Metrofocus: May 26, 2022

“WHAT ARE WE DOING?”:  ANGER, FRUSTRATION AND MOURNING AFTER TEXAS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL SHOOTING

Tuesday’s mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas left 21 innocent people dead, including 19 children and two teachers.  This is just the latest in a series of violent mass shootings that have taken place across the country, including in Buffalo and in New York City.  These horrific incidents raise the questions of what more we can be doing to protect our children from gun violence.  Though Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) promises to force a vote on gun control and Governor Kathy Hochul promises to make changes here in New York, it remains to be seen if they will be able to create any significant changes.  And, what impact are these shootings having on the mental health of children and adults?  Joining us to discuss these issues are:  Mark Barden, father of Daniel who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting on Dec. 14, 2012 and is co-founder of Sandy Hook Promise; Nick Suplina, Senior Vice President for Law and Policy at Everytown for Gun Safety and former senior advisor/special counsel with the New York State Attorney General’s Office; and Dr. Jeffrey Gardere, a board-certified psychologist and professor of Behavioral Science at Touro College at Osteopathic Medicine in Manhattan.

TRANSCRIPT

> TONIGHT, WE EXAMINE THE TRAGIC MASS SHOOTING THAT LEFT 19 ELEMENTARY SCHOOLCHILDREN DEAD IN TEXAS AND THE MENTAL HEALTH TOLL THESE REPEATED INCIDENTS ARE CAUSING AS 'METROFOCUS' STARTS RIGHT NOW.

♪♪

> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY --

> WHAT ARE WE DOING?

WHY DO YOU SPEND ALL THIS TIME RUNNING FOR THE UNITED STATES SENATE, WHY DO YOU GO THROUGH ALL THE HASSLE OF GETTING THIS JOB, OF PUTTING YOURSELF IN A POSITION OF AUTHORITY IF YOUR ANSWER IS THAT AS THE SLAUGHTER INCREASES, AS OUR KIDS RUN FOR THEIR LIVES WE DO NOTHING?

WHAT ARE WE DOING?

GOOD EVENING.

WELCOME TO THIS SPECIAL EDITION OF 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M JENNA FLANAGAN.

WHAT YOU JUST SAW WAS A CLIP OF CONNECTICUT SENATOR CHRIS MURPHY PLEADING WITH HIS REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES TO TAKE ACTION AFTER TUESDAY'S MASS SHOOTING AT ROBB ELEMENTARY SCHOOL IN UVALDE, TEXAS, WHICH LEFT 21 INNOCENT PEOPLE DEAD, 19 CHILDREN AND TWO TEACHERS.

THE SHOOTING IS THE SECOND DEADLIEST EVER AT AN ELEMENTARY, MIDDLE SCHOOL OR HIGH SCHOOL IN OUR NATION'S HISTORY BEHIND THE 2012 MASSACRE AT SANDY HOOK IN CONNECTICUT WHICH RESULTED IN 26 DEATHS.

MASS SHOOTINGS HAVE BEEN A MAJOR PROBLEM IN THE UNITED STATES, INCLUDING HERE IN NEW YORK, WHERE DESPITE HAVING SOME OF THE STRICTEST GUN LAWS IN THE NATION, THERE HAVE BEEN MULTIPLE SHOOTINGS IN THE PAST FEW WEEKS ALONE, INCLUDING A SUPERMARKET IN BUFFALO THAT LED TO TEN PEOPLE LOSING THEIR LIVES.

JOINING US TONIGHT TO BREAK DOWN THE LATEST IN WHAT SEEMS TO BE A NEVER ENDING CYCLE OF VIOLENCE AND MASS SHOOTINGS IS NICK SUPLINA.

HE IS A SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT FOR LAW AND POLICY AT EVERY TOWN FOR GUN SAFETY.

NICK, WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

WE ARE JOINED BY DR. JEFFREY GARDIER.

DR. JEFF, AS HE IS KNOWN, IS A BOARD CERTIFIED CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST AND PROFESSOR OF BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES.

DR. JEFF, IT'S GREAT TO HAVE YOU ON.

THANK YOU.

WE ARE ALSO JOINED BY MARK BARDEN.

HE IS THE FATHER OF DANIEL, A 7-YEAR-OLD MURDERED DURING THE SANDY HOOK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL SHOOTING.

MARK IS THE FOUNDER AND CEO OF SANDY HOOK PROMISE ACTION FUND.

MARK, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US.

THANK YOU.

IT IS INCREDIBLY DIFFICULT TO EVEN BEGIN TO DISCUSS THE TOPIC OF YET ANOTHER SCHOOL SHOOTING, PARTICULARLY IN AN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL.

