Editorial: Guns and abuse

With all the violence that touched Wilton in 2012, the community has an excellent opportunity to become more informed on two issues at the core: guns and domestic violence. While the two do not often go hand in hand — at least not here — they are not, as we have sadly discovered, mutually exclusive.

Guns are also at the heart of another most troubling issue: violence in our schools.

The Wilton Domestic Violence Task Force, which works hard every year to raise awareness about this issue — an issue that knows no geographic, age or economic boundaries — has arranged for two meetings on Thursday, Jan. 10, at Wilton Library. To accommodate as many people as possible there will be a meeting at 10 a.m. and another at 7 p.m.

Jennifer McNamara, chairperson of the task force, has done a commendable job in lining up speakers for both time slots.

The morning event will include a presentation by forensic psychologist David Bernstein on how to recognize possible threats. He will point out red flags that teachers, administrators and police should take note of as possible precipitators of violence in schools.

While his focus will be on school violence, he will talk about certain behaviors that can also be ascribed to domestic abusers.

Two Wiltonians — Lucy Davies and Harrison DeStefano — have made raising awareness of gun violence a long-term project here and will give a presentation as well next Thursday morning. They have taken to social media — particularly Facebook — to promote their efforts and have acquired an impressive following.

They have been in touch with Connecticut Against Gun Violence, and the group’s executive director, Ron Pinciaro, will speak at the evening meeting. He will review changes to the state’s gun laws that may be introduced in the upcoming legislative session. Mr. Pinciaro, coincidentally, is a former Wilton resident.

There will also be information about the March for Change planned by the group at the Capitol in Hartford on Feb. 14.

Valentine’s Day is the date for another demonstration — this one worldwide — that will be discussed next Thursday. One Billion Rising is a global campaign to raise awareness of violence against women. The Domestic Violence Crisis Center in Norwalk is coordinating local efforts to tie in with the global movement.

The crisis center’s Susan Delaney will discuss the campaign and also talk about domestic violence at the morning meeting. Last year the center helped more than 3,500 people affected by domestic violence.

Each year the Domestic Violence Task Force reminds of us this issue by putting purple ribbons on trees in Wilton Center, one ribbon for each incident reported here. In November, there were 105 ribbons.

If we are willing to look more closely at this issue, perhaps next year there will be fewer.