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Prevention To Response: How Milwaukee Can Deal With The Molson Coors Shooting

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Angelina Mosher Salazar
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Police barracaded the area surrounding Molson Coors in Milwaukee's Miller Valley after a mass shooting on Wednesday February 26, 2020.

Wednesday, a Molson Coors employee opened fired on co-workers at the Milwaukee brewery campus in the "Miller Valley."

READ: 6 Dead In Milwaukee Shooting At Molson Coors

Six people died, including the shooter. It was the deadliest mass shooting in Wisconsin since the Sikh Temple Shooting in Oak Creek in 2012.

The City of Milwaukee’s Office of Violence Prevention (OVP) tries to prevent and prepare for such horrific incidents. The director, Reggie Moore, notes that the OVP has recently been a part of efforts to prepare for potential active shooter events at the upcoming Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee in July.  The office also has an ongoing Blueprint for Peace, a comprehensive violence-prevention plan with six goals and 30 strategies that thousands of Milwaukee residents had a hand in creating.

"It's not just about being preventative — it's also about being responsive, being trauma informed, being healing informed."

As part of the blueprint, Moore speaks with organizations and companies about workplace violence. While this issue has impacted companies throughout our community, he says none have been on the scale of what happened at Molson Coors.

"This is likely the largest mass casualty in a single company incident that we've had in the city of Milwaukee," says Moore. 

Companies and schools in Milwaukee have done active shooter drills according to Moore, and he hopes that all companies are engaging in these kind of activities to prepare.

"In the unfortunate event where something like this happens, we obviously want to do everything to prevent it," he says.

One place to start with prevention is for everybody in the community to take responsibility and look out for each other, according to Moore. If you notice red flags in someone's behavior — speak up. This applies to potential active shooters as well as the domestic violence the city has been grappeling with. 

READ: Domestic Violence Advocates Seek Answers, Express Frustrations Amid Recent Attacks In Milwaukee

Don't be a bystander

"The more that we can not just be bystanders, but upstanders, and to intervene in a safe way, to provide support to ask people questions, and to really, you know, ensure that people get connected to the support that they need, and not turn a blind eye or act like I don't see this person in trouble [the better off we are]," says Moore.

People need to pay attention to others in distress and to any incidents or arguments snowballing. "Those are all things that we have to pay attention to, and try to get ahead of with people that are close to us," notes Moore.

Moore says just one violent incident can affect up to 200 people. It's likely that many people in Milwaukee know someone who worked at or is associated with Molson Coors, especially given the company's history in the community. 

"We have to do everything possible to again to wrap our arms around them, and to support them during this time."

"So we're all impacted and concerned about what happens to the folks who work there, and the family and friends who are connected to those people," says Moore. "And so we have to do everything possible to again to wrap our arms around them, and to support them during this time."

While the Blueprint for Peace is preventative, incidents like the Molson Coors shooting, as well as community-based violence, do happen.

"It's not just about being preventative — it's also about being responsive, being trauma informed, being healing informed," says Moore, "and really being vocal not just about our sorrow, but also about our expectation that this doesn't happen here. This can't happen here in the future. And so we have to do everything possible to prevent the next tragedy from happening."

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Maayan Silver has been a reporter with WUWM’s News Team since 2018. She joined WUWM as a volunteer at Lake Effect in 2016, while she was a practicing criminal defense attorney.