Can We Talk People Out of Shooting?
The Cincinnati Police Department has circulated a call from CeaseFire Cincinnati to gather in Avondale today. The gathering at 4:30 p.m. at Reading Road and Prospect Street is a response to the shooting Friday of a 16-year-old boy.
Participants will march and hold a vigil against shootings, part of a community campaign to make gun violence “unacceptable.” The announcement points out that the shooting was a very public event, occurring in the Avondale Towne Center parking lot.
“A witness said that eight young people, ages 15 to 18 … were in a group and that one of the individuals shot him,” the CeaseFire Cincinnati statement says. “The Avondale Towne Center … is in the heart of Avondale — surrounded by churches, homes and apartments, stores, and restaurants. At 8 p.m. on a Friday, many people frequent the area.”
The aim of the group is to use community pressure to end the climate that has made such shootings commonplace in Cincinnati.
“Visible and vocal responses are critical because they are an opportunity for residents, clergy, public officials and other community members to come together and to speak with one with one voice against shootings and killings,” the statement says.
Without denying the good intentions of such an effort, does it have any practical benefit? One could argue that any program that gets people in a neighborhood talking to one another has value. But do people who shoot other people listen to arguments against it? Is this an exercise in mutual reinforcement for those who already alarmed by the shootings, or can it actually reduce the number of shootings?
— Gregory Flannery