Friday, February 8, 2008

Too close to home...

This story about a shootout at a city council meeting hit close to home for me.

I've never been to Kirkwood, Missouri, but I went to a lot of city council meetings when I was still in journalism.

City council meetings can be fascinating when you really follow them. I've seen the first part of this story play out before. It starts with a minor issue. In this case it was parking tickets, but sometimes it's commercial signage, utility bills, sidewalks, property liens, code enforcement, etc. Sometimes the city is in the wrong, and sometimes the person who is complaining can't wrap their heads around the concept that the laws, however minor, apply to them. But whatever the issue is or whoever is right, things escalate. Tempers flare, lawyers get involved, people take sides and a complex drama unfolds right before your eyes.

But I've never witnessed any physical violence (Although there was almost a fistfight at one meeting I attended. They broke it up before anyone threw any punches.) It's a frightening ending to a narrative I've seen many times. I can almost imagine what that town is experiencing right now, and yet at the same time I can't begin to fathom it.

And I'm not evening thinking about the journalist that was shot.


Vickie said...

Kirkwood has been the news several times in the last three years. Before the shooting, it was the place where two kidnapped boys were found. Michael Delvin kept a kidnapped boy in his apartment in Kirkwood for at least two years. It makes one wonder about Kirkwood.

Jo said...

I think this and other similar incidents across our country make it painfully obviously that we need services for the mentally ill. It is clear to me based on the story that this person is mentally ill and I'm sure that he reminds many of us of others in our own communitites. Where are the services for these people? We have many mentally ill people in our socieity who would benefit from treatment (and many would benefit from inpatient treatment). We largely do not provide these services and because of that we are paying and will continue to pay the price of that neglect.

We can continue to all be at wonder when things such as this happen but when are we going to insist that things change. Do we really want all people to fend for themsevles? Not everyone is capabable of that. It amazes me that people continue to get disgusted over what is going on in our society but continue to make choices that make the distance (which does not solely relate to $)between the haves and have nots greater and greater.


Anonymous said...

I would just like to comment to vicke who said in her last line "it makes on wonder about Kirkwood". No matter what city you live in you will find that officer can not keep track of every single person in that city. As for the Devlin case...he kept him hidden for a long time before he was allowed out and then Shawn was so scared that he could not tell people who he was. This situation can have blame placed on the city and I am so offended to hear someone say this. The city is not causing these issues, it is the people that live in the city..and only in a very very small part of this city. The bigger part of Kirkwood is a great place to live and work. It is everyones dream place...quiet neighborhoods where the kids play in the streets, neighbors say hi as you walk/drive by and just a very peaceful place. It is just a coinecidence that these things have happened here in the past few years. This could have happened anywhere! Just remember that the next time you walk out your door. Your neighbor could start going crazy over something you don't know is going on in his/her life and could shoot you just because you were there.