Finding ‘Common Ground’ amid growing gun violence

Common Ground

Elizabeth Sivitz

On Wednesday, April 17, the School of Social Policy & Practice will host “Finding Common Ground: Moving Forward” from 3 to 5 p.m. in Irvine Auditorium.

Last week, the United States marked the 100-day remembrance of the Dec. 14, 2012, mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., a tragedy that took the lives of 26 people, including 20 first-grade children. 

“The entire country pledged we would do something about it and that this time would be different,” President Barack Obama said during recent remarks at the White House. “Shame on us if we’ve forgotten. I haven’t forgotten those kids. Shame on us if we’ve forgotten.”   

While horrifically heartbreaking, the Sandy Hook massacre was just one of the nearly 20 mass shootings in America in recent years, including a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis., an Army base in Fort Hood, Texas, and a supermarket parking lot in Tucson, Ariz., where former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was critically wounded.

“It’s time for a rational, national gun policy,” says Susan B. Sorenson, a professor in the School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2). On Wednesday, April 17, SP2 will host the gun violence-prevention event, “Finding Common Ground: Moving Forward,” from 3 to 5 p.m. in Irvine Auditorium, 3401 Spruce St.

“This event will go from the personal to population policy,” says Sorenson. “We hope to highlight not just the problem [of gun violence], but the surprising amount of agreement in the U.S. about what to do.”

Organizers, including a dozen undergraduate students, will screen “Living for 32,” a 40-minute documentary featuring Colin Goddard, a student who was shot during the Virginia Tech mass shooting on April 16, 2007, in which 32 people were killed. Ali Velshi, an anchor and correspondent at CNN, will serve as moderator of the Q&A portion of the program, and Matthew Miller, deputy director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, will summarize research about guns and fatal violence.

Retired astronaut Mark Kelly, the husband of Gabrielle Giffords, will address how leadership can move the nation forward after gun violence tragedies. Kelly and Giffords co-founded Americans for Responsible Solutions, which encourages elected officials to craft and support policies that will prevent gun violence, as well as uphold responsible gun ownership. 

“Finding Common Ground” is free and open to the public. Registration is required at the SP2 website.

Originally published on April 4, 2013