I Slept On It and Now I'm Awake

March 28, 2023

Yesterday was an extremely dark and difficult day for our city. Someone woke up with the intent of killing children. Unfortunately, they succeeded. Our first responders acted quickly and decisively and prevented further loss of life. And I'm grateful.

I spent a lot of my day helping families try to figure out if their children were safe.

I went to bed sad and angry. And then I woke up.

Now what?

We all—together—act as second responders. This means two things: we support the families and community that are grieving and we work to prevent this from happening again.

The first part is easy because it's an act of love. It's small things like the 12South neighborhood working to support the community of the Covenant School or a dog bandana company in Hermitage giving the proceeds of a "Nashville Strong" bandana to victims.

It's also making sure we have the resources to support one another. The Dept of Justice's Office for Victims of Crime has put together an online collection of resources specific to Nashville. In Tennessee, you can dial 211 for assistance.

Now, I would argue that the second part is also an act of love, but it's more difficult because it's also an act of politics.

I think it's important to reduce gun violence.

Specifically, I think it's important to think about how to reduce the number of school shootings.

But I also think we should consider how to reduce gun violence broadly.

Besides broader policies to reduce gun violence, we can use targeted approaches to bring down rates of violent crime in our communities.

We've already done some good background work focused on reducing youth violence in particular that can be correlated with the approaches Thomas Abt recommends.

Ultimately, as a country, we probably need to be prepared to go further than we've historically been willing to.

I know some of my friends on the right or in libertarian spaces are going to disagree with me. The good news is, we can still make progress together even if we disagree on all of the proposals I would personally be comfortable supporting.

I literally woke up yesterday imagining a Nashville that was actually increasing our life expectancy while America's is decreasing, a tragic trend. And in a day, we made it worse.

I'm interested in saving lives. And doing nothing is not accomplishing that. Doing more to prevent gun violence would.

What You Can Do

I know some of you will disagree with a lot of my recommendations, and I'm interested in hearing from you about what you'd recommend instead.

In fellowship ...


Freddie O'Connell

Metro Council, District 19

Mayoral Candidate, 2023


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