A Different Kind of Spring
We at GAGV are grateful for the opportunity to use this month’s newsletter to connect with our community of volunteers and supporters. As we observe the stay at home orders from both sides of the state line, many of us may feel isolated from family and friends. We’ve all needed to adjust to numerous changes in our daily lives. For many of us that’s meant curtailing GAGV activities, from gathering at our monthly meetings to volunteering at Lock It For Love events. Spring this year is very different.
Yet despite the virus and its constraints, GAGV’s commitment to prevent gun violence remains the same. We’ve alerted the media to the likelihood of more gun violence as people are required to spend more time confined to their homes. As the sales of firearms and ammunition accelerate nationwide, we’re concerned about the potential for increases in homicide, suicide, domestic violence, hate crimes and people (especially children) being in a home with improperly secured firearms. We have posted information on our website to ensure people have the resources they need to feel safe in the community and in their homes, and have used Facebook postings to direct readers to the site. We’re hopeful the media will soon include this information in their daily coronavirus updates and stories; for now, we hope you and your family are staying safe at home.
Hopefully we can resume our regular monthly meetings sometime this summer. When we do, the first program will be one increasingly relevant as a result of the coronavirus pandemic: the personal toll on first responders. The program outlined below will focus primarily on our police partners. They and firefighters, health care professionals and others on the front lines battling the virus deserve an outpouring of appreciation along with grocery store staffs, truck drivers, postal workers and local restauranteurs who are helping meet our daily needs. Tell them Thank You every chance you get!
Behind the Badge: Struggles Our Police Partners Face
Program Date TBD
Every day, even before the additional pressures brought by the pandemic, police officers face uncertain danger. They answer calls of potential homicides, domestic violence, drug overdoses, car accidents, abused children and more. They’ve got to think fast, comfort victims, confront the perpetrators, protect themselves and their partners, then document every incident. They face stress at almost every turn.
That stress can lead to physical and mental health problems, marriage and family issues, post-traumatic stress syndrome and at the very worst, suicide. In 2018, at least 167 police officers nationwide died by suicide, more than were killed in the line of duty, according to the nonprofit law enforcement support group called Blue H.E.L.P.
At GAGV, we feel especially close to police officers who serve as partners in the Lock It For Love program that’s distributed 2,800 free gun locks. Our urban and suburban police partners have joined us at 119 community events on both sides of the state line, demonstrating the correct way to use the locks and providing invaluable support as we promote safe storage of weapons. We care about them just as they care for our community.
We’ll hear the Police Chiefs of both Kansas City and Prairie Village tell their stories and explain how their departments are helping officers to better handle their often-dangerous work.