Shots Fired

First, watch this video. We don’t know who shot it or why this person put it on the web.

Then, consider when this shooting happened — and where — in Columbia, Mo. From The Tribune:

Police have released very few details about a shooting at Tenth Street and Broadway that injured three people early Saturday morning in downtown Columbia… A news release said the incident happened at 12:26 a.m.

(That’s two blocks from the most iconic college bar in my college town at the exact time it was full of college students — to say nothing of the quarter-mile walk from the front doors of my school. It’s maybe half a mile from the place I called home.)

Officers in the area heard several loud shots and later found a person near 920 E. Broadway with multiple gunshot wounds to the lower body.

A second victim, who was dropped off at University Hospital by personal vehicle, had a gunshot wound to the hand, she said. A third victim was found during a traffic stop.

Four years ago, if you told me this would happen where it did, when it did, I might’ve called you crazy. More from the Trib:

A pair of 23-year-old men and a 19-year-old man were hit by gunfire but had non-life threatening injuries, said Columbia police Sgt. Joe Bernhard. The victims were treated and released from a local hospital. Bernhard said their names are not being released at this time “as the release could possibly put them in further danger or hamper the investigation.”

The victims gave statements to investigators, but police have not identified a suspect and are continuing to investigate, he said. A video of the incident has gone viral, though it is unclear who recorded it and posted it.

“Detectives would still like to talk to the person who filmed the video,” Bernhard said.

When I lived there, people in Columbia, Mo., didn’t — and, I’d guess, probably still don’t — walk in constant fear of gun violence. That fear is far more real and far more present on any number of street corners in any number of cities elsewhere in the country.

But this video scares me. I suspect it’s probably a point where a very local urban poverty issue in Columbia — the city’s white collar jobs are multiplying, but the money’s going to the city’s newer, posh developments, not the city’s urban core — and a very national gun violence issue intersect.

A KOMU reporter put together a very useful visualization of the explosion in gun violence in the last five years:

“Men and women that are committing these crimes they have that in common that they have either been suspended or dropped out of school,” said Lawson. “And it makes it very difficult for them to do something positive for them like earning money. And I believe that a lot of it is tied to economics, drugs and drug territories.”

Another theory is the city’s increase in population. According to the US Census, over those past ten years Columbia’s population has increased by nearly 30 percent. According to the Columbia Police Department, the city has seen people migrate to this area from metropolitan regions like Kansas City, Saint Louis, and even Memphis and New Orleans.

I’d have never thought I’d fear for the safety of students who go to Mizzou. I hope, for their sakes, that the city figures it out.


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