FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 26, 2020
Coalition to Stop Gun Violence
Gun Violence Begets More Gun Violence
After gun deaths in Kenosha, Wis., Coalition to Stop Gun Violence emphasizes dangerous cyclical impact of police violence
WASHINGTON — Amid a deteriorating situation in Kenosha, Wis., a leading national gun violence prevention organization is urgently calling for a public health approach to gun violence. Kami Chavis, vice president for strategy and programming at the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV), responded to reports that an armed civilian shot and killed two people protesting the shooting of Jacob Blake by local police by highlighting the contagious nature of violence. Josh Horwitz, Executive Director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence and author of Guns, Democracy, and the Insurrectionist Idea, emphasized that violent political rhetoric and insurrectionism stokes the flames of crisis situations by leading to more violence.
Chavis, who is also professor of law and director of the criminal justice program at the Wake Forest University School of Law, said:
“When the Kenosha police officers responsible for shooting Jacob Blake used their guns as a violent tool of power and racism, did they stop and think about what might happen next? That the person they shot might die or lose use of his legs forever? That a community in support of justice and equality might rise up in protest, reminding law enforcement across the country, once again, that using their weapons must only ever be a last resort? That others might lose their lives or be injured by more guns, because gun violence begets more gun violence, and once they pulled the trigger not once, not twice, but seven times, they could be instigating further conflict?
“Police violence is a form of gun violence and must be treated as such in terms of the disastrous impact it has on deteriorating trust between law enforcement and the communities officers are charged with protecting, as well as being the instigator of subsequent violence. The role of law enforcement is to protect American communities, not incite violence and hatred. Armed hate is dangerous and evil and has very serious, too often fatal, repercussions. ”
“The shooting of protesters last night in Kenosha illustrates the dangerous chaos that ensues when guns — especially weapons of war — are added to an already volatile situation. It has become far too common in this country, under Donald Trump’s encouragement of unregulated militias, to shoot first and ask questions later. Last night’s violence in which an armed citizen, a teen no less, shot and killed two people and injured at least one other comes 24 hours after Trump celebrated a Missouri couple who recklessly aimed guns at protestors.
“Today’s gun culture rife in American society has corrupted our moral fiber so extensively that even our president promotes killing fellow citizens. It’s time that Americans put down their guns and practice deescalation — this applies to law enforcement, political leadership, and everyday Americans. How many more people must die before we start valuing human life over our guns?”
One-thousand Americans are shot and killed by police every year, according to The Washington Post’s “Fatal Force” database. Black Americans are disproportionately impacted by police shootings and are killed at more than twice the rate as white Americans.
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About the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence
Founded in 1974, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence is the nation’s oldest gun violence prevention organization. We believe gun violence should be rare and abnormal. CSGV develops and advocates for evidence-based solutions to reduce gun injury and death in all its forms.