It's sad and infuriating that someone with a gun has forced one of Lexington's great summertime traditions indoors and under cover.
The still unexplained shootings at Douglass Park during Dirt Bowl basketball competition June 21 took the life of Kwame El-Amin, a beloved father of three.
The gunfire injured four other spectators and terrified the several hundred people gathered in the park. Police also were present.
In recent years, residents and Lexington police have put a lot of energy into securing neighborhoods and parks from gun violence and the drug trade that so often spawns it.
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Just two summers ago, the faith community led seven prayer walks down more than three miles of Georgetown Street to spotlight the violence that was snuffing young lives and forcing residents to live in a war zone.
Anita Franklin, whose son, Antonio, was killed in crossfire between teens in Duncan Park last year, is still organizing peace walks and vigils in the nearby neighborhoods.
Rather than surrender to fear and mistrust because of this latest bloodshed, Lexington must redouble its commitment to making our city safe for all its citizens, no matter where they live or how rich, poor, young or old they are.
At a meeting after the Dirt Bowl shootings, residents asked for more police presence on foot and bicycles in their neighborhoods — a sign of trust in Lexington's police and also a reasonable way to push criminal activity indoors so that law-abiding citizens can enjoy public parks and streets.
Police still have not identified a suspect or motive in the Dirt Bowl shootings. El-Amin's family has urged witnesses or anyone with information to share what they know.
Dirt Bowl teams, coaches and referees understandably asked that the competition be moved away from the park to an indoor location.
City officials agreed, saying that police can offer a greater level of security inside a gym rather than outdoors in a park. The rest of the games, including the July 19 Super Sunday, will be played at the Dunbar Community Center, 545 N. Upper St.
Now sponsored by the Division of Parks and Recreation, the Dirt Bowl league was founded more than 40 years ago by a group of Lexington men who loved basketball and wanted to create a positive summertime outlet for youth. Douglass Park celebrated its centennial last year.
Lexington officials intend for the summer league to return to Douglass Park next year. We hope that will be possible.
At the heart of one of Lexington's oldest and most vibrant neighborhoods, Douglass Park and the Dirt Bowl embody too much community and tradition to lose them — and the neighborhood — to violence and fear.
If you have any information, call police at (859) 258-3700 or Bluegrass Crime Stoppers at (859) 253-2020.