Make no mistake, Lawrence, Kansas is definitely a small town in most every sense of the term – complete with good old boy politics and a sleepy citizenry. The small townsters here go crazy when the basketball team wins…or loses. Yet they yawn and rub their eyes when local big shots team up with the university and/or elected officials and pull a fast one.
As was the case with the new $40 million Rock Chalk Park, that local pols tap danced past allowing taxpayers to vote on and a skipped competitive bidding on it’s construction. The project then proceeded despite contractor-ignored warnings by inspectors that its roadwork didn’t meet city standards. The latest concern being concrete cracking in the spanking new facility.
Ah, but not to worry, life goes on – what was that basketball score last night?
There is however quite a fuss being made about the murder rate in Lawrence.
That’s because six locals bit the dust this past year courtesy of untoward endings.
“A Deadly Year,” shouts the front page headline in today’s Lawrence Journal World. Add to that a “Disturbing Tally” headline atop the newspaper’s editorial descrying this dark abomination.
“This is an area in which Lawrence doesn’t want to catch up to its larger neighbor to the west,” the editorial begins. “As 2014 came to a close, Topeka officials were reporting that the city recorded just seven homicides during the year.”
Hold it, six homicides in Lawrence “cries out for attention,” but seven in Topeka is characterized by the word “just” – as in, “just seven homicides.”
Here’s what the Journal World forgot while wringing it hands over six measly murders:
At least half of the Lawrence slayings last year had Topeka connections.
- CiCi’s Pizza owner Harold Sasko was carved up by Topekan Sarah McLinn.
- Topeka’s Archie Lamont Robinson is charged with first-degree murder and aggravated battery in the death of Patrick Roberts of Lawrence.
- And Christina Kaplan was allegedly killed by a woman who was found in Topeka in the Shawnee County jail.
Which reinforces the perception by many that Topeka is responsible for too many of the crimes committed here in Lawrence.
In case you’re wondering why the fuss over six killings, between 2009 and 2013 there were zero murders in Jayhawk Land and but three in 2013.
That’s a far cry from the murder rate in the nation’s murder capital – Detroit, Michigan – where according to the FBI, 45 of every 100,000 people got bumped off in 2013.
Lawrence is a hair shy of having a 100,00 population.
Since the national average murder rate per 100,000 is 4.5, thanks to the good folks in Topeka, Lawrence exceeded that by a whopping 44 percent.
None of which is mentioned in either of today’s Journal World stories.
Like I said, sleepy city.