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'Why They Kill': Discussion, screening addresses how childhood trauma is connected to violence

Posted at 10:40 PM, Jul 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-12 23:40:28-04

MILWAUKEE — A community discussion on how childhood trauma could potentially be a link to violence down the line took place Tuesday.

That conversation followed a screening of the documentary “Why They Kill.”

The film provides a look into how violent criminal behavior develops, how communities are plagued with violence, and most importantly, how a life of violence can be prevented.

The showing was put on by Wisconsin Community Services and Scaling Wellness In Milwaukee, or SWIM.

“It’s important because the City of Milwaukee, like a number of urban communities, have experienced a number of violence and we really wanted to find out what the causes are,” said WCS CEO Clarence Johnson.

Following the screening of the film, there was a discussion about the connections between childhood trauma and criminal behavior.

District Attorney John Chisholm, Police Chief Jeffrey Norman, activist Torre Johnson and filmmaker Dr. Giuseppe Fazari, all weighed in.

“Our number one issue in regards to homicides and non-fatal shootings are conflict resolutions. There's an issue in resolving our issues in a productive way,” Norman said.

The film underscores the importance of the intersection between community organizations and institutions in making things better.

"You just have to deal with some of that trauma each day as it comes in,” John Chisholm, Milwaukee County District Attorney, said.

For people in attendance, the film and conversation shined a light on their own childhoods.

“It helped me talk about what I went through in my childhood life,” said Cathy Wilder.

Jason Offutt battled addiction throughout his life. He said helping those find self-worth goes a long way toward a solution.

“No matter what you do. No matter what society thinks of you, you can be what you want to be no matter what,” he said.

You can access the film HERE.

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