Voices on Gun Violence

Emi Tsuji, Staff Reporter

Three panelists, Joe DeCecco, Liz Abler, and Ann MacPhetridge were invited to Lakeland to discuss gun violence. 

According to Julie Mavity Maddalena, Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Religion, this panel discussion was held by following the previous Mission House Lecture to add more voices and perspectives on gun issues. “We know that we have to figure out ways to have meaningful, constructive, educated conversations that lead to actions if we’re going to have any sort of hope of making inroads into preventing more gun violence. So to that end, we invited the three panelists.” 

Joe DeCecco gave his thoughts on the interpretation of the 2nd Amendment and lack of law restrictions, which were largely based on his former career as Sheboygan County District Attorney. “80% of Wisconsinites, and a good portion of the country, want more restrictive gun laws. Wisconsin only has two bans on firearms.” 

Liz Abler, a public health nurse at the Sheboygan County Health and Human Services, stated, “I specialize in prevention, so injury prevention, injury by gun death, and suicide. Those were the biggest reasons why I came, for suicide prevention and educating people about how they can help them.” 

Ann MacPhetridge, a representative of a gun violence advocacy group called “Moms Demand Action,” mentioned the lack of background checks is the issue on guns. “When we have a mass shooting, in addition to offering up their thoughts and prayers, our politicians often claim that it’s a mental health issue. There are some complexities to the issue, it’s not just about the guns. It is the unfettering access to those guns that is the problem.” Also, MacPhetridge mentioned about how easy it is to access the guns. She spoke about a website similar to Craigslist, but for guns, where no background check. “Last year alone, 1.2 million guns in the United States were sold online.” 

After the convocation, Dominique Lee, a Junior student at here at Lakeland, stated that “As a student here at Lakeland, I think what we don’t talk about enough, and definitely should be talking about gun control, gun violence, and the access to guns, because I think a lot of people don’t actually know and understand that some of our students actually have personal experience with this stuff and because we have this culture on campus of not talking about it, it’s not good. Because then we live in our own bubbles of like  ‘no, that’s not a thing,’ but in reality, there are people who go to school with us, who live in the same dorms as we do, who have a real fear back home. And so, I just think I’m really glad that Lakeland is hosting more of these types of events and discussing such an important topic.”