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Posted: 8/17/2002 12:27:32 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/17/2002 1:06:08 PM EDT by Happyshooter]
Printed in the Saginaw, MI city paper, the Saginaw News... Gun violence topic of Ezekiel rally today Saturday, August 17, 2002 MIKE THOMPSON THE SAGINAW NEWS A rally against gun violence, organized through the Ezekiel Project of Saginaw, is set for 12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m. today at Coleman Temple Church of God in Christ, 2716 Wadsworth. "A call to action will be raised in response to the recent rash of shootings and homicides in Saginaw," said Terry Erwin, coordinator of the Ezekiel Project, a faith-based community organizing enterprise of 16 congregations. One participant is Sister Dinah White, vice president of mission services for Saint Mary's hospital, who said the medical center is making a commitment to enlist with Ezekiel. "What I hope to be able to do through Saint Mary's is to work with the ministers who are interested in this issue to do grief counseling for families of survivors," White said. "It is a terrible ordeal to lose a loved one through a natural death, and to lose a loved one through a violent death is a huge burden." Saint Mary's now has chaplains on site. White said the involvement of ministers would represent an extended commitment. "I'm thinking more of the long term, not just at the time of the event," she said. "People struggle with this for years. They're angry and hurt. It's very understandable." Law enforcement authorities appreciate community support, although this summer is no worse than those of the recent past, said Deputy Police Chief Thomas J. McGarrity. [b]"Always with the change in weather, we see more interaction and we see more violence,"[/b] McGarrity said. "There has been a recent spate of incidents, but for a time there was almost nothing. It's always been cyclical in nature. [b][red]"As for guns, actually a knife was used lately in several cases. If a person wants to do another person harm, they will use whatever instrument to inflict injury against another." [/red][/b] McGarrity said he didn't have specific incident statistics for the summer, but he expects September's Michigan Crime Report to show "minor increases" in felonious assault, street crime and drug dealing. City Council members have cut 30 police positions during the past two years because of budget shortfalls, and Chief Donald F. Pussehl Jr. has said he isn't filling vacancies. "Just the presence of police is preventive," McGarrity said, "but with the reduced presence we are in more of a reactive mode." Ezekiel's mission is to inspire and assist various community partners to identify their roles and initiate their calls to action, Erwin said. "There are people in the community who have ways that they can make a difference," she said. For information on the Ezekiel Project and today's rally, call 755-1602. t
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