We wanted to take a moment to acknowledge recent events

by Center Staff

We are shocked by the most recent mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde. No matter what, we cannot become accustomed to these heinous acts of violence. During the pandemic, our county and the world experienced unprecedented losses, forcing many of us into relative seclusion. Some have attributed the health crisis as a possible explanation for angry, disturbed individuals suddenly taking out their angst on unsuspecting, often defenseless persons. Because these acts are so far removed from common decency and respect for human life, it is easy, in colloquial terms, to ascribe these events as sheer madness and an example of mental health programs being insufficient. That allows the rest of society to conform to its belief that we’re ok; the “other guys” are the ones untethered from reality.

How can change happen? It is too easy to pin public shootings on mentally ill people. People who experience mental health issues are not the problem as there are programs to help when someone, such as a family member or acquaintance, feels suicidal or prone to violent outbursts. Change, real positive change, can happen when decent people come together to change the laws when necessary while challenging their own biases and finding common ground to restore a sense of safety. Emergency managers are among those who must deal with our failures to prevent, mitigate, prepare, respond, and recover; gun violence requires us to do better at all five of these. At the Center, we are here to do our part – within our arena – to get started. Right now, curbing gun violence seems a heavy burden: but if each of us does our share, it will not be the lift it appears to be today. To lessen the carnage of public shootings, we need to make this our shared objective. We can all come together as one cohesive unit to effect real change.