It’s time to pull the plug on the St. Patrick’s Day parade (3/18, A-1, “Violence returns with gunfire, beatings, arrests”).
I’m amused by parade organizer Mary Nestel’s comments that the parade is a “family-focused event.” I’d like her to explain how a parade for a holiday that has become synonymous with booze and drunken partying is a family event.
As for the “youths” who beat and kicked the Star employee (Nestel described them as “kids”) and his family, and the other “youths” who were roaming with guns at 13th Street and Grand Boulevard: They aren’t “youths” or “kids.” They’re thugs.
I am so unbelievably sick of the St. Patrick’s Day parade getting blamed for a problem that is clearly the city’s.
Over the past three or four years the parade committee has been charged by the city with making the parade safer. Organizers have done everything the city has asked. They put up barricades, shortened the route, changed the time and worked with liquor control to crack down on drinking. What more can they do?
The city shouldn’t be asking the parade committee to fix this problem. The parade committee should be asking the city, “What are you going to do about this problem, so we don’t yank this highly attended event out of your precious downtown and take it somewhere that can provide a safer environment?”
It is troubling that violence broke out at the St. Patrick’s Day parade. The committee and the city have worked hard to eliminate any problems so that it can be a safe, family event. I don’t know what else could have been done.
My husband is part of a group of parade participants who, on the morning of the parade each year, go in costume to Children’s Mercy Hospital to entertain sick children who obviously can’t come to the parade. It is the highlight of the year for him.
So imagine my dismay when his face fell as he looked at the front page of The Star the day after the parade. What was the focus and emphasis? Problems caused by a handful of hooligans, not the good done by many.
I’m not a parade participant or a committee member — just the very disappointed wife of someone who gives his heart to those sick kids each year. Maybe you should look at the big picture next time.