When Thugs Declare Open Season—On Human Beings

Yael T. Abouhalkah, Kansas City Star, May 16, 2012

I am Harry Stone. You are Harry Stone.

Except for one major difference.

You and I are alive today.

Harry Stone is dead.

The 60-year-old Raytown resident was jogging early Sunday morning when he was shot and killed near 67th Street and Blue Ridge Boulevard in Raytown.

Police say all evidence so far shows it was a senseless and random act of violence. It could have happened to anyone.

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Want something equally chilling? By its very definition, this kind of random violence will happen again.

So now we wait for authorities to catch Stone’s killers, which I expect will happen. People involved in appalling incidents like this often brag about them. Stone reportedly was shot by a passenger in a car, so there were at least two people in the vehicle.

Stone’s murder has prompted outrage and expected reactions, especially this one: What kind of animals would do something like this to a human being?

Remember Rapheal Willis and Fabian D. Brown Jr.?

They were convicted in the senseless shooting of Robert Osborn in late 2005 on 47th Street east of Blue Ridge Boulevard in Kansas City — four blocks from my house. Osborn had been bicycling home from his job as a stocker at a grocery.

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This week’s shooting of Stone — another person minding his own business — also ended the life of someone with loving relatives, someone who was part of the often tight-knit Raytown community. Residents there and elsewhere are repeating understandable reactions to Stone’s killing.

Don’t ever take life for granted. Prosecute these murderers to the full extent of the law.

Some other points, though, are being made in a more pessimistic vein.

Who wants to live in neighborhoods where this kind of thing can happen? Should we get out before the bad elements take over the streets?

Yes, you probably know where I’m going with this.

Both Rapheal Willis and Fabian D. Brown Jr. were young black men.

It would not be surprising if the killers of Harry Stone fit that description, too. [Editor’s Note: This article indicates that they did, in fact, fit that description.]

That stereotypical reaction is based on some facts, the primary one being that way too many shootings by young black males occur on the streets of central and east Kansas City, bleeding over into suburbs such as Raytown and Grandview.

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Many area residents also are feeling, with self-satisfaction or even a little guilt, some other emotion today.

Relief.

Relief that they live in Overland Park or Lee’s Summit or Prairie Village or Liberty or some other “safe” suburb where they are far less likely to be involved in these kinds of crimes.

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