Gun Violence: Like a Deadly Virus

GAGV Monthly Meeting
Monday, September 27
Zoom Meeting (link to be sent Sunday, September 26)

As planning for this program began earlier in the year, COVID-19 seemed under control. People were getting vaccinated, hospitalizations were down, deaths were fewer. Could there be helpful lessons to be learned in understanding gun violence, the other public health epidemic ravaging the country?

Sadly, both epidemics still plague the country, and the stubborn parallels of their respective transmissions remain. At September’s meeting, we’ll hear Dr. Denise Dowd, MPH and pediatric emergency physician at Children’s Mercy Hospital, draw comparisons between the two, how to approach their spread and understand possible solutions.

Dr. Dowd has been a GAGV mentor since its founding almost nine years ago. For years she has researched the prevention of pediatric violence and injury and has been an advocate locally (she was the recipient of GAGV’s first Advocate of the Year Award) and nationally. She’s held leadership positions in the American Academy of Pediatrics and is the lead author of its firearm injury prevention policy statement.

Zoom with us to learn more about the the nation’s two current public health epidemics. The program will be excellent preparation for your joining us at our 8th annual Community Forum (webinar) Gun Violence: Strategies to Curb This Public Health Epidemic. You can now buy individual tickets to the October 11 Forum or, even better, become a sponsor.

Two National Leaders Headline Community Forum

Gun Violence: Strategies to Curb This Public Health Epidemic
Webinar on 
Monday, October 11, 2021

This year’s Community Forum will feature keynote speaker Dr. Megan Ranney, an emergency physician from Rhode Island and public health expert who has championed the idea of approaching the epidemic of gun violence the same way science approaches any health epidemic: gather data, identify risk factors, create solutions and share them with the public. She’ll then join a panel discussion of local activists moderated by Robyn Thomas, a lawyer and executive director of the Giffords Law Center based in San Francisco, founded by former Congresswoman and gun violence survivor Gabby Giffords. Read more about Dr. Ranney and Ms. Thomas.

Dr. Megan Ranney and Robyn Thomas

Words – and Names – Matter

The impact of words, in sharing the message of firearms safety as well as positioning our organization to the public, drew some 70 people (half on Zoom and half in person) to last month’s meeting.

The Communications Committee shared new messaging strategies for talking about gun violence and its possible solutions in ways that find common ground with people of varying viewpoints.

More specifically, the committee also evaluated the impact and effectiveness of the message conveyed by our current organizational name. Research led by GAGV member Morrie Pitluck has led to the adoption of a new name that retains the warm feeling of the word grandparents, emphasizes our focus on safety and encourages collaboration with other like-minded groups: Grandparents for Gun Safety. Stand With Us!

We’re excited to incorporate positive messaging into our very name, to be for an important movement and to invite people of all ages and genders to stand with us in supporting gun safety and common ground solutions.

To avoid confusion with GAGV’s sponsorship of the upcoming Community Forum, the public announcement of the new name will come after October 11. Click here to read additional details of the messaging and name change presentations and to see the new logo designed by member Nancy Oglesby.

GAGV Member Gets Inside Look at KCPD Training

Earlier this summer GAGV member Nick Hockman saw first-hand how police handle traffic stops and service calls in simulated exercises that ended with “shoot” or “don’t shoot” decisions.

”Wow! (It was) quite an experience,” Nick said of the Officer Involved Shooting (OIS) training he saw on July 30. “It placed a whole new perspective of law enforcement to me.”

He was part of a diverse group from the community representing neighborhoods, faith organizations, news media, government, violence prevention advocates and service providers who took part in the OIS exercises. In a controlled environment at the KCPD Training Academy, participants handled service calls in three simulated exercises that mirrored real-world situations. Enacted by academy staff, each exercise ended with participants making the decision whether to shoot. With red lights flashing and sirens sounding, they also drove on the training track with an instructor partner when going through the traffic stop exercise.

I really appreciated the opportunity to attend OIS training,” Nick said. “Many others should go through this if possible.” Already two more GAGV members plan to attend the next training session in February.

This Time WE Made the News You Can Use!

GAGV made news in the national media and on social media in spotlighting its mission to promote the rights of everyone to feel safe from gun violence.

Last week GAGV President Judy Sherry was interviewed by The Daily Beast for a story about Missouri’s 2nd Amendment Protection Act, which ties the hands of law enforcement in solving gun-related crimes and addresses only the rights of gun owners. Click here to read the story with special attention to Judy’s ending comment.

For further illustration of the law’s dangers, see below for Did You Know?

This cartoon from The Tulsa World, posted by GAGV Facebook administrator Nancy Oglesby, literally blew up the page by reaching more than half a million people: 515,400 to be exact! Other statistics to note: 49,800 people reacted, 4,753 commented and 8,935 shared the post. Additionally we’ve had 223 new readers like and follow our page, bringing the total number of people to 3,649. Cleary, the message resonates when we talk about gun safety and children.

As we work to keep children safe at home, at school and in their communities, we’re reminded of how many children were not safe during the pandemic. Injuries to children from firearms increased last year by 40%, according to a recent study reported in the journal Pediatrics. 

“It is absolutely imperative that we prioritize counseling parents and other guardians on safely storing firearms,” Dr. Kelsey Gastineau, lead study author and a pediatric hospital medicine doctor at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt University, told the media. Read the story here: Children’s firearms injuries jumped during the pandemic last year, study says.

Mark Your Calendar

September 12: Happy National Grandparents Day!

September 27: Gun Violence is Like a Deadly Virus, with Denise Dowd, MD, from Children’s Mercy Hospital (meeting will be on Zoom), 4:00 to 5:30 pm

October 11: 8th Annual Community Forum webinar, 9:00 am to 12:30 pm
Gun Violence: Strategies to Curb This Public Health Epidemic
Register here

Say Their Names

Thirteen people died from gun violence in metro Kansas City last month, bringing the count to 155 so far this year.

We provide this list to honor each person who leaves behind a family grieving its loss.

      At least 12: the number of Missouri law enforcement officers who have withdrawn from joint state-federal gun violence task forces due to an incoming state law that would penalize agencies with up to $50,000 fines if their officers help enforce federal gun laws. (Department of Justice court filing)

      Grandparents Against Gun Violence is a 501(c)(3) organization based in Kansas City, Missouri, that focuses on issues related to gun violence in Kansas and Missouri. We are working with community partners on strategies such as distributing gun locks to help gun owners protect the children in their homes from tragedy.

      P.O. Box 11193, Overland Park, KS 66207  |  [email protected]

      Donate to Grandparents Against Gun Violence

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