In the wake of several high-profile police shootings, and as the momentum of the youth-led gun control movement continues to carry forward, the American public is taking a renewed interest in solutions to the wicked problems of public safety, gun violence, and police accountability.
It’s become increasingly clear that we must work to address these problems in a way that acknowledges links between violence, racism, and public safety. As my colleague and Institute for Policy Studies Associate Fellow Ebony Slaughter-Johnson noted earlier this spring, American police killed more people last year than mass shooters.
Where can we find holistic solutions?
In the run-up to the March for Our Lives this March, the students of Stoneman Douglas High School proposed a gun control policy manifesto published in The Guardian. While it’s impressive in its scope, especially as the product of a group of young people, critics have made clear that some of the students’ suggested solutions would violate the privacy of the mentally ill and result in more aggressive policing.
More aggressive policing tactics can’t be the answer, of course: We know that they disproportionately harm communities of color and ultimately lead to more violence.