Law enforcement leaders, including Tulsa County District Attorney Tim Harris, TPD Deputy Chief Dennis Larsen and Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Faber, along with leaders and volunteers from several area churches met to discuss gun violence in an event organized by Tulsa Metropolitan Ministry Thursday.
The discussion touched on any number of approaches to understanding and combating violence, with remarks from some of those listed above, as well as a TPD sergeant, a former Chicago native who was shot and watched as his partner was murdered by a mentally ill man with a gun, and a former teacher who argued for more resources for education and conflict resolution.
The consensus opinion, that gun violence is a very real problem in our society, was arrived at easily.
How best to respond to the crisis, however, touched off a wide-ranging conversation with many opinions and possible solutions offered.
One woman said Tulsa needs to ban gun shows, noting that the city has the reputation of being, in her opinion, the "gun show capital" of the country.
Others talked about teaching strategies for conflict resolution, and for reducing the violent images available to children on television, in films, and in video games.
Many worried about short-term, temporary solutions that they felt would do very little to address the actual issues involved.
After the meeting, D.A. Tim Harris said only a cultural shift in our society will really do much to curb gun violence.
"Limiting magazine clips... is that going to make sure that there's not another mass homicide somewhere in the United States of America? I highly doubt that that's the answer," he said.
"But I do believe that the community coming together and beginning to dialogue about this is the first step in reaching solutions."