Another Take On 'Shots Fired' KCPT Special
Credit to Nick Haines and the crew from KCPT, their recent program on gun violence in Kansas City is raising awareness about our disproportionate rate of local killing at the very least.
Even better . . .
CHECK OUT THIS REVIEW OF 'SHOTS FIRED' AND INSIGHT INTO KANSAS CITY URBAN CORE VIOLENCE!!!
Insights From Earnest Evans On KCPT's "Shots Fired" Special
First, I salute the architects of the show for dramatically and forcefully spelling out the full extent of the city's most serious crime situation. Some of the deniers of the city's crime problems have used misleading statistics to obscure what is coming on. Mr. Haines spelled out clearly the ugly reality we face: KCMO has a higher per capita homicide rate than Chicago or Philadelphia, both of which have gotten a lot of national attention for their crime problems. NYC has three times the annual total of homicides that KCMO does--and 16 times more people. Denial is not the name of a river in Egypt.
Second, the program had a long discussion of AIM4Peace. Personally, I have mixed feelings about this program: It has a limited amount of positive impact, but it has consistently been oversold as to its effectiveness. Remember, this is a program modeled on experiences in Chicago--which is not currently a model of effective crime fighting.
Third, the program discussed the NOVA initiative. I feel that this initiative does have some real potential--but it is too early to really see if it is going to make a positive impact.
Fourth and finally, my chief criticism of the show is that it did not address the key issue of the morale and motivation of the KCPD to fight black-on-black crime--and this is a critical omission--93% of the black people killed in the US in 2012 were killed by other blacks. As we have discussed, I felt that the Sofia Salva tragedy was badly mishandled by the city's journalists, politicians and community leaders--that the two officers in this case were not given even a pretense of fair media coverage by a local media terrified of being accused of racism and by a political establishment terrified of the prospect of a convention boycott. I know a lot of people around town disagree with my assessment on this controversial issue, but the important thing is that most of the rank and file of the KCPD feel in the aftermath of this controversy that if accused of racism they will at best be summarily discharged at worst brought up on federal civil rights charges--all without even a pretense of fairness by the city's journalists and politicians. In this environment, out of sheer self-survival, the cops have largely pulled back from fighting black-on-black crime in KCMO--with disasterous results for the city's black neighborhoods since the spring of 2008. And, most alarming of all, this pattern of what is often called "de-policing" is quite possibly going to be made a lot worse by the current national obsession obsession with race-related issues--in the current national political environment, everyone knows what is going to happen to the next white cop videoed doing anything that can be construed as racist.
Now, while as I say I have some criticisms to make of the KCPT special, I do salute Nick Haines and the staff at KCPT for putting it on--they have performed a valuable service to our commuunity by forcing a public discussion of an issue that a lot of people have been trying to sweep under the rug.