JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – An advocacy group aims to be a solution in the City of Jackson when it comes to stopping crime.
Moms Demand Action is a volunteer organization that works to advocate for “common-sense gun legislation” across the country.
In Mississippi, Courtney Weiland leads the way. She said that the city’s answer is not incorrect, but it is incomplete and that investing in the Jackson Police Department is not the only answer. Weiland said one of the best places to start is schools.
“Getting social services into schools would be a better approach. We need more mental health professionals within school walls. A busy kid is someone who is not gonna have the same opportunity to get into the same kind of troubled areas,” she said.
The two solutions are proactive, as opposed to being reactive. Solutions that may have prevented shootings like the one that ended 25-year-old Kimondra Mason-Shelby’s life in 2017.
“It was the most horrific notice call that I’ve ever received in my life,” said Shelby’s mother, Tonjula Shelby. She turned to Moms Demand Action for comfort and to join the fight.
Shelby agreed that the first step starts in schools. She added that the last step is proper accountability. She said Kimondra’s killer walks the streets freely after spending only about six months in jail.
“It was a $1 million bond. Then it was decreased to $50,000, so he paid a mere $5,000 for what he did to my son.”
Shelby wants to make something abundantly clear: Moms Demand Action does not want to take anyone’s guns away.
“We’re just asking for the different legislators, people who are in positions to enforce stricter gun laws to do that,” she stated.
Shelby added that investing in community centers and part-time jobs for teenagers will keep them busy and out of trouble.
Weiland said, “If it affects one person in the community, it’s going to possibly spread. So you need to find out where it is, isolate it, and then provide education on it so you can change the culture.”
Weiland said other cities that have used this model have had a major success rate in reducing crime and that Jackson is perfectly capable of doing it, too.