BUT DR. JEFF, I WANT TO START AND JUST GET YOUR PROFESSIONAL OPINION ON HOW WE, AS A CULTURE, SHOULD EVEN BEGIN TO START PROCESSING SOMETHING LIKE THIS HAPPENING YET AGAIN.

FIRST AND FOREMOST, WE HAVE TO UNDERSTAND, THIS CANNOT BE OUR NORMAL OR OUR NEW NORMAL.

AND IT'S SO EASY TO GIVE IN TO HOPELESSNESS BECAUSE WE FEEL THAT THESE SITUATIONS WILL NOT CHANGE, THAT WE HAVE SO MANY SHOOTINGS AND MASS SHOOTINGS IN THE UNITED STATES.

PROBABLY THE NUMBER ONE COUNTRY WHERE THAT IS HAPPENING.

SO MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE, THIS IS A TIME FOR US TO COME TOGETHER IN GRIEF, IN COMPASSION, BUT ALSO IN ACTION.

IN ACTION!

IN BEING ABLE TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS COLLECTIVELY.

OF COURSE.

NOW, MARK, I WANT TO BRING YOU INTO THE CONVERSATION.

FIRST OFF, I WANT TO EXTEND OUR DEEPEST CONDOLENCES, NOW EVEN TEN YEARS AFTER THE MASSACRE THAT HAPPENED.

I WANT TO GET YOUR PERSPECTIVE ON WHAT IS THE PROCESS THAT YOU AT LEAST UNFORTUNATELY UNDERSTAND THAT THESE FAMILIES ARE NOW GOING THROUGH?

THANK YOU.

YES, TEN YEARS -- IT WILL BE TEN YEARS THIS DECEMBER SINCE OUR 10-YEAR-OLD SWEET DANIEL WAS SHOT TO DEATH IN HIS FIRST GRADE CLASSROOM.

IT'S NOT SOMETHING WE WENT THROUGH MERELY TEN YEARS AGO.

I SAY I FEEL LIKE MY DNA HAS BEEN REWIRED BY THIS CATASTROPHIC EVENT.

THE NIGHT THAT THIS HAPPENED IN TEXAS, MY WIFE TURNED TO ME AND SHE SAID, THIS IS THEIR FRIDAY NIGHT.

I KNEW EXACTLY WHAT SHE MEANT.

THAT THEY WERE AT HOME TRYING TO COME TO TERMS WITH -- TRYING TO WRAP THEIR HEAD AROUND WHAT JUST HAPPENED.

MY HEART BREAKS FOR THEM.

I'M HEARTBROKEN FOR THEM.

BECAUSE THEY ARE BEGINNING THIS UNFATHOMABLE JOURNEY THAT NO PARENT SHOULD EVER HAVE TO BE ON.

THEY ARE IN IT.

THERE'S SO MUCH FRUSTRATION, AND THERE'S ALSO HOPE IN THE FACT THAT AS DR. JEFF ARTICULATED, IT'S PREVENTABLE.

OF COURSE.

I ALSO DO WANT TO EXPAND A LITTLE MORE.

SO MUCH ATTENTION RIGHTFULLY SO IS ON THOSE THAT DIED, I DO WANT TO KNOW, HOW HAS THIS IMPACTED YOUR FAMILY LONG-TERM?

WE HAVE TWO SURVIVING CHILDREN, JAMES AND NATALIE.

JAMES WAS 12 AND NATALIE WAS 10 AT THE TIME THAT THEIR LITTLE BROTHER WAS TAKEN FROM THEM.

THEY WERE VERY CLOSE.

THE THREE OF THEM WERE VERY CLOSE, ALWAYS WANTED TO BE TOGETHER, ALWAYS ENJOYED EACH OTHER'S COMPANY.

AND IT HAS BEEN A JOURNEY.

FOR ME PERSONALLY, I HAD TO INITIALLY FOCUS AND CONTINUE TO FOCUS ON JUST BEING STRONG, LOVING AND SUPPORTING HUSBAND FOR MY WIFE AND FATHER FOR MY CHILDREN.

THAT HAS WORKED.

IT HAS GONE THE OPPOSITE WAY WHERE WE WERE INCAPACITATED WITH GRIEF.

JAMES AND NATALIE WERE THERE TO HOLD US THROUGH THIS.

WE WERE FORTUNATE TO HAVE EACH OTHER, STRONG BOND OF LOVE, FORTUNATE TO HAVE A CLOSE FAMILY WHO SURROUNDED US AND PROTECTED US AND INSULATED US.

WE WERE ALSO PART OF AN AMAZING COMMUNITY THAT JUST WRAPPED THEIR ARMS AROUND US AND KIND OF BULLIED US THROUGH THIS.

