The local FoCo Moms Demand Action is working hard toward prevention with its Be Smart activities, speaking to community members about how secure firearm storage reduces suicide deaths tne unintentional shootings while increasing safety in schools and home.
Safe gun storage is prevention. Colorado’s Red Flag law is prevention. Tuesday, August 23, 6:30 p.m., you are invited to attend a presentation to learn more about the new CO Extreme Risk Protection Order (Red Flag Law), presented by CO Faith Communities United to End Gun Violence (CFCU) and Colorado Ceasefire. You can attend in person at Trinity Lutheran Church, 301 E. Stuart St., or attend via Zoom. Please register at this link to attend in person or virtually: August 23 Event Registration.
Voting for Gun Sense Candidates is prevention. Saturday, August 27, 1:00-2:30 pm, join us for a very important Fort Collins Moms Demand Action chapter meeting. This month we'll be hosting our local Gun Sense Candidates for a discussion on current gun violence related issues, as well as what they plan to do moving forward with regards to gun sense legislation. Among those speaking will be Congressional Representative Joe Neguse, and State Representatives Cathy Kipp, Andrew Boesenecker, and Judy Amabile. Register HERE so we know you are coming! (Feel free to invite interested friends and other community members. Please have them register at the same link.)
An excellent research-based article with suggestions for addressing America’s gun violence crisis appeared this week in a publication from the Brookings Institution. Addressing the root causes of gun violence is prevention.
Here is part of the conclusion:
“At the end of 2021, cities and counties had budgeted only 40% of their total ARP allocation (82% of the first of two funding tranches). While more money has been budgeted this year, there is still plenty of funding left to be allocated prior to the 2024 deadline and spent prior to the 2026 deadline. It is vital that state and local leaders seize this once-in-a-generation opportunity to invest in community-based violence prevention efforts now, as these programs can take time to establish roots at the local level and scale up.
By investing in critical community safety infrastructure before the next rise in gun violence, communities will be better supported and equipped to avoid such violence, while also averting the intergenerational consequences that accompany punitive responses to it. As Devanshi Patel of Virginia’s Center for Youth and Family Advocacy said, it is imperative to invest in “restorative justice and community-based programming now to help kids stay out of the legal system” because system-involvement and incarceration can create harms for people and communities that are felt for generations.”
A couple of days ago, National Public Radio featured an article about the need for gun violence research, which has been curtailed over the past twenty years by the Dickey Amendment. “Efforts to understand gun violence have received almost no funding in recent decades, a reality that's due to a specific amendment backed by the National Rifle Association.” Research is key to gun violence prevention.
Perhaps our culture needs to look at gun violence through eyes that focus on prevention more than punishment.
Event details below or click: August 27 from 1:00pm to 2:30pm at Our Savior’s Church on Lemay Avenue
All my troubles seemed so far away
Now it looks as though they’re here to stay
Oh, I believe in yesterday.
Suddenly . . .
There’s a shadow hanging over me....
Oh, yesterday came suddenly.”
Although these lyrics, famously written by a young Paul McCartney, refer to the loss of a romantic love relationship, they might evoke a more universal angst for many people.
Like survivors of gun violence.
The 10-year anniversary of the Aurora movie theater shooting happened on July 30, 2022. Ten years ago, a gunman opened fire in a crowded movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, killing 12 and wounding 70 people. At the time, it was one of the worst mass shootings in the country’s history and sparked familiar conversations about gun control and mental health. A decade later that massacre continues to take a daily toll on both individuals and the community. Local and national media acknowledged this grim anniversary, often with statements from survivors. Here are a couple from the PBS story.
“I live in a place at a space where I remember it every day.”
– Colorado State Rep. Tom Sullivan,
whose son died instantly from a gunshot wound.
“I feel unsafe.
Like, that’s the best way to describe it – I never feel safe.
I always felt guilty about surviving.
I felt like . . . because I walked out.
And one of my co-workers didn’t.
I didn’t really start talking about this until two years ago.”
– Jenalise Long, who was present at the theater, but unharmed.
I listened to a young woman survivor describe her emotional state something like this - “a hole in the heart – one that opens up every time there is a Charleston or Buffalo or Uvalde.” I can identify with her grief.
According to Dr. Arash Javanbakht, who studies trauma from mass shootings, there are as many ways for survivors to deal with the trauma as there are survivors.
Ten years is a lot of yesterdays for the survivors of the Aurora tragedy.
Some survivors turn to activism, like Rep Tom Sullivan of the 37th Congressional District in Arapahoe County. The Coloradoan ran a story about Zach Golditch, a former NFL player now working as a firefighter in Denver and getting involved in efforts to support victims from Aurora and other mass shootings across the country
Perhaps the most important way we can help survivors of gun violence is to help the activists and to stand up for those too traumatized to speak. Voters will be able to have their voices heard in November.
Please join the Moms Demand Action Fort Collins group on August 27 to hear from some Gun Sense Candidates – those who support legislation that helps make our community safer. The meeting will be held at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, 2000 S Lemay Avenue, from 1pm until 2:30pm. Among those speaking will be Congressional Representative Joe Neguse, and State Representatives Cathy Kipp, Andrew Boesenecker, and Judy Amabile.
If you wish to help with refreshments that will be served toward the end of the meeting, please contact me using the form at the bottom of this page, and I will put you in touch with the Moms Demand Action FC leader who is coordinating.
Anne Thompson, Ending Gun Violence
Good afternoon. After a tough 4th of July for those of us who are concerned about the prevalence and increasing frequency of gun violence in our nation, I wanted to share an article from the New York Times. Here is a summary:
One of the main barriers to substantive expansion of gun regulation, both at the federal and local levels, is the strength and durability of American gun culture. Francisco Cantú, a former Border Patrol agent, grew up immersed in this world, and writes in a guest essay for Times Opinion that it’s built on “our most durable myth, the exceptionalist notion that a man with a gun is a force powerful enough to defend against any danger.”
There is reason for hope in the federal legislation recently passed by Congress – the first in decades. But the July 4th tragedy in Highland Park, Illinois, reveals that the legislation is not enough. How can Congress be convinced?
In addition to rallies, letters and financial support for organizations that focus on ending gun violence, we can work to see that our local governmental entities pass ordinances that help protect the public from gun violence incidents. The local Moms Demand Action group, with whom we collaborate, is working, along with other groups such as Colorado Ceasefire toward such actions. At the June 7 Fort Collins City Council meeting, a dozen or so members of the Moms group and other citizens, encouraged the Council to seriously consider and adopt ordinances similar to those recently passed in Boulder and several other municipalities in Boulder County. During the next couple of months, individuals in the movements to prevent gun violence will approach Larimer County Commissioners to consider options at the county level. We are fortunate to live in Colorado where some sensible measures are already in place.
What can YOU do? Here are a few ways:
Over the past six weeks, gun violence had devastated an elementary school of innocent children, a grocery store of racial minority shoppers, a medical center of staff and patients, and a parade of families watching a community parade. Texas, New York, Illinois, Oklahoma. According to the Washington Post, over 300 mass shootings (4 or more individuals shot) have occurred so far in 2022.
As members of Plymouth, we have the potential to help bring about change. Let’s sustain the efforts.
Ending Gun Violence Ministry Team