Newton, and Harvey County, has not seen a period like this in a very, very long time. That's the good news.
The bad news is, to find another year with five or more murders in a single year one has to go back in history a long, long time. One has to go back and reread the tales of the Wild West.
This year there have been five murders in and around Newton. Two in the city limits, three in rural Newton. Go back a calendar year, that number goes up to nine in Harvey County. Three separate incidents, all multiple murders.
We are not living in the Wild West, but this could very well be what that felt like. The last time Newton, and Harvey County, saw numbers similar to this was in 1872. That year, five men were killed. In 1871, five more. Go back and read the stories of "The Newton General Massacre" and Hyde Park. There was plenty of lawlessness, and gunfights to boot.
The murders we are seeing today are not quite the same. They are targeted, but not the same.
There's the brutality of stabbing a child. The cold-bloodedness of shooting victims in their sleep. The what appeared to be a very calculated drug execution. All have left a hole in our community.
We don't know why this is happening. We are the witnesses to this.
This week, as we stood on another street corner waiting for word of another victim, a police officer looked at a reporter and shook his head.
"Something has to change," he said.
He was serious.
And we agree. Something must change, unfortunately, it is hard to tell what that something is.
For now, we must grieve the loss of two more friends and neighbors. This time a mother and daughter.
As this community grieves, we hope it will also start asking what needs to change.
— Kansan editorial board