FOR ME, I HAD TO IMMERSE MYSELF IN FINDING SOLUTIONS AND DOING ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING I CAN TO PREVENT OTHER FAMILIES FROM HAVING TO GO THROUGH THIS AND LIVE THIS PAIN.

THAT'S WHAT BROUGHT ME TO DO THIS WORK WITH SANDY HOOK PROMISE.

OF COURSE.

NICK, I WANT TO BRING YOU IN.

MARK DID MENTION THAT IN ADDITION TO WHAT SOUNDS AMAZING TO BE ABLE TO FEEL SOME KIND OF HOPE ABOUT SOMETHING POSITIVE MAYBE HAPPENING, THERE'S ALSO STILL A LOT OF FRUSTRATION.

I THINK THAT'S WHERE PEOPLE ARE RIGHT NOW.

CAN YOU TELL US, WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT THE SHOOTING IN UVALDE, TEXAS, ABOUT THE LEGALITY, AT LEAST, OF WHAT TOOK PLACE?

LET'S START AT THE STATE OF OUR COUNTRY.

YOU KNOW, WE HAVE 400 MILLION GUNS.

WE LOSE OVER 100 PEOPLE A DAY TO GUN VIOLENCE.

PROBABLY DOUBLE THAT ARE INJURED WITH GUNS EVERY DAY.

AND WE HAVE AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL INACTION THAT'S UNACCEPTABLE.

IT'S UNACCEPTABLE TO EVERY AMERICAN.

IT'S NOT THE AMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISM FOR WHICH SO MANY POLITICIANS LIKE TO PROMOTE.

WE ARE THE ONLY DEVELOPED COUNTRY IN THE WORLD THAT HAS A CRISIS LIKE THIS.

INCREASINGLY, SHOWING AN UNWILLINGNESS TO ACT.

THAT SAID, WE ARE ACTING.

WE ARE ACTING ACROSS THE COUNTRY.

FOLKS LIKE MARK ARE AN INSPIRATION TO ALL OF US THAT WORK EVERY DAY TO PASS LAWS AT THE FEDERAL, STATE AND LOCAL LEVEL TO SUPPORT PROGRAMS THAT ARE INTERVENING IN GUN VIOLENCE AND HELPING TO PREVENT GUN VIOLENCE, BECAUSE WE CAN AND WE KNOW WE CAN.

IN THE PLACES THAT ARE PUTTING THE EFFORT IN, WE ARE SEEING LOWER RATES OF GUN VIOLENCE.

BUT WHAT HAPPENED IN UVALDE IS THE LOGICAL OUTGROWTH OF A COUNTRY AWASH IN GUNS, EASY ACCESS TO GUNS, AND WITH LAWMAKERS THAT JUST TOO OFTEN ARE WILLING TO PIVOT TO SOME PRETTY CYNICAL TALKING POINTS.

AMERICANS ARE TIRED OF IT.

WE HAVE HOPE BECAUSE WHAT ELSE ARE WE GOING TO HAVE BUT HOPE TO NEED TO CHANGE THE STATE OF THINGS IN OUR COUNTRY?

AND PROTECT IT FROM WHAT IS THIS BARGAIN THAT SOME POLITICIANS HAVE MADE WITH THE GUN LOBBY THAT IS LEADING TO CARNAGE ACROSS THE COUNTRY.

OF COURSE.

DR. JEFF, YOU KNOW, WHEN WE HEAR SOMETIMES WHEN PEOPLE TALK ABOUT THESE INCIDENTS AS UNFORTUNATELY AS FREQUENTLY AS THEY HAPPEN, THE ISSUE OF MENTAL HEALTH ALWAYS COMES UP.

PEOPLE ARE ALWAYS QUICK TO SAY, ANYONE WHO WOULD DO THIS WAS CLEARLY MENTALLY UNSTABLE.

IS THAT A PROPER WAY TO FRAME THIS CRISIS THAT WE ARE HAVING?

IS THIS A MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS, OR IS THIS SOMETHING ELSE?

WE DO HAVE A MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS IN THIS COUNTRY.

BUT I WOULD NOT LINK THAT TO THE GUN VIOLENCE.

AFTER ALL, WHEN WE LOOK AT THE SCHOOL SHOOTINGS, THEY MAKE UP ONLY 4% OF THE SHOOTINGS IN THIS COUNTRY.

THE VAST AMOUNT OF SHOOTINGS ARE AROUND SUICIDE AND HOMICIDE AND ACCIDENTAL GUN SHOOTINGS AND SO ON.

MENTAL HEALTH IS REALLY A SEPARATE ISSUE THAT WE REALLY MUST TACKLE.

