African American Coalition organizes event to address gun violence in Hopkins Co.

African American Coalition organizes event to discuss gun violence in Hopkins Co.
Published: Feb. 23, 2023 at 6:24 AM CST|Updated: Feb. 23, 2023 at 6:46 PM CST
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MADISONVILLE, Ky. (WFIE) - The African American Coalition of Hopkins County hosted a “gun violence” public forum at the Rosenwald-Smith Multicultural Center on Thursday night.

Organizers held the event just an hour after a candlelight vigil for 27-year-old Terrence Minor Jr., who was shot and killed on Sunday.

AAC President Bill McReynolds started the meeting by telling people that they knew they couldn’t put a full stop to gun violence, but they have to try to help the issue.

“If it inspires or affects just one person, it’s not in vain,” he said.

Several people spoke about how they feel young people aren’t raised properly.

“I feel like there’s a lack of training, and when I say that I mean across the board,” said one man, who argued that church and family-based teaching should be emphasized.

“The problem is with the mind,” said another man. “The mindset of, ‘He disrespected me, so I’m going to shoot him.’”

Most everyone agreed that interpersonal conflict was the root of many of the shootings the county has seen.

One woman pushed back on the idea that young people have become desensitized to violence or that they aren’t taught well enough to know right from wrong.

“Home training, yes, but all the training in the world isn’t going to keep you out of these situations,” she said.

Instead, she said there need to be more community social programs for the youth of Hopkins County to give kids the opportunity to have supervised, safe environments to learn how to handle interpersonal conflicts.

By the end of the meeting, many of the attendees seemed to agree that putting up posters and working with young people would be a good start. Emphasizing community programs was also a popular solution.