UVA faculty speak on gun violence after recent shooting

Published: Nov. 15, 2022 at 5:07 PM EST
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - UVA students, faculty, and staff are grappling with the gutting reality on Grounds after the deadly Culbreth Rd. shooting.

Faculty members are weighing in on how they believe Charlottesville got to this point, and what can be done to prevent similar situations from happening in the future.

Doctor Kathryn Laughon is an Associate Professor of Nursing at UVA.

“It’s tragic. I feel incredibly sad,” Laughon said. “We know that states in the United States with more stringent, common sense gun laws have lower rates of gun violence.”

She calls gun violence a public health emergency.

“You think about the people who are killed and their family members, but it’s the whole community around them that feel the ripple effects of trauma. The people in lockdown, or, you know, bystanders who witnessed it,” Laughon said. “It’s a solvable policy problem.”

In the wake of this tragedy, two students told NBC29 they’re finding it difficult to eat and muster the energy to leave their dorms.

Melissa Gomes is a UVA psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner.

“From a psychiatric perspective, I think that we need to get at the root of conflict. I think that there must have been some kind of conflict that would lead to a solution like this, a negative solution,” Gomes said.

The CDC reports the highest homicide rates are among non-Hispanic Black people, and the question remains as to why.

“We’re all human beings, and I think that Black men are no more violent than any other demographic. Sometimes Black men are told to be strong and suck it up, but not to show their feelings, and that’s troublesome.”

Gomes says it’s important to look at structural determinants and access to things like therapy and education. She says a lack of this can lead to burying emotions and later, lashing out.

“We need to be willing to talk openly and honestly about feelings, because our feelings impact our behavior,” Gomes said.

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