BUT IF YOU WANT TO TRY TO INVOLVE MENTAL HEALTH IN THIS, THEN WHAT ONE CAN EASILY SURMISE IS THAT, WELL, NOW, ARE WE MAKING IT EASIER FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE AT RISK TO HAVE MORE DEADLY WAYS TO HURT THEMSELVES OR HURT OTHERS?

SO IT THEN PIVOTS BACK TO WHAT THE ISSUE HERE IS ALL ABOUT.

THAT IS THAT WE NEED SENSIBLE GUN LAWS, WE NEED GUN CONTROL, AND WE CERTAINLY NEED GUN SAFETY.

OF COURSE.

I DO WANT TO GET BACK TO THE ISSUE OF GUNS.

ALSO, THE ISSUE OF PEOPLE WHO ARE AT RISK, BECAUSE WHAT WE ARE LEARNING ABOUT AT LEAST THE SHOOTER IN TEXAS WAS THAT THERE WERE AT LEAST KNOWN TO SOME OF HIS CLASSMATES AND PERHAPS CO-WORKERS THAT THIS WAS SOMEONE WHO WAS SOMEWHAT DISAFFECTED AND WASN'T REALLY HAVING -- STRUGGLING TO CONNECT WITH OTHER YOUNG PEOPLE.

MARK, I WANT TO BRING YOU BACK IN AND ASK YOU, WHAT IS IT THAT YOUR ORGANIZATION DOES?

I UNDERSTAND IT ACTUALLY ATTEMPTS TO ADDRESS SOME OF THOSE ISSUES.

THAT'S RIGHT.

THANK YOU.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR COMMENTS, BOTH NICK AND DR. JEFF.

YOU ARE SPOT ON.

WHAT WE FOCUS ON IS MORE BEHAVIORAL.

WE CAN'T SAY FOR SURE THAT IN SOME OF THESE SHOOTING ATROCITIES THAT THE SHOOTER WAS DIAGNOSED WITH A MENTAL ILLNESS OR WOULD BE DIAGNOSED WITH A MENTAL ILLNESS.

WE FOCUS ON THE BEHAVIOR.

IF SOMEBODY -- WE TRAIN STUDENTS HOW TO RECOGNIZE WARNING SIGNS.

THAT'S ONE CONSISTENT FACTOR THAT WE CONSISTENTLY SEE IS THAT THERE ARE -- IN ALMOST EVERY CASE THERE'S A WARNING SIGN.

THERE ARE ALMOST ALWAYS WARNING SIGNS.

WHAT WE DO IS WE TRAIN STUDENTS HOW TO LOOK FOR AND IDENTIFY THOSE WARNING SIGNS AND THEN TELL A TRUSTED ADULT, WHO HAS ALSO BEEN TRAINED AND WHO CAN CONNECT THAT INDIVIDUAL TO HELP, WHATEVER THAT MIGHT BE.

WE ARE HAVING GREAT SUCCESS WITH THAT.

WE SEE WARNING SIGNS IN SOCIAL MEDIA, IN THE AFTERMATH.

WHEN STUDENTS ARE SEEING THAT BEFORE THEIR PARENTS OR BEFORE TEACHERS ARE, STUDENTS ARE LITERALLY THE EYES AND EARS.

THEY ARE MAKING THESE CONNECTIONS.

THEY ARE SEEING THINGS THAT ONLY THEY CAN SEE.

SO WE TRAIN THEM HOW TO RECOGNIZE THOSE WARNING SIGNS AND GET THAT INDIVIDUAL CONNECTED TO HELP EITHER BY WAY OF TELLING A TRUST ADULT OR USING THE ANONYMOUS REPORTING SYSTEM.

TO YOUR POINT, DOCTOR, IF YOU ARE GOING TO BLAME THIS ON MENTAL HEALTH, THEN ALL THE MORE REASON THAT WE NEED TO ADDRESS THE EASY ACCESS TO GUNS IN THIS COUNTRY.

OF COURSE.

NICK, ALSO, AT THE SAME TIME, WHAT WE HAVE HEARD IN REACTION TO THIS -- AGAIN, I WANT TO BE VERY SENSITIVE TO THE FACT THAT PEOPLE REALLY FEEL LIKE SOMETHING NEEDS TO BE DONE.

THERE'S A CALL AGAIN FOR MORE SCHOOL RESOURCE OFFICERS, MORE ARMED GUARDS AT SCHOOLS, HARDENING SCHOOL BUILDINGS, ET CETERA.

WHY DOES THAT SEEM TO BE A RESPONSE THAT PEOPLE GO TO BEFORE ADDRESSING THE GUN ISSUE?

