Police are investigating the death of popular sports bar owner Mike Darby as a homicide. Darby had been walking his dogs along the Indian Creek trail just north of I-435. In February, someone killed David Lenox in the parking lot of the Willow Creek apartments, which are within a stone’s throw of Thursday’s crime scene. Lenox was also walking his dogs. His killer has not been found.
Darby’s death represents Kansas City’s 43rd homicide in 2017. Unfortunately, the murder surge of 2016, in which the city surpassed New York City’s per capita homicide rate by a factor of seven, shows no sign of abating.
In this regard, Kansas City is bucking a national trend. Local political scientist Ernest Evans, who monitors crime statistics, notes that other cities across America are seeing a decrease in homicide in the Trump era. This includes “Bloody Chicago,” whose 2016 per capita numbers just barely edged Kansas City’s.
“Since gun laws have not been tightened,” says Evans, “racism abolished, schools made into palaces, etc. a lot of people are going to be stumbling for answers if this decline in violence continues.” Evans attributed the homicide surge of the last two years, which affected some cities much more than others, to what he calls the “Ferguson effect.”
In August 2014, police nationwide, and especially in Missouri, saw that an officer like Ferguson’s Darren Wilson could do his job exactly as he should and still have his career ruined and his freedom very nearly taken away. Sparking the flames of discontent in Ferguson–as well as in Chicago, Baltimore and other cities–was the Black Lives Matter Movement. Fanning those flames was a complicit media.
With the tacit approval of President Obama, the BLM demoralized police departments wherever its troops showed up. Fearing repercussions should something go wrong on their watch, the police pulled back, and the thugs moved in. It is hard to estimate how many lives the Black Lives Matters movement cost, but it is more than a few.
In Kansas City, the problem is a little different. Evans believes the police force is undermanned. The leadership vacuum does not help either, nor does City Hall’s refusal to face the crime issue. Something does need to be done, but that something will come a little too late for Mike Darby and David Lenox.