You've probably heard that there have been 355 mass shootings so far this year. Where did that statistic come from? The FBI says there have been 22. A journalist who covers gun crime for Mother Jones says the number is four. Why the disparity? What's the impact of using one set of data over another? Are we devaluing lives if we restrict the definition? Our guests explain:

  • Irshad Altheimer, associate professor of criminal justice, criminological theory, criminology,and corrections, Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Mark Concordia, assistant professor of criminal justice, Roberts Wesleyan College Bennett

Gun violence is a common occurrence in some Rochester neighborhoods, but a local psychiatrist says Wednesday's mass shooting was extreme even for challenged locations like inner cities.

Dr. Robert Weisman, associate professor of psychiatry at UR Medicine, says 60 to 80 percent of the victims of violence suffer from some level of post-traumatic stress. And that can include those who simply witnessed the event.  Weisman says younger people are more vulnerable than adults in this way.

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Rochester City Councilman Adam McFadden knew one of the victims in Wednesday night's drive-by shooting  and spoke with Beth Adams this morning about the tragedy.

On Monday's edition of "Connections", we spent both hours discussing the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, and the aftermath which is still ongoing. How could the situation have been handled differently? Could this situation happen in Western New York? We discuss the situation, and the hypotheticals with our panels:

First Hour:

  • Bill Johnson, former Rochester Mayor
  • Kit Miller, director of the Gandhi Institute for Non Violence
  • Verdis Robinson, professor of History and African American Studies at Monroe Community College
  • Bill Clark, Urban League president

Second Hour:

  • Shabaka Mu Ausar, filmmaker of "Young Black Male"
  • Sherry Walker-Cowart, Center for Dispute Settlement president
  • Frank Liberti, Center for Dispute Settlement

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A month after the Newtown school shootings, most of New York's school board members say they're still worried students don't have adequate access to mental health services.  

The New York State School Boards Association informally polled its members on topics including school safety, mental health services and stricter gun laws. Within 24 hours, more than 600 members responded. 

The University of Rochester Medical Center has issued the following statement from Dr. Nicole Stassen, the trauma surgeon treating the firefighters who were wounded in Webster on Monday:

Both firefighters injured in Monday’s shooting are convalescing and doing as well as I would expect at this stage. Mr. Scardino and Mr. Hofstetter are both receiving supportive care and are making small steps on their long road ahead. It is critical that they remain in an environment where they can focus on rest and recovery. 

Suspected Shooter Had Lengthy Criminal History

Dec 24, 2012

Police say it appears an ex convict set fire to his home in order to  lure firefighters  to the neighborhood.  After setting the trap, 62-year old William Spengler then started shooting them when they arrived.  Police say he killed two of the firefighters and injuring two others before killing himself.  Several other homes also caught fire and were destroyed in the blaze.

Firefighters Killed While Responding to Webster Fire

Dec 24, 2012

"This is a safe community, so to have tragedy befall us like this is just horrendous."

Those are the words of Webster Police Chief Gerald Pickering after two West Webster firefighters were fatally shot when responding to a house fire early this morning.  Two other firefighters were injured. 

Officials say it appears the alleged shooter, 62-year old William Spengler, set "a trap" for first responders.  Spengler was arrested by Webster police in 1980 and convicted of first-degree manslaughter for killing his grandmother.  He was released  and on parole from 1998 until 2006.

Statement from NY Governor Cuomo on Shootings

Dec 24, 2012

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued the following statement in response to today's fatal shooting of two West Webster firefighters.