Mayor William Peduto traveled to Washington, D.C., for the 88th Winter Meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and joined nine other mayors on Jan. 24 for a panel called “Lessons Learned: Preventing, Preparing for, and Responding to Mass Shootings.”
During the one-hour session, Peduto talked about the aftermath of the Oct. 27, 2018, shooting at the Tree of Life building, and offered listeners a four-part plan should future mass shootings occur.
“You are in charge. No matter what the rank of the people around you, no matter who they represent … you are in charge,” said Peduto. Secondly, “you are the communicator. You can either profess hate against hate and get nowhere and divide your community, or you can try to find light and start to talk about peace and love and the ways we work together in your own community and start to heal that wound.” Third, “empower individuals and organizations.” For example, if children want to have a candlelight vigil, but the police chief doesn’t believe it’s safe, “work to make it safe, don’t say no. Allow the community to have its feelings.” Finally, “prioritize. As soon as the incident happens, determine what is most important to you. So with our situation, because it was a hate crime, it immediately was the victims, it was those who were wounded, it was the Jewish community and then it was the community at large. In knowing that order, decisions being made went through that funnel, and it makes it a lot easier when there’s different points of views of knowing what your priorities are.”
Even with a plan in place, unforeseen issues will arise, continued Peduto: “Things will come at you from every single direction every single hour.” Delegating to those capable is critical, he added: “Have good people around you.”
Joining Peduto on the panel were Mayors Nan Whaley of Dayton, Ohio; Gavin Buckley of Annapolis, Maryland; Buddy Dyer of Orlando, Florida; Andy Berke of Chattanooga, Tennessee; Steven Fulop of Jersey City, New Jersey; Christine Hunschofsky of Parkland, Florida; Sam Liccardo of San Jose, California; and Dee Margo of El Paso, Texas. Mayor Lori Lightfoot of Chicago moderated. PJC
Adam Reinherz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.