In an editorial that feels as if it were written by committee, Kansas City Star editors have decided that the real problem plaguing America and especially Missouri is, yes, “guns.”
The editorial begins with the story of an inner city homicide, wanders over to Sandy Hook and on to Orlando and to Las Vegas and ends up in Westport. At every stop, the culprit is guns.
To make its case, however, the editors lead their readers down any number of logical cul de sacs. They make the claim, for instance, that unlike Missouri, which has liberal gun laws, Connecticut has enacted restrictive legislation.
“In the decade after Connecticut passed such a law, gun murders went down dramatically, by 40 percent.” Earlier in the article, however, the Star lamented “the slaughter of 20 first-graders and six adults at Newtown, Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary.” That incident took place just five years ago.
Instead of assessing crime by type–street crime, terrorism, unhinged mass shootings–the editors use as common denominator the implement used to carry out the crime.
To address the Orlando shooting it would make much more sense to link it to the New York subway bombing of last week and the New York City bike trail truck murders earlier this year. The common thread is not guns but Islamic terrorism. Rather than to deny law abiding citizens guns, the authorities would more profitably address problems associated with immigration and radicalization.
For shootings like the one at Sandy Hook, the problem would best be solved, as the Star dismissively suggests, by “treatment and early intervention for mental illness.”
As for the most immediate and severe problem, inner city street crime, the Star has some large share of the blame. Missouri homicides did not begin spiking with the passage of a gun law on January 1 of this year as the Star insists. It began spiking with the media’s false reporting on the Ferguson incident in August 2014.
The Star did nothing to correct that reporting and has, if anything, aggravated the situation by keeping African Americans on edge about imagined threats from the police.
Until the Star editors begin to at least address the question of why the homicide rate in Kansas City, Missouri, is 33 times higher than it is in Johnson County, a county in which guns are easily purchased, they should find something else to bluster about.