Organizes of Thursday night's forum on community violence say more seats would have bee filled if the topic was gun violence, "I think this week saying, 'oh we're meeting about gun violence,' would have drawn in a lot of people," explained Alice Berry of Cayuga Centers.
The tragedies in West Webster and Newtown Connecticut have sparked a nationwide conversation about guns and even led to new legislation in New York, "I think the gun legislation gives the appearance that because we have new laws on the books that we've somehow made a difference in the problem," said Pete Navratil of Cayuga Centers, "and for most of us in our community the new legislation won't have much of an impact on our daily lives."
Thousands fall victim to bullying, sexual and domestic violence, but those issues haven't sparked a national debate for change, "it happens in peoples homes, and relationships, on the streets, in schools, there are fights in schools, there's all kinds of things that I think don't get the same amount of attention," said Berry.
There are small steps everyone can take to start fighting back against every day violence, "other alternatives to resolving conflict other than committing other acts of violence," explained Navratil, "that would be a first step, I think, in addressing some of the impact of violence that we see."
While the national discussion continues on gun violence mental health professionals say it's important not to forget the victims, "focus on the trauma, and not pretend that it didn't happen, or move on to the next thing," explained Berry, "but really stick with it until that person can feel safe going into school, going from their car into the mall, or wherever they might be."
The group is planning to meet again in March.