gun violence

Courtesy – City of Milwaukee Public Information Division

A coalition of Milwaukee Common Council members has issued a call to action. It wants residents to join civic leaders and police to make this a safer summer for all.

Common Council President Ashanti Hamilton is leading the charge. At City Hall Thursday he said, "We’re calling for all hands on deck. This is a call for all hands. All facets of the community."

Tracey Dent

Vigils in Milwaukee for young people who've been shot and killed seem to have become commonplace.

Wednesday night, community members staged another. Bullets have struck five teens since just last weekend; two died.

Photo by Michael Brosilow / Milwaukee Rep

The world premiere of American Song opens tonight at the Milwaukee Repertory Theater. Starring Wisconsin actor James Devita, it is a searing show about how guns touch one man’s life and change it forever.

Written by Australian playwright Joanna Murray-Smith, the show presents the perspective of a gun violence perpetrator's father - one that often gets overshadowed by the voices of victims and survivors of many mass shootings that have occurred in America.

Wiki Commons

Most of us are probably familiar with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I have a Dream" speech.  But it was a speech that came very late in King's life that some say has particular relevance today.

Celia Jackson is the Director of the International and Intercultural Center at Alverno College. She says we ought to look closely at a sermon King gave at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., just a few days before he was assassinated.  

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

UPDATE: Gov. Walker has asked Wisconsin's AG to review the President's plan and to challenge it, if it appears to contain illegalities.

President Obama has found it impossible to get lawmakers to agree to tighter gun laws, so on Tuesday, with only about a year left in his final term, he announced he would sidestep Congress. Mr. Obama issued an executive order, making it more difficult for some people to purchase firearms.

Mass shootings and police shootings have spurred calls for authorities to take action to reduce the violence. But policymakers may be stymied by the dearth of public health research into both gun violence and deaths that involve the police. One big obstacle: congressional restrictions on funding of such research at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Right now, the CDC studies all kinds of violence. There's a program on child abuse and youth violence, and the public health agency collects data on suicides and sexual assaults.

Michael Ireland, fotolia

On Tuesday, the Milwaukee Police Department announced the arrest of three men in the fatal shooting last year of five-year-old Laylah Petersen. She was killed while sitting on her grandfather's lap. Bullets ripped through the window of his home.

The shooting took place in Milwaukee's seventh police district on the northwest side. Violent crime is part of life for some residents in the area.

"We hear gunshots on a daily basis."

LaToya Dennis

Nearly one year ago, five-year-old Laylah Peterson was shot dead while sitting on her grandfather’s lap in his home on Milwaukee’s north side. On Tuesday, police announced three arrests. 

Investigators say the three men were seeking revenge because one of their brothers was killed. But they fired bullets into the wrong home. Emotions ran high during the press conference announcing the arrests.

Murders On The Rise In Major U.S. Cities

Sep 5, 2015
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Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Fossiant, fotolia

It's been a deadly summer in some Milwaukee neighborhoods. Now, state lawmakers are considering increasing penalties for certain gun crimes.

A proposal would create mandatory minimum sentences for felons who possess firearms. Currently, judges have discretion over the length of such sentences.

Milwaukee Health Commissioner Bevan Baker says the city needs to address its violent crime as a public health threat.

Baker was among the leaders who testified Thursday before Common Council's Public Safety Committee. Its chairman convened the meeting in response to the surge in the city's homicide rate. The count of those killed already matches that for all of 2014, and quite a few of the victims have been children.

Michael Ireland, fotolia

When a teenage girl was shot to death this week in Milwaukee, the city’s homicide count hit 86 -- matching the total for all of 2014. Not long afterward, state and Milwaukee officials announced plans to prosecute more gun crimes.

Marti Mikkelson

Activities are underway around town to keep students busy and safe during summer vacation. One new program for young men considered at-risk is called Youth Works Milwaukee. 

The teens practice job skills and then head off to work.

DeShawn Ewing is standing at the front of the room at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee, north of downtown. He knows some of the 30 young men seated at tables in front of him may be mourning the loss of a friend or relative.

LaToya Dennis

2015 is shaping up to be one of the most violent Milwaukee has suffered in years. Already, there have been 86 homicides—more than double the number this time last year. Then, there are the hundreds of shootings that have wounded people- they’re up 23 percent. In response to the violence, a new chaplaincy program is taking shape. 

It trains ordinary believers how to console people and ease conditions that can cause misery. Those involved don’t believe police should be the only ones responding.

For the past six months, our Precious Lives series has told stories of how children in the Milwaukee area are affected by gun violence. There is an increasing number of children becoming victims of gun violence as well as a rise of young people being involved in violent crimes.

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