When It Happens To You…Kansas City

Robyne Stevenson
3 min readFeb 15, 2024

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Kansas City Union Station at night lit in red lights
Photo by Tianyi Ma on Unsplash

I spent the better part of 15 years living in and out of Kansas City, MO. I still have many friends, good friends that live there. It’s that kind of Midwestern place. It’s a large city and a small town. I couldn’t go five minutes without running into someone I knew. Now they join an ever-expanding club of cities that have spilt blood during a high-profile mass shooting.

I say high profile because shootings and deaths are common in KC. Its nickname is Killa City. But most of those shootings happen on the “east side.” The side of town that African-Americans were kept in because of legal restrictions on who could live where. That is the underside of KC. Every city has one — Buffalo does, El Paso does, and Uvalde does. But KC didn’t deserve this, and it doesn’t deserve any of the blood that’s spilled.

I lived in Orlando, about two miles from the Pulse nightclub, when it was hit with gunfire, death, and targeting. The city came together in its unified grief. When Parkland happened, the state changed gun laws for the better with lightning speed. Today, they are trying to undo them. Gov. Parsons in Missouri has presided over the laxest gun laws this side of Texas, and he wants them even looser so that minors can open carry. If only those nine children who were shot at the parade had been carrying…

Add these nine children who have survived day one to the survivors of Sandy Hook, Uvalde, Columbine, Parkland, and Covenant School in TN. It doesn’t seem to sway the gun supporters who honestly believe that an armed citizenry will deter this kind of action.

There were 800 armed law enforcement officers at the KC event. Not one could stop this rapid-fire mayhem that killed one and injured 22 — including those nine innocents—good guys who can tackle ended up capturing one suspect. MO is an open-carry state. The police can’t determine who is a good guy and who is a bad guy. Imagine trying to stop every gun-toting person because maybe they’re the suspect. Maybe the suspect that was tackled is one of those good guys with a gun. Details will be sorted.

The good people of KC, MO, and other places who hold their guns tightly need to elect candidates who will pass gun reform legislation. You are betting your own life if you don’t. Will legislation solve our gun problem? No. Will it be a good start? Yes.

The only deterrence is to stop making guns freely available. Give out licenses, require insurance, make bullets traceable, and for God’s sake, make assault weapons with rapid-fire cartridges illegal. There is no place for them in a civilian population. They are nothing more than toys for boys (and girls) who feel somehow validated that they can pump one. One only has to see pics of Congresspeople with assault rifle lapel pins to witness the dystopia.

Rep. Luna (R-FL) wearing rifle lapel pin at Congressional hearing
From Yahoo News

KC will survive, as all the other schools, churches, synagogues, towns, grocery stores, and parades have. KC will be forever changed. The next mass shooting will affect you and the one after that and forever. Welcome to the club.

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Robyne Stevenson

I travel the country in my Airstream meeting people and enjoying life. I’m a writer. I was a Professor of Politics. Things change.