WXXI AM News

gun violence

Yet another mass shooting has happened at an American school. The shooting in Parkland, Florida on Wednesday is one of the deadliest school shootings in modern U.S. history. The 19-year-old gunman killed 17 students and staff members when he carried an AR-15 rifle into the building. What will it take to stop these shootings? And what will and should schools do in response?

We’re joined by local superintendents who share the steps they’re taking in their districts, and how they talk to students about these incidents. We also discuss the language we use when we talk about our children. The conversation comes after a senator referred to children as “valuable assets” and recommended schools improve their security measures.

Our panelists share their insight, and we take your questions and comments. Our guests:

  • Patrick Blanchfield, freelance journalist and academic, and associate faculty member at the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research
  • Trina Newton, superintendent of the Geneva Central School District
  • Kimberle Ward, superintendent of Gates Chili Central School District
  • David Inzana, director of safety and security at the Hilton Central School District

A new documentary explores the aftermath of the 2015 mass shooting at the Boys and Girls Club in Rochester. Raekwon Manigault, Jonah Barley and Johnny Johnson Junior were killed during the shooting, which took place during a Stop the Violence basketball tournament. In Move, first-time filmmaker Tam Little speaks with the victims' families and with community members who came together to reduce the violence in their neighborhoods. The film will be screened at The Little Theatre on December 12 and December 15. It's part of the One Take Documentary Series and the Black Cinema Series. The screening on December 15 is sponsored in part by the Association of Black Journalists. 

Little joins us to share what she learned, and we'll hear from the victims' mothers about how they are carrying on their sons' legacies. Our guests:

  • Tameakia Little, filmmaker
  • Anita Barley, mother of Jonah Barley 
  • Lentory Johnson, mother of Johnny Johnson
  • Tammy Burnett, mother of Raekwon Manigault

Jeremy Richman is a neuro-pharmacologist, but after his six-year-old daughter, Avielle, was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, he and his wife shifted their focus to preventing violence and building compassion through brain research and education.

He is a guest of St. John Fisher College, but first, we talk to him on Connections about the impact of mass shootings on communities. Our guests:

On Sunday night, a gunman holed up in a hotel room on the Las Vegas Strip opened fire on thousands of people attending a country music concert. At least 58 people are dead and more than 500 are injured. The shooting is the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. 

This hour, we discuss what we know about the ongoing situation in Las Vegas, and we cover broader themes like gun policy, gun control, what that means, and what the evidence says. Our guests:

What are the impacts of gun violence? Writing for Open Mic Rochester, Tianna Manon offered an extensive look at the issue, from family stories to statistical analysis. We asked Tianna to join us and explain what her work uncovered. Our guests:

  • Tianna Manon, editor-in-chief of Open Mic Roc
  • Michele Ashlee, photographer for Open Mic Roc
  • Sirena Cotton, founder of Roc the Peace, who lost her son to gun violence in 2007
  • Melanie Funchess, director of community engagement for the Mental Health Association of Rochester

We hear the remarkable story of Irshad Altheimer, a criminal justice professor at RIT.

Altheimer can never forget the impact of gun violence in his own life: in 1997, a gang member opened fire on the car Altheimer was riding in. One of Irshad's friends was killed. Altheimer was struck by three of the 24 bullets that hit the car.

He explains how that tragic night changed him, and how it informs his work today.

A new play looks at what might happen if a conservative Republican leader changed his mind about God and guns.

"Church and State" imagines a Newtown-like mass shooting, in which a Senator's children survived. His views on God, and on gun rights, immediately shift. This comes as a problem for his wife, a devoutly religious woman who favors no restrictions on guns, despite the massacre at her children's school. And what would voters say? Our guests:

  • Jason Odell Williams, playwright, Church and State
  • Ralph Meranto, artistic director, JCC CenterStage

We examine the events of a tragic week. Two African American men in two different states were killed by police officers, and those deaths sparked protests. A protest in Dallas, Texas ended with the mass shooting of police officers. Five officers were killed. 

We respond to the events in Louisiana, Minnesota, and Texas with our guests:

We examine the events of a tragic week. Two African American men in two different states were killed by police officers, and those deaths sparked protests. A protest in Dallas, Texas ended with the mass shooting of police officers. Five officers were killed. 

We respond to the events in Louisiana, Minnesota, and Texas with our guests:

  • Marvin Stepherson, retired Rochester Police Department sergeant, and professor of criminal justice administration at Roberts Wesleyan College
  • Eileen Graham, founder of Black Student Leadership 
  • Reverend Lewis Stewart, president of United Christian Leadership Ministry of Western New York

Throughout the last 40 years, gun possession in America has gradually declined, yet research shows gun sales have recently increased.

Dr. Robert Spitzer is a professor of political science at SUNY Cortland and a national expert on gun laws. He says this increase can be tied to politics: some Americans are buying guns to make a statement because they are afraid more regulations will be imposed.

How would regulations consistent with Second Amendment rights impact gun violence in America? Dr. Spitzer will be in Rochester on Thursday to lead a public discussion about that question, but first he joins us on Connections. Our panel discusses both sides of the issue. Our guests:

  • Dr. Robert Spitzer, distinguished service professor of political science at SUNY Cortland
  • Neil Jaschik, Rochester Coalition for Reasonable Gun Laws
  • Dave Jenkins, founder and primary instructor at Rochester Personal Defense LLC
  • Chris Nakis, gun owner

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