Featured Story

Libraries have always sought to build stronger, more resilient communities. For Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School librarian Diana Haneski — who was barricaded with dozens of others six years ago during a mass shooting on campus — that’s meant curating her book selections to offer mental health resources and escapism, offering yoga equipment and time with a therapy dog, and ensuring that the space is a sanctuary where students can find joy and feel safe. [USA TODAY]

Mass Shooting

One person was killed and more than 20 others, including children, were wounded in a shooting at a rally in Kansas City celebrating the Chiefs’ Super Bowl victory. Lisa Lopez-Galvan, a beloved disc jockey who worked for a local radio station, was identified by friends and her employer as the deceased person. Police took three suspects into custody. [The Kansas City Star/CNN

Mental Health

Between 2011 and 2021, per the Kaiser Family Foundation, the suicide rate among Black Americans increased by 58 percent. While that figure drew attention, scholars at Rutgers University’s New Jersey Gun Violence Research Center realized that studies examining the rise were missing information in a key area: whether there was a link between climbing suicide rates and climbing levels of firearm violence. With a mission to identify and understand where and how the two interact, the researchers set out to fill the information gap.

Their findings, published last week in The Journal of the American Medical Association, were stark. For Black Americans — who experience interpersonal firearm violence at disproportionate rates, and are most susceptible to factors that contribute to gun violence rates in communities nationwide, like racism, socioeconomics, and gentrification — exposure to various forms of gun violence is significantly associated with the risk of suicidal ideation at some point during their lifetime. The Trace’s Fairriona Magee has more on the study.

Read more from The Trace →

The Trajectory

After 10 people were killed in a mass shooting at a Tops supermarket in Buffalo, New York, in May 2022, use of the state’s extreme risk protection order law surged, going from 286 statewide in 2021 to 4,999 last year. About one-third of last year’s ERPOs originated in one place: Suffolk County.

But Suffolk didn’t outpace other counties just in 2023. In the five years since New York passed its risk order law, commonly referred to as a red flag law, judges there have granted ERPOs against more than 2,600 people — leading every New York county in ERPO use and accounting for 30 percent of the state’s 8,500 orders. Suffolk even outnumbers many states.

Suffolk County spans from the outlying residential suburbs of New York City to the picturesque shorelines of the Hamptons. It’s sprawling, but not the most populous: Its more than 1.5 million residents are spread over 900 square miles. How did it become a leader in granting risk protection orders? In the latest edition of The Trajectory, reporter Chip Brownlee explores Suffolk’s approach.

Read more from The Trace →

What to Know Today

Some firearm safety advocates heralded the manslaughter conviction of Jennifer Crumbley, the mother of a school shooter, as an important step toward curbing the country’s gun violence crisis. But Northern Illinois University law professor Evan Bernick says the legal precedent could facilitate further racial injustice in the criminal legal system. “What I see in the Crumbley case,” Bernick said, “is the structure of something that could very easily be applied in a way that criminalizes Black parents and kids.” [Mother Jones

Two gun reform groups launched a campaign that, using artificial intelligence, recreates the voices of dead shooting victims to advocate for firearm safety laws. “The Shotline” kicked off Wednesday with phone calls to members of Congress. [The Guardian

After the February 11 shooting at Joel Osteen’s megachurch in Houston, far-right lawmakers and commentators quickly seized on the attack to promote incorrect claims that the perpetrator was trans. It isn’t the first time right-wing actors have capitalized on a tragedy to try to advance their political objectives. [Vox

When he began choreographing “Ode,” a dance dedicated to gun violence victims, Jamar Roberts wasn’t making it for the public — it was his way of processing years of headlines about Black men being killed by police. Five years after he began working on the performance, “Ode” is featured in the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s national tour. [NPR]


Public Libraries Can Play a Role in Gun Violence Prevention: Libraries have always gone beyond their basic responsibility of loaning out books and other media. In one Maryland county, they’re furthering public safety both directly and indirectly. (September 2023)