In light of the recent mass shootings across the nation, Gov. Scott Walker is promoting a “See Something, Say Something” campaign to remind Wisconsinites of personal security during the holiday season.
The campaign encourages Wisconsin residents to report to local authorities anytime they see suspicious activities, according to a statement that Walker sent out Wednesday.
“Please don’t hesitate to speak up,” Walker said in the statement. “Citizen tips help our law enforcement officers do their job to keep Wisconsin and our communities safe.”
The site suggests multiple types of suspicious activities, from eliciting private personal information to attempting to enter restricted areas. It also provides methods of reporting and explains the roles of two fusion centers in charge, the Southeastern Wisconsin Threat Analysis Center in Milwaukee and the Wisconsin Statewide Information Center in Madison.
But pro-gun control groups believe the campaign is not effective enough to address the seriousness of gun violence sweeping the nation. Jeri Bonavia, executive director of Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort, acknowledged the value of “see something, say something,” but she said efforts cannot stop there.
“It’s not enough to see something and say something,” Bonavia said. “We as a society need to be doing something.”
The key to stopping violence, she said, is to keep guns out of the wrong hands. There are people who run high risks of committing bad deeds with firearms, such as people with histories of violent crime, she said. Bonavia said it is necessary to perform more thorough background checks before every firearm purchase.
State legislators also called for more active responses to mass shootings. Rep. Melissa Sargent, D-Madison, described gun violence as an epidemic-like public health crisis.
“If it’s many people dying from a virus or bacterial infection, people will be asking for solutions for them and their children,” Sargent said. “I very much believe that what is happening with gun violence is the same [as a] public health epidemic. We need to be addressing [gun violence] with that same level of courage, tenacity and expediency.”
To control gun violence, Sargent said it’s important that people are brave enough to stand up against the National Rifle Association and party leaders and hold elected government officials accountable.
Both Sargent and Bonavia suggested using scientific research and technology development as pragmatic solutions to gun violence. Sargent said the government needs to find new technologies that could make firearms more secure.
“Luckily, research is very strong in this area and we know the types of things that we could be doing, not just to prevent mass shootings, but to prevent the day-to-day, one-person-at-a-time shootings that really set us apart from any other country in the world,” Bonavia said.