Ron and Rick Osborn recently stood at the lectern and told city leaders to declare a “crime emergency” because murders in Kansas City are out of control. Neither considers himself an alarmist. Ron Osborn, a former boat mechanic, is more comfortable toiling over a broken engine than standing in front of a microphone. And Rick Osborn, who is retired, would rather train for his next triathlon. But this is their life now: crusaders urging city officials to lower the murder rate. The Kansas City Star profiles the men.
They never saw themselves in this role. It happened after two men killed their brother Robert Osborn. “It started as a memorial to Robert,” Ron Osborn said, recalling a Web site created in the days after his brother's death. As the grieving family desperately tried to understand, a fact tucked into media reports jumped out at the Osborns: Robert Osborn was the 114th person murdered in Kansas City in 2005. According to numbers compiled by the brothers, Kansas City's per-capita homicide rate that year far outpaced the rates of New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. Kansas City is still high on the list, and August was the city's deadliest month in recorded history.