waking up at two in the morning to ensure that he could get premier seats for the event. Arriving at the event at roughly five in the morning, it soon became a waiting game for John, just trying to bide time until the parade started. Once the parade started, however, it quickly became an experience he was likely to never forget. John detailed being excited at seeing all the buses make their way through the parade and then eventually getting his jersey signed. As he was making it back to his car, though, things quickly took a turn for the worst as the faint sound of gunshots echoed through the air. Unmarked police cars and FBI vehicles soon erupted out of the parking garage, a visual neither John nor anyone else for that matter, will be forgetting anytime soon 

In regards to his proximity to the danger, he said: “One cop told us to walk through the mosh-pit (a term used to describe the more frantic and oftentimes violent group of people clustered near the front of an event) and we ended up walking around, but if we had been in the mosh-pit we probably would have gotten shot, so it’s like we were saved.” Thankfully for everyone, John is doing just fine now, grateful to be rid of the danger of the day. He is also taking a renewed interest in his studies and seeking comfort in his friends. When asked for his closing thoughts on the matter John had this to say: “It was a bittersweet thing. It made me mad because the Chiefs parade was supposed to be a kind of fun thing, and somebody had to ruin it with their drama. I felt grief in my heart for the people that were shot.” 

Too often we are told by the media that the best preventative action against an active shooter or a “bad guy with a gun” is law enforcement or a “good guy with a gun.” If that’s the case, then why did it take so long for any of the reported eight hundred police officers working the event to stop the shooters? For their part in all this, the Missouri House of Representatives has successfully pushed through a bill that would ban gunfire as a result of celebrations throughout the state. The bill would make shooting a firearm inside of city limits a misdemeanor for first-time offenders with House Majority Leader Jon Patterson saying “What happened (About the shooting) was tragic. So we should be willing to look at gun policy… public safety and crime policy to address those problems.” The bill is set to be heard in the Senate on March 4th as SB754 for its third formal reading. 

The rate of mass shootings has doubled in the past ten years, with the rate of legislation surrounding gun violence simply not keeping up with the rise. The most influential piece of gun legislature of the ten years was a response to the shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde Texas, and all that did was fund Red Flag programs (programs designed for local law enforcement to confiscate guns from troubled individuals) and expands the Crimean background check. Make no mistake, all of that is great, but if in ten years we have only been able to expand programs that already existed, has any real progress been made? 

For a country that leads the world in arms exports and medical research, how can we be so cavalier about our civilians getting gunned down in the middle of the street for just trying to enjoy a parade? Something needs to be done about this, and it needs to be done now, for our children, and our children’s children, and so on. Orson Welles said it best nearly eighty years ago: “We’re lucky to be alive, but only if our lives make life itself worth dying for. We must be worthy of our luck or we are damned. Our lives are spared, but this is merely the silliest of accidents unless we put the gift of life to the hard employments of justice. If we waste that gift we won’t have where to hide from the indignation of history.”

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About the Contributor
Deacon Lipsmeyer, Staff Reporter
Deacon is currently a senior at School of the Osage High School. Even though this is his first semester with the journalism team, Deacon has always been in love with writing. He remembers as a child that he used to design and write stories for comic books that he created. For the longest time, Deacon felt he wanted to be a journalist, and "after a few years of soul searching, [he] realized the dream was still alive and well" and joined the journalism team as a staff reporter and editor. Deacon has been accepted into the journalism program at the University of Missouri-Columbia and cannot wait to continue delivering the best quality journalism as he develops his skills.
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