Thursday, February 15, 2024

The Tragedy in my Home Town...


As most of you know, I'm a resident of the greater Kansas City area and a huge fan of my hometown.  I was born here, grew up here, and I have no thoughts of leaving.  I actually practice about 10 miles (16.1 km) from my boyhood home... a small house in the local city of Raytown.

However, today I type with a heavy heart.  As you all know, yesterday February 14, 2024 was a day of celebration in my beloved Kansas City, but ended in tragedy.  Our hometown NFL team, the Kansas City Chiefs, won the Super Bowl over the San Fransisco 49ers on Sunday February 11, 2024.  Valentine's Day here in KC was supposed to be a day of love and celebration with a victory parade and rally in the downtown area.  Reports say the estimated attendance was somewhere around 1,000,000 fans.

Yet, instead of jubilation, tragedy unfolded.  Out of those 1 million human beings present it seems that 3 attendees (0.000003% of the crowd) created mayhem and death from the love and celebration generated by everyone else there.

Details are few as I type this, but authorities are saying that 22 people were injured in the gunfire that erupted.  Of those 22, the ages ranged from 8 to 47 years old.  One of those unfortunate people died from their injuries as doctors struggled to save her life in an operating room.  She was a wife and the mother of two children.  Another frightening and so incredibly sad part of this is that of those poor 22 souls, one half of them were under the age of 16.  Pause and think about that for a moment... 11 children were hurt and their lives changed forever.

Those poor people will never be the same.  So many will suffer long term injuries both visible and invisible.  All of this horror and sadness was caused by 3 people.  Last night I was at Ash Wednesday Mass and the first thing the congregation did was pray for the victims.  I had tears in my eyes.  Why anyone would create a tragedy like this defies reason.

My heart and my prayers go out to any and all that were affected by this.  I also want to give thanks to the first responders who jumped into the fray.  It takes a great deal of bravery to run towards gunfire.  Also, a special thanks to the private citizens who tackled one of the gunmen.  I cannot even fathom the amount of strength and bravery that took.  Thank you.  Many others private citizens helped those injured.  A nurse who happened to be there performed CPR on an injured man until EMTs arrived and took over.  All of that bravery represents the best of who we, as human beings are.  However, I'm sure all of those who helped would be much happier today if they simply hadn't had to be heroes.

Also, thank you to all of you who have reached out to me asking if I was ok.  I am honored beyond words by your concern.

In closing, I'd like to remind everyone that life is precious and unfortunately so fragile.  I often think of how many times a friend or loved walks out the door with a cheery "see you later" or "see you tonight" when in reality they never return.  Hug everyone you love and tell people you love them.  Finally I think the world could be a better place if people could follow two simple rules.  1. Be nice.  2. Show respect.  If you can just do those two things, things will work out and life will be better for all of us.

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