After the Virginia Tech shooting occurred in 2007, I vividly recall assessing each of my college classrooms with new eyes, highlighting points of escape, nooks for hiding and objects that could be hurled in a worst-case scenario. It’s a habit I still partake in today as mass shootings continue to occur in a variety of settings. Anytime there is a crowd, I can’t help but think: What if the wrong person is nearby? It only takes one act to shatter lives.
While no community wants to be tied to such tragedies, most know there are no guarantees in life. So, cities of all sizes are investing in protection not only for their first responders but also for their citizens — should the worst happen. Denise Fedorow writes extensively about this topic in this month’s issue, speaking with representatives with the city of Dayton, Ohio, which was the site of a mass shooting in August 2019, just a day after a shooting in El Paso, Texas. She relays how the city has recovered since the event and how it and other incidents it experienced have shaped its response.
She also will be sharing efforts made by a smaller police department to be prepared in a worst-case scenario in addition to how technology is moving forward to address the epidemic of gun violence.
These efforts will go a long way to ensuring safer communities, but gun violence will remain a topic we as a country will have to grapple with. It’s a shame discussion has become so polarized, with many people being so throughly entrenched a productive conversation cannot occur.
This December issue, which reflects on 2019 and looks toward 2020, will also cover other trends cities across the country are experiencing.
Julie Young is sharing how cities and states are trying to attract young professionals into their communities, examining what has worked and programs that are being reexamined. Related to this, Kathleen Moran writes on Portsmouth, Va.’s, fiber network, which is intended to attract businesses and additional economic development to the city. It is just one of many cities investing in a fiber network.
Climate also remains a much discussed topic, with cities embracing a variety of sustainability goals. Lauren Caggiano checks in with Grand Rapids, Mich., to see how its efforts to meet its goals are going.
Finally, drivers are more distracted than every before, and it is proving disastrous for first responders, construction workers and others’ whose professions require they work alongside roadways. Barb Sieminski is profiling Ohio’s and ResponderSafety.com’s efforts to raise awareness for this matter.
It’ll be interesting to see what 2020 brings — besides an engulfing storm of political ads, which we all know are coming. It’s not bound to be a quiet year simply for that reason.
But before that happens, enjoy the holidays. Try to get some rest and start the new year fresh.
Happy holidays and a happy New Year’s, from everyone at The Municipal!