Rich Harwood in the Las Vegas Sun about preventing community tragedies

From Newtown to Las Vegas and beyond: Creating safety nets to prevent tragedies
Rich Harwood
June 24, 2014

Last year, I was brought in to help the people of Newtown, Conn., after 20 first-graders and six adults were gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary. For weeks, I guided the community through painful discussions to determine the fate of the school. At each meeting, I heard parents, business people and others voice their anguish about the tragedy — one of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history.

I was in Las Vegas just days before another attack shook the country: A couple who harbored anti-government beliefs executed two police officers at a pizza restaurant in a Las Vegas strip mall and shot dead another man as he tried to stop the attackers when they entered a nearby Wal-Mart.

Once again, I was gripped by the gut-wrenching emotion from my experience in Newtown. Another needless tragedy.

Since the beginning of this year, there have been 116 shootings in which more than one person was shot. Two days after the incident in Las Vegas, a 14-year-old was gunned down by a fellow student at a high school in Troutdale, Ore., just east of Portland. Also this month, a first-year student at Seattle Pacific University was shot dead by a 26-year-old man who stormed the campus, later telling the police he had a “hatred for the world in general.”

What can we do in response to such killings? How can we put an end to them?

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