WELL, YOU KNOW, I THINK EVERY SOLUTION IS ALWAYS ON THE TABLE AFTER AN ATROCITY LIKE THIS.

FOLKS WANT TO TALK ABOUT DOORS AND BULLETPROOF GLASS AND HIGHER GATES.

THAT'S ALL FINE.

BUT THEY ARE DOING SO OFTEN BECAUSE THEY DON'T WANT TO TALK ABOUT ACCESS TO WEAPONS, BECAUSE ONE GROUP IN THIS COUNTRY HAS POLITICIZED IT TO THE POINT WHERE THEY ARE SO AFRAID TO TALK ABOUT THE FIREARMS, WHEN THAT'S THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM, THAT'S THE COMMON FORM THROUGH ALL FORMS OF GUN VIOLENCE THAT THE DOCTOR WAS TALKING ABOUT.

THIS IS IT.

THIS IS THE COMMON THREAD.

FIREARMS, ACCESS TO FIREARMS IS WHAT IS MAKING OUR CHILDREN LESS SAFE AND IS WHAT'S MAKING OUR COUNTRY LESS SAFE.

YOU KNOW, THE SAD FACT -- ALTHOUGH DETAILS ARE STILL EMERGING.

BUT THE SAD FACT IS THAT IN UVALDE, TEXAS, THERE WAS AT LEAST ONE OR TWO ARMED, TRAINED PROFESSIONALS WHO ENGAGED WITH THIS SHOOTER EITHER BEFORE OR SHORTLY AFTER HE GOT INTO THE SCHOOL.

AND WE ARE STILL LEFT WITH 19 CHILDREN DEAD AND TWO EDUCATORS DEAD.

IN BUFFALO, NEW YORK, WE HAD AN ARMED SECURITY GUARD ENGAGE WITH THE SHOOTER.

THE FIRE POWER, THE WILLINGNESS TOINDISCRIMINANTLY HAS TO BE ADDRESSED.

OF COURSE, IN THIS POST-COVID MOMENT WHEN WE SEE INDICATORS OF MENTAL HEALTH STRAIN ACROSS OUR COUNTRY, BUT IT'S ADDING FIREARMS TO THAT MIX THAT IS LEADING THIS TO AN EPIDEMIC OF ITS OWN KIND.

WHEN POLITICIANS AVOID TALKING ABOUT GUNS, IT'S BECAUSE THEY BELIEVE POLITICALLY THAT THEY HAVE SOMETHING TO LOSE BY DOING THAT.

THAT, QUITE HONESTLY, WE ARE DONE WITH THAT.

ENOUGH OF THAT.

ENOUGH OF LACKING THE COURAGE TO DO WHAT YOU KNOW WILL PROTECT YOUR CONSTITUENTS FROM DEATH AND DESTRUCTION.

I KIND OF DO NEED TO PUSH BACK A LITTLE BIT AND ASK, YOU KNOW, WHILE IN THE MOMENT, THERE'S BEEN SO MANY TIMES WHERE WE HAVE HEARD, THIS IS IT, THIS IS ENOUGH, AND YET ENOUGH TIME GOES BY AND, YOU KNOW, WE EITHER MOVE ON OR SOMETHING -- ANOTHER CRISIS HAPPENS THAT GRABS EVERYONE'S ATTENTION AND THE STORY STOPS BEING IN THE HEADLINES.

DR. JEFF, I WILL ADDRESS THIS TO YOU, BUT REALLY TO THE ENTIRE PANEL.

IS THERE A CONCERN THIS COUNTRY HAS BECOME DESENSITIZED AT ALL?

TO SOME EXTENT, PERHAPS.

I THINK WHEN WE ARE IN THE MOMENT OF THESE HORRIFIC SHOOTINGS AND SITUATIONS, THAT WE REALLY DO COLLECTIVELY GRIEVE.

BUT THERE'S ALWAYS SOMETHING ELSE THAT COMES INTO VIEW, ESPECIALLY IN THIS PANDEMIC WORLD THAT PULLS OUR ATTENTION AWAY FROM THAT PARTICULAR CRISIS TO ANOTHER CRISIS.

WE CAN WALK AND CHEW GUM AT THE SAME TIME.

WE HAVE TO KEEP OUR EYES ON THIS PARTICULAR ISSUE WITH GUN VIOLENCE IN AMERICA AS WELL AS LOOKING AT THE ISSUES OF VOTING RIGHTS, AS WELL AS LOOKING AT WHITE SUPREMACY, AS WELL AS LOOKING AT ALL OF THE ILLS THAT ARE GOING ON.

WE CANNOT BE HELPLESS IN A SITUATION LIKE THIS.

WE MUST MOBILIZE.

