‘They’re fed up with all the gun violence’: Alder brings north Madison residents, agencies together to explore solutions

MADISON Wis.- People are frustrated about gun violence in Madison — wanting solutions and soon. But finding those solutions takes teamwork and talking, and that’s where community leaders started Thursday night. 

“I hope our whole city wakes up and helps help us solve this problem,” said Bonnie Roe. “I don’t find it acceptable what’s becoming worse in Madison as we grow bigger.” 

Roe is a mother living on the west side — but when it comes to gun violence, she’s concerned about her kids being safe anywhere in Madison. “I would love to hear that the mayor is taking gun violence more seriously and working on steps along with the police department to help us have a safer city,” she said.  

And that’s exactly what Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway did at the neighborhood safety panel in the Warner Park Community and Recreation Center. “You being here means that you want to be part of the solution.” 

Ald. Myadze brought together Mayor Rhodes-Conway, Police Chief Shon Barnes, numerous organizations, and concerned residents. “My constituents are fed up, they’re fed up with all the gun violence on the north side and they’re scared so I organized this meeting because I really want people to have their voices heard.”  

For him, the tipping point came after the shooting death of an 18-year-old on the north side last month. 

RELATED: Madison police ‘sad and frustrated’ as gun violence leads to another young person’s death

“I know there’s no easy solution but we have to do something, we can’t continue to do nothing,” said Myadze.  

But the fact that the solution isn’t easy is what Public Health Madison Dane County wants neighbors to know. “It’s not necessarily a gripe session, right?” said Violence Prevention Unit Response and Engagement Coordinator, Randy Molina. 

“There’s ways that we can get to the root causes of violence that don’t involve law enforcement where we’re addressing homelessness, we’re trying to address food insecurity,” Molina said.  

For Moms Demanding Action, responsible gun handling was one of the root causes – they distributed gun locks for free. “The key is separate so the adult, the responsible adult, would hide the keys, have them somewhere different, and the gun would not be able to be discharged by anybody,” volunteer Melissa Carr said.  

For Molina, “violence in itself is a sickness,” — and free gun locks, Narcan training, and more resources are remedies for prevention.  

“I think Madison in general if we’re looking at the data isn’t necessarily going in a worse direction but we’re in a place right now where we can actually make lasting impacts at a grassroots and neighborhood level before it becomes this bigger issue,” Molina said.