I know we’re not supposed to say anything bad about the dead, especially the recently murdered.
But in the case of Yuri Ives, who was gunned down in his mansion in Kansas City’s Historic Northeast last week, some negativity seems in order, if only to illustrate just how severely life can turn around and bite you in the ass.
At very least, Yuri Ives’s story, or what little I know about it, is probably the most brutal example of irony that I’ve ever seen.
I first met Yuri several years ago when we were both serving on an obscure public board called the Cliff Drive Corridor Management Committee. He left a very distinct, not entirely pleasant impression on me.
In our meetings, Yuri often raised concerns about the Hispanics who hang out at the Concourse Fountain at Gladstone Boulevard and St. John on weekend afternoons and summer evenings.
He was very angry about it, in fact. He would say things like, “I bring clients into the neighborhood trying to get them to buy $400,000 houses and we have to drive by these people who are leering at us.” (Yuri renovated mansions and resold them.)
We always had a representative from the Police Department at our meetings. I can’t remember the officer’s name, but he was always a total professional. When Yuri would go off about the lack of enforcement of immigration and loitering laws, the cop would calmly explain that the Historic Northeast is a high-crime area, and they’ve got other priorities (like murder) that are more important than chasing Latinos out of public spaces.
The cop kept his cool, but you could tell that Yuri was kind of a pain. The cop would say things like, “Calling us 10 or 20 times a night doesn’t help the situation.”
These exchanges always left a sour taste in my mouth. I live in the Northeast, too. I own a home here. And I knew going into it that it was a risky investment: A lot of house for not a lot of money in exchange for living in a sketchy ‘hood. I want the cops to do their jobs. But I don’t expect them to turn the neighborhood into Brookside so that I can make a few bucks off my house.
I confronted Yuri about it at one meeting, and we kind of got into it.
And, of course, everyone now knows that Yuri sent an email to the mayor and a whole bunch of other city officials a few months ago saying that some city worker who mows lawns was going to kill him. Apparently, Yuri didn’t like the way the guy mowed the park by his house, so he got in his face a lot and it pissed the guy off.
So you kind of get a sense that Yuri was maybe a little too amped up about the ghetto-ness of our ghetto-y neighborhood.
And sure enough, he gets murdered.
But if the guy who’s behind bars right now for the crime turns out to be guilty, it’s incredibly ironic, because not only was he not the offending city groundskeeper, or any of the Hispanics who hang out by the fountain, or any of the denizens who prowl Independence Avenue a half black away from Yuri’s mansion.
No. It was a kid from the suburbs who Yuri allegedly invited into his own house, and who allegedly shot him with his own gun.
See what I mean?
Life has a way of really fucking with you.
Death, too. Obviously.