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'That was me': KCMO advocate paralyzed by gun violence shares solutions to crime

Wesley Hamilton
Posted at 9:39 PM, Feb 27, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-27 23:13:58-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo — Wednesday marks two weeks since the Chiefs rally ended in a mass shooting. It impacted the lives of 23 people and their families in our area.

There aren't many people who can speak to gun violence like Wesley Hamilton, the founder of the Disabled but not Really Foundation.

"Before someone shoots a gun, I want them to understand there are three consequences for both parties: you could either be dead, in jail, or possibly end up like me," Hamilton said.

Hamilton has been paralyzed since January 2012.

"I was shot multiple times in my abdomen," he said. "It started off as a verbal altercation."

KSHB 41 read excerpts of probable cause statements from the accused shooters in the Feb. 14 mass shooting to Hamilton.

The court documents paint the shooting starting off in a similar way as Hamilton's.

"It's a sad thing, but what's more alarming is the fact that Kansas City avoided this is our reality," he said. "When you're seeing it on many interviews, even our police chief, 'This is not Kansas City.' This is definitely Kansas City."

Wesley Hamilton
Wesley Hamilton wakes up by 4am every day to workout at his gym off 40th and Washington St. in the Westport area of Kansas City. Hamilton said he feels like he gets stronger every day.

He's worked toward healing partially by sitting face-to-face with his shooter, which was made possible by the Netflix series 'Queer Eye.'

Hamilton can say today that he is not the same person he was in 2012.

"Our fate was what our reality was that day and it's hurtful to see 12 years later it's still the same thing happening," he said.

His change started internally and that's what he wants people, especially young Black men, to understand.

"You are worth so much more than just being a product of something," Hamilton said.

He wants city leaders to understand conversations aren't enough.

"Control [young people] by giving access to things suburban kids are living and doing," Hamilton said. "Change the paradigm of what it looks like to be in the inner city."

As Hamilton said, actions will come with consequences and you might not be able to choose which one happens to you.

"For those who react before they think, your life is so valuable that you should see beyond today."