BUT MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE, WE HAVE TO BE UPSTANDERS AND NOT BYSTANDERS.

WE CAN CONTINUE THE CONVERSATION.

BUT AS WE SEE WITH THESE INCREDIBLE GUESTS THAT YOU HAVE, THEY ARE DOING SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

THIS IS WHAT WE NEED TO INSPIRE OUR CHILDREN TO DO, TO BE INVOLVED IN THE FIGHT AND THE FIGHT FOR FREEDOM, THE FIGHT FOR JUSTICE, THE FIGHT FOR SAFETY AND WHAT IS RIGHT.

MARK, SPEAKING OF THAT, WE ARE NOW STARTING TO HEAR FROM SOME OF THE FAMILIES FROM UVALDE.

ONE OF THE FATHERS, VERY HEARTBREAKINGLY SAID, I JUST DON'T WANT MY DAUGHTER TO BE ANOTHER NUMBER.

I DON'T WANT HER TO JUST BE LOST IN THIS INSANITY, IF YOU WILL.

AT LEAST FOR YOUR OWN FAMILY AND PERHAPS SOME OF THE OTHER SANDY HOOK FAMILIES, HOW HAVE YOU NAVIGATED KEEPING YOUR CHILDREN'S NAMES ALIVE?

THANK YOU FOR ASKING THAT.

IF I COULD BUILD ON WHAT THEY SAID, THAT WE DO HAVE TO MOVE FORWARD WITH ACTION.

BECAUSE THERE'S THIS CYCLE OF HAND-WRINGING AND IT GOING AWAY WITH THE NEWS CYCLE.

IT HAPPENS AGAIN.

IT'S THIS REPEATING CYCLE.

I'M ASKING PEOPLE FOR WHAT IT'S WORTH AND HOW YOU CAN DO IT TO HOLD ON TO THIS RAGE.

DON'T ALLOW YOURSELF THE LUXURY TO ASSUAGE IT AND SOOTHE YOURSELF.

THINK ABOUT THOSE FAMILIES IN UVALDE.

THINK ABOUT WHAT THEY ARE GOING THROUGH.

THINK ABOUT THE INNOCENCE OF THOSE CHILDREN GUNNED DOWN IN A CLASSROOM.

HOLD ON TO THAT AND LET IT INSPIRE YOU TO ACTIVISM AND LET IT LAST LONGER THAN A NEWS CYCLE.

THINK ABOUT HOW YOU CAN RESPOND IN YOUR NETWORKS AND THEN AT THE VOTING BOOTH.

I WANT TO BUILD ON THE GOOD POINTS THAT THEY JUST SHARED.

YOUR POINT ABOUT KEEPING MY LITTLE DANIEL ALIVE.

HE IS ALWAYS, ALWAYS IN OUR HEARTS, ALWAYS IN OUR THOUGHTS.

I AGREE 100% WITH WHAT THAT POOR FATHER SAID.

I THINK PART OF THE PROCESS OF PEOPLE IDENTIFYING WITH THIS ON A HUMAN ISSUE, WHICH IS WHAT IT IS, IS TO KNOW THESE CHILDREN AND TO LOOK AT THEIR FACES.

THE VICTIMS AT THE GROCERY STORE IN BUFFALO.

THE STUDENTS IN OXFORD AND GO ON AND ON AND ON.

THE STUDENTS AND CHILDREN AND FAMILIES WHO ARE LOSING LOVED ONES IN OUR CITIES EVERY DAY BY GUN VIOLENCE, WHO ARE NOT BEING REPORTED WHO ARE NOT GETTING THE SUPPORT AND ATTENTION.

THEIR NAMES, THEIR FACES, THEIR LIVES, EACH ONE OF THOSE LIVES HAS A FAMILY OR NETWORK AROUND THEM OF PEOPLE WHO LOVE THEM AND CARE ABOUT THEM.

THERE'S SO MUCH AT STAKE HERE.

IT'S SO IMPORTANT THAT WE DON'T JUST SAY, MY GOSH, THE NUMBERS ARE STAGGING, IT'S OVER 40,000 PEOPLE A YEAR DYING AS A RESULT OF A SHOOTING DEATH.

IT'S IMPORTANT THAT WE LOOK AT THOSE FACES AND WE THINK ABOUT THOSE FAMILIES.

KATIE COURIC IS POSTING PICTUR PICTURES AND BIOS OF THE CHILDREN.

SOMEONE SAID, I COULDN'T READ IT.

I NEVER DO THIS.

BUT I COMMENTED BACK.

I SAID, PLEASE DO.

PLEASE DO TRY TO IMAGINE WHAT THIS WOULD BE LIKE IF IT HAPPENED IN YOUR NETWORK, IN YOUR FAMILY.

