Members of law enforcement and hospital staff in Menasha, Wisconsin said at a press conference following Sunday's mass shooting that this incident was, "the end of innocence" for their community. The coroner said, "I've been the coroner for 18 years, and like the doctor said, not an act of violence, other than maybe a domestic one, but nothing like this."
We at Sandy Hook Promise know, tragically, that we must banish these 6 words from our collective vocabulary: "This could never happen to me." No one can prepare themselves for the kinds of random, horrific violence we saw in Menasha, or Sandy Hook, Aurora, and Tucson, to name a few, but we can work to prevent them. Intervening before violence starts is critical, establishing programs that can help communities understand when someone may be crying out for help or could be a danger to themselves or others is imperative to saving innocent lives. Limiting firearm access to criminals and the dangerously ill, and children who far too often find themselves victims of improperly stored weapons can also help stop the epidemic of gun violence in America.
Let us not live in fear, but let us not think "this could never happen to me." Let us be proactive, let us work together, for common-sense solutions that will save lives, keep families intact, and help people who are ill and hurting.