As a crime and violence prevention specialist for 40 years, I would like to share my perspective on Brian Greenspun’s front-page article in the Las Vegas Sun 5/30/21 on mass shooting, “What the hell’s wrong with us?” Today the only options discussed by the media to stop shootings are mental health and gun control. The question we should all be asking is, what can we do to PREVENT Americans from wanting to shoot innocent people?
With 400,000,000 guns already in circulation, anyone can get a gun if they are motivated to kill. In my work, I saw people storing guns in hopes that guns become illegal so they could make big profits on the black market. When it comes to mental health, babies are not born with mental problems. We must address child abuse that contributes to mental health issues. Today, Americans spend $220 million a DAY on child abuse and neglect. The answer does not rest with the government or more money. So…how do we stop mass shootings?
Let’s discuss how “we the people” can improve the media to help support and heal cities.
City leaders can Insist that the media create a healthy balance between good and bad news. “If bleeds it leads” distorts public perception of people and neighborhoods which spreads fear, anxiety, social isolation and how we think about each other.
Let’s discuss what leaders and “we the people” can do to heal each other.
Community groups and religious leaders can help prevent mass shootings by offering support groups to share their fears and anxieties! Many Americans don’t understand that everyone has the inner power to overcome adversity as they take responsibility for their actions and forgive others. Anger keeps us from developing emotionally as we focus on self which can create mental health problems. Hurting people may indulge in self-harm or seek revenge on innocent people. They tell themselves, “No one cares about me! I want people to feel my pain.” There are thousands of books and religious leaders who speak about the power of the human spirit to help individuals overcome challenges before a personal crisis gets out of control. Anger prevents us from understanding or discovering our potential. We can start support groups to help heal and support each other.
Let’s discuss what “we the people” can do to bring cities together.
Community leaders of nonprofit organizations can reduce fear, anxiety, and social isolation by reaching out and bringing neighbors together. Hartford Institute estimates there are 350,000 religious congregations in the US. Neighbors can be encouraged to “Love thy Neighbor” by knowing all neighbors on their block. Groups can hire and train “Neighborhood Safety Experts” who look like and speak the language of the community who can bring neighbors together. Higher-income churches can work with low-income churches and learn from each other. Connected neighbors can prevent problems like juvenile bad behavior, child abuse, drug abuse, domestic violence, and prostitution. Criminals want social isolation so they can prosper.
It will not be politicians who fix us, it will be “we the people” deciding to get involved.
We’ve learned that throwing money at problems creates corruption and doesn’t solve human issues. “We the People” have the power to stop shootings by empowering and caring about each other. We have the power to create peaceful neighborhoods and cities. When “we the people” decide to restore hope for the future we will get involved to make life better for everyone.