THINK ABOUT THAT.

THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU CAN DO TO PREVENT IT.

OF COURSE.

NICK, WE ARE HEARING AT LEAST AT THIS PARTICULAR MOMENT A FEW DAYS AFTER THE SHOOTING THAT THERE'S A POSSIBILITY -- I REALLY WANT TO BE HEAVY ON POSSIBILITY THAT SOME SORT OF MOVEMENT MIGHT BE HAPPENING AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL.

WE AT LEAST KNOW THAT IN NEW YORK STATE, GOVERNOR HOCHUL IS PROPOSING CHANGES TO PERHAPS THE AGE OF PEOPLE BEING ABLE TO BUY CERTAIN TYPES OF FIREARMS, ET CETERA.

BUT MY QUESTION IS, EVEN WITH SUCH STRICT GUN LAWS THAT A STATE LIKE NEW YORK HAS, WE STILL SEE THE PROBLEM.

IS IT THAT THERE -- IS IT THE PATCHWORK OF LAWS FROM STATE TO STATE?

IS IT THAT IT HAS TO BE FEDERAL OR NOTHING?

WHAT ARE THE STEPS THAT NEED TO BE -- THAT NEED TO BE TAKEN AT THIS POINT?

GREAT QUESTION.

A FEW RESPONSES.

NEW YORK DOES HAVE SOME OF THE TOUGHEST GUN LAWS IN THE COUNTRY.

AS A RESULT, NEW YORK HAS ONE OF THE LOWEST RATES OF GUN DEATH IN THE COUNTRY AS WELL.

WE DO NEED TO LOOK AT THIS ISSUE LIKE THE PUBLIC HEALTH ISSUE IT IS.

WE NEED TO LOOK AT THE NUMBERS AT THE MACRO LEVEL AND SEE, IN FACT, AS WE HAVE STUDIED AND CORRELATED, GUN LAWS SAVE LIVES.

THAT'S BEYOND ANY DOUBT.

THAT IS -- THE FACT IS THAT NEW YORK BENEFITS FROM ITS STRONG GUN LAWS.

A FEW CAVEATS TO THAT.

NEW YORK IS ONE OF 50 STATES.

WE ARE ONLY AS SAFE AS THE LAWS OF THE WEAKEST -- THE WEAKEST LAWS IN A NEIGHBORING STATE.

WE ARE A PATCHWORK OF LAWS.

WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE DAILY TOLL OF GUN VIOLENCE IN NEW YORK CITY, WHERE I AM, 90 PLUS PERCENT OF THE FIREARMS ARE STARTING SOMEWHERE ELSE, NOT NEW YORK, NEW YORK CITY.

USUALLY A STATE WITH WEAK GUN LAWS THAT ALLOWS FOR TRAFFICKERS TO BRING THOSE GUNS TO NEW YORK.

OR AS IN THE CASE OF THE BUFFALO SHOOTER, TO CROSS THE BORDER AND TO PICK UP A HIGH CAPACITY MAGAZINE.

I DO WANT TO SAY ONE THING, TOO, WHICH IS -- THIS IS, YOU KNOW, A TERRIBLE EXAMPLE.

BUT WHAT HAPPENED WITH THE THE POTENTIAL OF NEW YORK'S STRONG RED FLAG LAW.

WE HAD AN OPPORTUNITY WITH THAT SHOOTER TO IDENTIFY THAT HE WAS A RISK TO HIMSELF OR OTHERS.

LAW ENFORCEMENT HAD CONTACT WITH HIM.

HE HAD A MENTAL HEALTH EVALUATION.

AT THAT MOMENT, WE HAD AN OPPORTUNITY TO FILE AN EXTREME RISK PROTECTION ORDER AND TEMPORARILY REMOVE ANY FIREARMS HE MIGHT HAVE, BUT ALSO HIS ABILITY TO BUY A NEW ONE.

THAT DIDN'T HAPPEN HERE.

GOVERNOR HOCHUL, TO HER GREAT CREDIT, HAS OWNED UP AND SAID, THIS WAS A MISTAKE AND IT WILL NOT HAPPEN AGAIN.

SHE'S MADE EXECUTIVE ORDERS TO HER STATE POLICE AND OTHER AGENCIES TO MAKE SURE THEY UNDERSTAND THE AVAILABILITY OF THE RED FLAG LAW.

BUT I WILL SAY, THESE LAWS ARE BEING USED IN THE STATES THAT HAVE THEM FREQUENTLY.

WE'RE NOT READING THE HEADLINE ABOUT THE MASS SHOOTING AT A SUPERMARKET OR AT A SCHOOL.

