Community members urging change at violence forum

Upping patrols, gun reform and an added interest in the town’s youth and college-aged kids are just some of the ideas brought to the table during Carbondale’s community forum Thursday night.

After the recent spike in gun violence, the community is coming together in hopes of breaking that trend.

More than 150 people packed inside Carbondale City Hall Thursday to share ideas on how to make the community safer. People pitched better lighting, party policing and better involvement with middle school and high school age kids.

Mayor Mike Henry says this isn’t just for show. He says the city plans to implement some of the ideas.

"Work on some ordinances, I think we’ll ask our human relations commission to study some of these things a little further," said Henry.

Community member Donna Wilson says this this goes far beyond simple fixes or simple answers to these problems. She says the community needs to come together and address the issues head on before anything can change.

"We have to learn how to come to the table and talk about the real issues, which most of the time goes far beyond an isolated incident," Wilson said.

Kittie McMillan, the mother of Tim Beaty — who was shot and killed Easter Sunday — says gun access needs to be addressed.

"You don’t have the right to pull out a gun and shoot me because you disagree with what I have to say, and that’s where this has to start," McMillan said.

She says her son was a victim of the recent violence, but she says she knows he died protecting others. She says she hopes ideas from the forum help inspire change so that nothing like this happens to anyone else.

Nearly 40 community-based ideas were thrown out to city leaders. People at the forum could vote on their five favorites. The city will take those ideas and try and implement them throughout the community.

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