Sense of Community

March, June, September, December

From poverty concerns to major policy decisions, this series dives beyond the headlines to provide in-depth coverage of issues facing people and organizations in the Ozarks. KSMU's team of reporters combine for 10 stories each quarter, to air the final weeks of March, June, September and December.

Provided by Garrett Titus

Garrett Titus is a senior majoring in economics at Missouri State University. He’s just launched a local chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, and his group just had its first meeting last week. 

“I learned to shoot when I was very young,” Titus said.  “I grew up with firearms.”

He’s the only child of an electrical engineer and an accountant, from Lawson, Missouri, north of Kansas City—a place where there are “more cats and dogs” than people, he says.  He grew up on 150 acres of land.

Jennifer Moore / KSMU

Gene Stanley has owned Guns 4 U, a firearms store in rural Howell County, southern Missouri, for about 15 years. Before that, he sold herbs. 

He’s been around guns since he was a little boy, he said, hunting for rabbit and squirrel.

“The news always has a huge effect upon our business here," he said.  

"So any time there’s some kind of a national or local disaster,  it always does have a big effect upon us as individuals and as customers," he said.

(Logo design courtesy National Alliance on Mental Health)

Whether it’s Colombine High School, Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech, Orlando, Las Vegas, or last month’s tragedy in Parkland, Florida, when you hear news reports of mass shootings or other violent acts involving firearms, what’s the first thought that comes to your mind?  Ron Honberg is Senior Policy Advisor for NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, an organization dedicated to raising awareness, and providing support and education, about mental illness and mental health issues.

Michele Skalicky

Columbine High School in Columbine, Colorado was the site of a mass shooting in 1999.  Fourteen students and one teacher were killed by Columbine students armed with guns.  The shooters were also killed.  Twenty children and six staff members were killed in 2012 in a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut.  And in February, a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida claimed a total of 43 lives.

Tragedies like those emphasize the need to make school safety a priority. 

Missouri Department of Conservation

In 2000, the Missouri Department of Conservation’s Andy Dalton Shooting Range and Outdoor Education Center near Ash Grove, received 9,000 visitors.  In 2017, 25,000 visits were recorded, as the Center’s special events, programs, and public shooting gained popularity.