Chiefs rally shooting ‘is not Kansas City’? Sadly, it is. We can change that together | Opinion

And the sooner you accept it, the faster we can change it. By now, the world knows the Chiefs fourth Super Bowl celebration was violently interrupted when gunmen open fire, killing one and injuring two dozen more. The general consensus from those shown in the media is, “This is not Kansas City.” While I understand the sentiment, the reality is, violence is most assuredly Kansas City — albeit, not the totality or the best, but it certainly is Kansas City.

Each year, our community produces roughly 1,000 victims — by homicide, non-fatal shootings, property damage, drive-bys and a host of other events. It is Kansas City and has been a part of our culture and community dating back four decades.

Now that I have your attention, my name is Branden Mims and I am the pastor of Greater Metropolitan Church of Christ. I have worked in our community with various agencies for the last decade. I have held grieving mothers back from crossing the yellow tape as their children have been senselessly snatched from them. Unfortunately, the scene I just described happened more than 180 times last year alone.

Even the shooting at the Super Bowl parade was not the first of its kind. Just four years ago, 15 people were injured and two died at the 9ine Ultra Lounge, where they were celebrating the Chiefs’ win over the Tennessee Titans to the advance to the Super Bowl. How about 2013, when Kyle Van Winkle was beaten to death in the Arrowhead Stadium parking lot? The Jackson County prosecutor called his death a “series of incredibly tragic events.” Unfortunately, most days in Kansas City consist of a series of incredibly tragic events.

While violence has cast a huge shadow over Kansas City’s past, it does not have to shape its future. I have a profound appreciation for what’s being done to help heal the wounds of those affected by the Chiefs rally shooting. However, I’m writing to appeal to you for those who will be killed or injured tonight or tomorrow. Those whose names will not be highlighted on the world stage. They deserve our full attention as well. I write to you on behalf of the mother or father who lost their child at 40th and Olive, or at 36th and Askew.

I urge all Kansas Citians to get involved with violence prevention organizations. Let’s solve this problem together.

Branden A. Mims is senior pastor of Greater Metropolitan Church of Christ in Kansas City.