By LaKeshia N. Myers
Whenever there is a shooting—a mass shooting like the one we just experienced in Uvalde, Texas, or a community shooting, which seems to be happening more frequently in the City of Milwaukee—one of the first things people do is ask, “where are the elected officials?” And without fail, there will be a cluster of elected officials that come together to denounce violence and offer their thoughts and prayers for the affected community. Everyone claps, they go home, and nothing changes.
I have for the most part stopped attending these types of press conferences. On one hand, I don’t attend them because I try to limit my intake of traumatic news/information for my own health’s sake. It is also why I don’t watch certain videos shared online of violence levied by the state or between citizens. I can’t stomach it. The other reason is because I don’t believe in “dog and pony shows.” The reality is politicians do not stop shootings, but we control the policies that are govern access to firearms. So, instead of ranting and raving about “stopping the violence,” why not pass laws that could make it more difficult for violent events to occur?
Since I’ve been elected, I have championed legislation for “red flag” laws. Laws that permits police or family members to petition a state court to order the temporary removal of firearms from a person who may present a danger to others or themselves. I have also advocated for the demilitarization of police departments, total bans on assault rifles, making gun kits illegal, and raising the minimum age for gun ownership. But, in Wisconsin, a lot these bills sit idly in committees, never receive a hearing, and end up dumped in the trash until unfortunately the next Sandy Hook, Oak Creek Sikh Temple, Navy Yard, Parkland, Columbine, Buffalo, or Deer District massacre takes places.
In Wisconsin, there have been fourteen school-related shooting incidents, most of which have occurred outside the city of Milwaukee and in areas that traditionally vote Republican (K-12 shooting database, 2022). My request to the Republican majority is simple: the data already tells us what we need to do and that the measures that have been introduced work to lower incidences of crime. Stop scaring your base and actually do something.