Taking a Stand Against Gun Violence in Charlottesville

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October 14, 2008

Tuesday night, members of the Charlottesville community are meeting, to talk about the recent shootings and murders in the city, why it's happening, and how to stop it.

The obvious goal here is to eliminate gun violence. The challenge is turning that statement into real change in the community. From police, to parents, to members of this community, everyone agrees, something has to be done because young people are dying as a result of gun violence.

Executive Director of the Quality Community Council, Karen Waters, is helping to plan a march this week to send a clear message that gun violence affects everyone, and enough is enough.

"Bullets don't have anyones name on them," she says.

Tuesday night she will speak at the monthly meeting of pastors. Wednesday she will meet with Police Chief Tim Longo to come up with strategies to stop gun violence in Charlottesville.

"We need to begin to have serious discussions with our children about guns and gun safety and the consequences of their decisions when they choose to pick up a gun and engage in criminal activity," Chief Longo says.

He adds, police implement policies and procedures, but there is only so much the law can do.

"It's not just a police problem it's a community problem...I think what we are seeing here is really the product of really bad decisions by our young people," according to Chief Longo.

He adds, while a community approach is critical, it can not be the only solution.

Chief Longo says, "I'm happy to lead the process, but it's got to involve every aspect of our community from local government to our schools to our community leadership to our faith based leaders to the parents of the families that have been affected by this."

"Just one homicide, if it's my child or your child, or your loved one, or your neighbor, is too many," he says.

There is going to be a walk this Friday against gun violence. It starts 9p.m. at the Ebenezer Baptist Church on 6th Street NW. Parking is available at Jefferson School.

Waters says the walks are just the beginning. It's a way to show a commitment to ending this, but the community has to come up with sustainable solutions to this problem.

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