I’m sure most of you that have read this column for a while know I hail from the 417. I grew up in a small town outside of Joplin but for the sake of brevity, I just say I’m from there instead of Carl Junction because then I would have to explain how it is a small town on the Kansas/Missouri border.
I digress on that point, but it was a bit of a shock to see the news of an incident at a Walmart Neighborhood Market in Springfield, a town I where once lived before moving to Carl Junction.
I’m sure everyone has seen what happened on TV or read about it in a newspaper or social media.
Dimitriy Andreychenko was released from Greene County Jail on Monday after $10,000 bond was posted.
He is facing a felony charge of making a terroristic threat after walking into the Walmart in fatigues, openly carrying a rifle, a handgun and at least 100 rounds of ammunition, according to a story published in the Springfield News-Leader.
In the aftermath of the arrest, just days after a deadly shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, the 20-year-old said it was a ‘social experiment.’
He essentially wanted to see if Walmart respected the second amendment and he didn’t mean to cause panic.
Well, when an employee pulled a fire alarm and called the cops, that idea quickly went out the window. He also said he was filming in case an employee told him to leave, a probable cause statement said.
I had a lot of friends on both sides of the gun debate chime in. What crime did he commit by carrying a gun in a state where open carry is OK?
The other half of the debate was yes, it was a crime. Two of them stood out.
I had a friend that lives in Springfield post this:
“If civilians are walking around wearing body armor and carrying guns and more than 100 rounds, how am I supposed to know if it’s a ‘good guy with a gun’ or a ‘bad guy with a gun?’ Wait until they start shooting? Assume it’s a good guy and do nothing? Assume it’s a bad guy and pull my gun on them and call the police? This is a puzzling situation that doesn’t seem to have a good answer.”
An armed off-duty firefighter held Andreychenko at gunpoint until police arrived. So two guys at the same Walmart had at least one gun on them. One went to jail, the other hailed as a hero.
There were even notes that mentioned Andreychenko’s wife told him it was a bad idea and he did it anyway. His sister even told him it was a bad idea and he did it anyway.
So, if he’d listened, maybe there wouldn’t have been headlines that day from Springfield.
The other comment I saw came from an administrator in northwest Missouri, but has a child that lives near that Walmart.
He stated the argument is whether Andreychenko broke any laws.
But, his next sentence rang true: No one is breaking the law until they start shooting.
“Is this really the world you are all comfortable in, one where you can just guess if it’s a person exercising their rights or the next mass murderer scoping the scene? Let’s continue to be the frog in the slowly heated pan of water, everything is absolutely fine until it’s boiling and it’s not. Something has to change, doesn’t it? Or are we all just sheeple, accepting that it is the way it is? I pray we find leaders with the bravery to find reasonable change. This can’t be OK.”
It is a debate that will surely rage on and it will be up for debate again when there is another mass shooting. It is a matter of when it will happen, not if. History has showed that.
But what can really be done?
We live in a society that now sells backpacks that are bulletproof. I was in high school at the time Columbine became a household name and I remember being in shock someone would want to go into a school and shoot.
Now, you have shootings at school, churches or businesses. Nothing is sacred. But are we just adjusting that is OK that it repeatedly happens?
I ran across a story that showed a number of school districts in Illinois installed new security systems that are bright blue in color and work as a fire alarm does to notify of issues. This blue pull system — or special fobs given by school officials — will notify the police of an armed intruder.
Is that an answer?
Earlier this year the Kansas City Police Department released its call logs for the most activity for 2018 and a Platte County location was high on the list. The Walmart at 8551 N. Boardwalk had 397 calls for service, the second most behind the Greyhound bus stop near downtown Kansas City, which had 832. KBMC at the time interviewed Walmart, which said they had installed a ‘mobile lot cop’ system. If you visited this Walmart, it was the giant white machine near the end of the parking lots that served as a crime deterrent.
Walmart media relations manager Casey Staheli told KMBC there had been a 33 percent decrease in violent crime through the enhanced security.
Those who made their way to Walmart this weekend saw that the store will no longer be open 24-hours a day. They will now close from 1 a.m to 6 a.m. each day of the week, but apparently it had been planned for some time. Earlier this year Walmart announced they would change the hours of about 100 stores nationwide. The reasoning, according to Walmart spokesman Justin Rushing — telling WIAC TV — was most people shopped between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. and the change is to match customer’s need and the hours associates work.
Apparently the Gladstone location will still be open 24 hours per day. Maybe I will start making the drive there when I get off late at night. Personally, though, I have witnessed two fights outside of the doors of the Boardwalk Walmart as I was walking in over the past year.