Advocates against gun violence say they are losing hope for peace in Baton Rouge
BATON ROUGE - In a small meeting room at the Scotlandville Library, four people who have experienced the pain of losing a loved one to gun violence talked about how it has affected the city.
No politicians were at the meeting. The people in attendance were brutally honest about the problem. One of them is Cathy Toliver, who lost her three-year-old grandson to a stray bullet last year. She tells WBRZ she is losing hope that things will change.
"Baton Rouge, the way y'all are acting, you are making it appear that we can't move forward when I know we can," Toliver said.
Just last week, two separate shootings in Baton Rouge left three dead. That is why pastor Randy Williams says he would not recommend anyone come live in Baton Rouge.
"Every time we turn on the television, somebody is being killed," Williams said.
All four of them sat in a semi-circle, acknowledging that the solution to this complex issue is unclear. But one thing is crystal clear. It has to stop.
Jamicia Pink Fisher says she knows someone who has lost eight people to gun violence. She says the first step to the solution might be more grass-roots efforts to show young kids a better life.
"They want to be wealthy. They want the things they see on social media. I think the issue is the means in which we present it to them," Pink Fisher said.
Pastor Sandra Pate says a lot of the young people in Baton Rouge are dealing with trauma. That can lead to those same kids committing more crimes.
"Young people don't wake up and say 'I want to kill someone.' No. They wake up and say 'I want to stop the pain,'" Pate said.
"They haven't adjusted or dealt with the pain they are feeling, so now I'm going to point the trigger at you, because you hurt me," Toliver said.
Despite a situation that seems bleak, the group says they aren't giving up.
"I believe there is hope. Wherever there is people, there is hope," Fisher said.
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