Tragic Murder May Lead to Political Fallout

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Kristine Kirk, left, and Richard Kirk, right (credit: CBS)

Kristine Kirk, left, and Richard Kirk, right (credit: CBS)

Dominic Dezzutti By Dominic Dezzutti
CBSDenver.com Blogger
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The murder of Kristine Kirk, allegedly at the hands of her husband who had reportedly consumed marijuana candy just before, is likely to have a variety of political ramifications in Colorado, and many of them are already taking shape.

First of all, while we do not know everything about what Kirk’s husband had ingested before he allegedly shot his wife, the headlines are all about the pot edibles that he reportedly ate. We don’t know if he was under the influence of anything else, or if he had mental illness issues or any other problems for that matter.

But as the State Legislature considers increased regulation of pot edibles, the details of this story may not really matter. Even if the investigation shows that Kristine Kirk was murdered by someone under the influence of various chemicals, the headlines are all about marijuana edibles and someone’s violent death.

The Kirk murder comes on the heels of the story of the young college student who jumped off a high balcony to his death after consuming six times the recommended amount of pot edibles.

Just days before the big 420 event, Colorado is dealing with stories about how marijuana is connected to violence, after hearing for a long time that violence and marijuana rarely mixed.

Again, very few details are known about both of the incidents, but that will not stop constituents from wanting their elected officials to do something about it. While the current bill is not about the content of the edibles, it’s safe to expect something soon to address that concern.

The other area of political fallout from the Observatory Park tragedy is the emergency response time from Denver Police. Tragically, Kristine Kirk was shot just minutes before police arrived to the scene but after she was on the phone with a 911 dispatcher for more than 10 minutes.

The investigation continues, but it’s not hard to imagine that this incident may provide for some uncomfortable moments in City Hall. The speed of DPD’s emergency response has been debated as of late, sometimes being blamed on the changes instituted by Chief Robert White.

For his part, Chief White has announced that a full investigation into what occurred has already begun.

But even though the investigations into the various factors of this tragedy have begun and may indeed show that this was not about edible pot or any problems with the Denver Police, the court of public opinion tends to make judgments before all the facts are in.

And the decision from the court of public opinion may push for regulations or reforms that may not be the correct answers or do anything to help stop this from happening again.

Hopefully calmer heads will prevail, but when a tragedy like this strikes chords on so many levels, it makes it harder for common sense to rule the day.

But common sense solutions are the very least our elected leaders can provide in honor of the memory of Kristine Kirk.

Dominic Dezzutti’s Latest Blog Entries

About The Blogger

- Dominic Dezzutti, producer of the Colorado Decides debate series, a co-production of CBS4 and Colorado Public Television, looks at the local and national political scene in his CBSDenver.com blog. Read new entries here usually every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Dezzutti writes about federal, state and local matters and how our elected leaders are handling the issues important to Colorado. Dezzutti is also the host and producer of the Emmy award winning Colorado Inside Out on Colorado Public Television.

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