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"This is a national epidemic:" Milwaukee group gathers to discuss gun violence

Posted at 6:21 PM, Feb 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-17 19:21:27-05

MILWAUKEE -- A local group wants to shift the focus of gun violence discussions. 

“We don’t know each others' stories," Janet Fitch said. "[but we're trying] get to know each other’s stories."

That’s exactly what residents from Milwaukee and surrounding areas are discussing in these small groups made up of different people from all walks of life. Janet Fitch, the lead consultant to a gun violence prevention coalition said her goal is to shift the focus of the conversation surrounding guns. 

“This is a national epidemic," Fitch said. "The goal [of] the project has always been for me to reframe the discussion of gun violence from guns rights verse gun control to public health and prevention."

Robert Hampton said this approach to discussing gun violence is something he supports. Not only was he heartbroken after learning about the mass shooting in Florida Wednesday that killed 17 people and injured 14 others —but he said he also wants to help combat the gun violence in Milwaukee and this forum is a start. 

“We can’t sit around and say that something that we want to do is not perfect so we shouldn’t do it," Robert Hampton said. "We can’t make perfect the enemy of good."

According to police, 118 people were shot and killed in the city of Milwaukee last year —nine of those victims were under the age of 17 —and although it’s a slight drop in the number of homicides from 2016, Hampton said there’s a cycle in this city that must be broken. 

“It would be great if it were broken from Washington or Madison," Hampton said. "But until that happens, the people in the community need to take steps."