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President's Page by Brett Landis

Most years, in the spring, I feel hopeful and inspired by longer days, better weather, and a sense of possibilities. This year, it has been difficult to find my optimism.

On May 14, 2022, a horrific, racist attack took place in Buffalo, NY, killing ten people. Ten days later, on May 24, 2022, twenty-two people were killed when a shooter shot up a school. NPR reported that another eight mass shootings took place over Memorial Day weekend. How did we as a culture learn to accept something so unacceptable?

I was in high school in Ft. Morgan, Colorado when Columbine High School was the location of a mass shooting. It’s often credited with being one of the first mass school shootings. I did not grow up with active shooter drills in my school, but I saw and felt how scared most of my classmates and I were after that happened. Now, active shooter drills are part of “normal” emergency preparedness, just like fire drills and tornado drills.

On March 22, 2021, Boulder experienced a mass shooting in King Soopers. It was horrific to see this touch our community, and I have had friends, colleagues, and clients affected by the shooting. I am certain several survivors have been feeling a resurgence of the feelings they had during their shooting. It’s hard not to feel like something is broken in our society.

It is hard not to feel like people are getting crueler. It hard not to feel like we are getting worse. But we have to remember that these actions are common. They are not normal, and we cannot accept them as normal.

For my last President’s Page, I had planned on writing a summary of the work we have done as a bar association and to cheer enthusiastically for our new President Elect and her upcoming term. I am heartbroken and angry that instead, I had to write about 22 dead people, including nineteen children.

I do not pretend to have the magic legislation to “solve gun violence”. Like most complicated issues, it will likely take a nuanced and multi-faceted approach to make things better. However, I know, in my heart, that we have to offer more than thoughts and prayers.

As lawyers, we hold a special responsibility to society. We are leaders, and people look to us to provide thoughtful reflection and nuanced advice. We owe it to our community to do better for the future.

Another helpful voice in our community is #Boulder Strong Resource Center. They have a number of valuable resources, especially for people recovering from the trauma of a mass shooting. Please visit their website at https://weareboulderstrong.com/ or call the crisis line at 1-844-493-TALK (8255) or text TALK to 38255.


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