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Milwaukee Kids Voice Fears About Gun Violence

Marti Mikkelson

Dozens of school children from across Milwaukee talked about gun violence Wednesday, and ways to reduce it.

UW-Milwaukee hosted a day-long workshop geared toward prevention. A few kids shared their thoughts. Kuishawn Hall says he falls asleep nearly every night to the sound of gunfire – and worries about it.

“I’m young and I have a future to think about so I think about gun violence.” It’s even taken away some of his freedom, as a boy. “My mom won’t let me go to the park because of gun violence in my community,” Hall says.

It seems most of the kids had stories. Darvell Goodman is 13 years old and attends West Side Academy. He says a gunshot killed his cousin - and scarred the family.

“A lot of people were crying but instead of me crying I tried to turn a bad thing into a success, so I try to talk to people about violence,” Goodman says.

Goodman says he tries to talk to people about violence, because he thinks that might stop it. Another student who lost a relative in a shooting is Deaira Wiley. She’s a senior at Messmer High School.

Wiley says someone shot and killed her cousin five years ago, during a robbery. “It’s ridiculous. You never know the next gunshot, you know, it’s too much,” Wiley says.  Wiley says one way to reduce violence is to stop making guns. “Just make them for the police; stop making bullets,” Wiley says.

One way to reduce the number of guns – at least in the wrong hands, are gun control laws, according to Dr. Steven Hargarten. He’s director of emergency medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin and spoke at Wednesday’s conference.

“We reduce the environmental risks that youth perceive as dangerous which compels them to consider carrying a gun,” Hargarten says.

Hargarten commends community activists for advocating tirelessly for gun restrictions. Those now in place include a 48-hour waiting period for the purchase of handguns and a requirement that gun dealers keep records of sales.

Marti was a reporter with WUWM from 1999 to 2021.
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