I woke up this morning to the news of last night’s shooting at Club Illusions on Midlothian Turnpike. A man was shot and killed on the dance floor a little after 1 AM and another person was shot inside the club. This was definitely not the news anyone wanted to wake-up to as we celebrate the national holiday in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. The recent increase in shootings and homicides in Richmond have been crazy. Now I know a city can walk and chew gum at the same time – I mean that we can highlight the positive that the city is accomplishing while addressing our concerns BUT if we don’t get a handle on these senseless shootings in our city (and yes the surrounding counties around the city), no one is going to care about the rest. No one will care if Richmond has a baseball team, no one will care if there is a fitting tribute to Maggie Walker (no matter what they do with the tree), no one will care about the growing arts and culture scene, or the emerging restaurant scene. A reputation that violent crime is out of control will keep people away (see Richmond in the 90’s). Here is what I hope our community keeps in mind. Education is the critical factor for most families to determine if they want to live in the city. Yet, safety is the critical factor for most people if they want to visit a city. If people don’t feel safe, they won’t come. And the recent news regarding these senseless shootings is an issue that Richmond can’t backslide on. If we do the rest won’t matter.
Here is the link to RVANews.com recent Homicide report: http://rvanews.com/news/richmond-homicides-in-2016/132714