PlazaJen: Passion Knit

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

State Lines, Drawn in Blood

OK, even I, who pushes the boundaries of good taste & public decorum on a regular basis can figure out that placing bets in a dead pool as it relates to the Kansas City homicide rate is a bad idea. For god's sake, if you're going to do it? You have to LIVE IN KCMO, people. Maybe even be employed by the city. Maybe the po-lice dept! That would make it almost understandable. These numnuts lived in the sumptuous suburb of Leawood - Kansas - and just like making fun of Iowans, it ain't quite as funny if you're not one of us. Does that make it fair? No, but then, there's that big Life Lesson on How Life Isn't Fair. It wasn't until tonight that I realized people were actually paying money ($5) to participate in the pool. Wince, wince. Listen up. I can tell you firsthand when you work in the blood and guts and horror of daily life and see what human beings are capable of doing to one another? You do make jokes. I've witnessed rape victims, battered and bruised. Stabbed, left for dead and in intensive care, and yes, back at the victim services center? We crossed lines "in jest" that would horrify an observer. (Note: never did we joke around an observer! Smart monkeys!) You cross those lines of good taste and political correctedness, because there's nothing left some days, and it's a way of coping. Because you know you're all IN the same boat, fighting & trying to make it better, and some days? You just have to get it out in a crass, stupid way. Can't say I quite see how that template fits over these government employees in Kansas. Ooo! Somebody broke a building code! Curses! The stress! Margaret, let's start a betting pool on KCMO's homicide rate!

All of that sniping aside, I think it would have been a smarter punishment to borrow a page from one of my husband's 5th grade teaching techniques. Require each death-pool participant write a letter, to each of the 112 families, apologizing for what they did. Take their salaries that were suspended, and put them in a crime victims fund. Having their boss apologize for them takes their personal responsibility away, and shoots it up into the blue-sky-yonder realm of government. And you know nothin' comes out of government except a lot of spin & tape.

So, we know that's not going to happen. How 'bout instead of dedicating all this time & energy to lambasting the employees, and Mayor of Leawood, and Demanding Apologies and suspending people right & left, we get some more time, money & energy poured into the poor parts of our city, break into the silence that locks the murderers safe behind sealed lips, get some of the thugs out of the streets and into county. Figure out why people are shooting each other so much. Drugs? Money? Turf lines? What the hell? Make as many jokes as you need to, if it helps you find something to fix it. There's blood on the streets, and that's the real pool we've got to stop.
posted by PlazaJen, 7:09 AM