IT'S VERY HARD IN THE WORLD OF PREVENTION, YOU KNOW, ANY PUBLIC HEALTH SPECIALIST WILL TELL YOU, IT'S VERY HARD TO GET THE PUBLIC TO REALLY UNDERSTAND WHAT PREVENTING A HORRIBLE THING LOOKS LIKE.

WHAT WE SAW IN BUFFALO WAS JUST HOW CLOSE MAYBE THIS LAW COULD HAVE SAVED THE LIVES OF TEN PEOPLE.

AND IT SHOWS WHY GUN LAWS ARE SO IMPORTANT.

WE NEED TO IMPLEMENT THEM CORRECTLY WHEN WE DO PASS THEM.

FINALLY, I WILL SAY, YES, WE NEED FEDERAL ACTION.

I AM ALWAYS HOPEFUL FOR FEDERAL ACTION.

WE HAVE NOTHING BUT OUR HOPE.

YOU KNOW?

HOPE IS A POWERFUL WEAPON, AS NELSON MANDELA SAID.

IF WE STOP HOPING, IF WE STOP -- PUT ASIDE HOPE.

WE NEED TO EXPECT OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS TO DO THEIR JOB.

THAT INCLUDES THE U.S. SENATE.

THAT INCLUDES DOING SOME EVEN WHEN THEY HAVE FAILED IN THE PAST.

WE'RE NOT GOING TO STOP FIGHTING FOR THIS.

I AGREE ENTIRELY WITH MARK.

YOU HAVE TO LOOK INTO THE EYES OF THE FAMILIES THAT HAVE LOST, TO KEEP THE NAMES OF THE VICTIMS ALIVE, AND YOU HAVE TO TURN THAT SADNESS OR RAGE OR BOTH INTO ACTION.

EVERYBODY CAN GET INTO THIS FIGHT.

EVERYBODY CAN LET THE U.S.

SENATE KNOW THAT NOW IS THE TIME THAT WE WILL BREAK THE HABITUAL INACTION IN THAT CHAMBER.

I DO HAVE ONE LAST QUESTION FOR DR. JEFF WITH ABOUT A MINUTE LEFT.

WHEN WE TALK ABOUT VICTIMS OF SHOOTINGS, WE USUALLY TALK ABOUT THOSE WHO ARE DECEASED.

BUT FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE SURVIVORS, DON'T THEY COUNT AS VICTIMS, TOO?

I WOULD IMAGINE THAT THE CHILDREN WHO WERE IN THAT SCHOOL WILL CARRY THIS FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES.

ABSOLUTELY.

THEY WILL NEED VERY SPECIFIC CARE.

MARK KNOWS THIS, TOO.

IT IS ABOUT A LIFETIME OF COUNSELING, BEING ABLE TO ADDRESS THIS, BRINGING FAMILIES TOGETHER IN GRIEVING.

BUT WE DON'T WANT THEM TO JUST BE VICTIMS.

AT SOME POINT, THEY GO FROM VICTIMS TO SURVIVORS.

AS WE SEE WITH MARK AND WHAT HE HAS DONE, THEY GO FROM SURVIVORS TO BEING VICTORS WHERE NOW THEY COMPLETELY CHANGE THEIR LIVES.

WE CALL THIS POST-TRAUMATIC GROWTH, WHERE YOU GO FROM THE PTSD TO NOW, HOW DO I COMPLETELY -- YOU TALKED ABOUT THE DNA HAS CHANGED.

HOW DO I CHANGE THAT DNA?

WE DIDN'T WANT THIS TO HAPPEN TO OUR FAMILIES, THIS TRAGEDY.

HOW DO WE CHANGE OUR LIVES IN A WAY THAT WE NEVER WOULD HAVE THOUGHT ABOUT DOING THIS BEFORE?

THAT IS BY INSPIRING OTHERS AND REALLY DOING SOMETHING ABOUT THIS, MAKING A SIGNIFICANT CHANGE IN THE WORLD.

UNFORTUNATELY, WE HAVE RUN OUT OF TIME.

I WANT TO THANK ALL OF MY GUESTS.

NICK, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT FOR LAW AND POLICY AT EVERY TOWN FOR GUN SAFETY, DR. JEFF, A BOARD CERTIFIED CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST AND PROFESSOR OF BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES AND, OF COURSE, MARK, THE FATHER OF DANIEL BARDEN, A 7-YEAR-OLD MURDERED AT SANDY HOOK AND THE FOUNDER -- AND CEO OF SANDY HOOK ACTION FUND.

THANK YOU FOR JOINING ME FOR THIS SPECIAL EDITION OF 'METROFOCUS.'

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE

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