For Immediate Release:
Contact: Dave Catalfamo | firstname.lastname@example.org | 518-729-0469
Catalfamo Proposes 5 Point Plan to Address Gun Violence, Identify Alienated & Disaffected Youth & Create Safer Schools
May 31, 2022 - Wilton, New York - In the wake of mass shootings in Buffalo and Texas, David Catalfamo, candidate for 113th Assembly district today released a plan to address issues around gun violence and school safety.
“The events of the past two weeks are sickening, shocking and yet sadly predictable. The notion that my opponent hasn’t even uttered a word about these incidents, let alone offer a solution is a sad, sad testament to the state of our state,” said Catalfamo.
He added, “Politicians in Albany should be able to address more than one challenge at a time. We can improve school safety, limit access to military-grade assault weapons, and increase access to mental health services together. Nobody ever solved a problem by ignoring it. We deserve better.”
The perpetrators of these mass shootings are knowable, sadly they possess very similar characteristics. They are 15-18 year old boys, usually from fatherless homes, often abused themselves or bullied at school. They are withdrawn, typically truant, and have indulged in self-harm or harm to animals. They often play first person shooter games, and in too many cases make threats online portending their attacks egged on by a social media industry whose money making algorithms keep serving up to them hate and alienation.
In laying out his five point plan Catalfamo said, “These boys are screaming out for help, we vow to never say the name of the mass shooters, but what of the countless, victims who are lost to a world of hate, isolation and despair. These boys are too often ignored, becoming criminals, abusers, homeless and mentally ill, and we need a comprehensive plan to intervene for all of our sake.”
Trained School Resource Officer in Every School - New York State, must provide 80 percent of the funding to establish trained school resource officers in every school that requests one.
School resource officers are a deterrent and on the worst day, they act as the first-last line of defense. But a properly trained and integrated resource officer can be much more. They should be known and trusted by the teachers and the students in the school and help to identify those students who are at risk and pose a risk long before a incident takes place.
Raise the Age on the Purchase of the AR-15 to 21 Years of Age - Likely influenced by first person shooter games, experience tells us that these style of weapons are preferred by young attackers. Moving the age to purchase an assault style weapon to 21 does nothing to interfere with the hunting and sportsman cultures that are a part of rural life.
Allow Judges to Apply the "Dangerousness" Standard to Crimes Involving a Firearm - New York’s bail laws are a disgrace, one immediate reform should be to allow judges to apply a “dangerousness” standard in criminal charges involving a firearm.
“Whether it is an alienated youth or a repeat offender, our courts and District Attorneys need to have all the tools at their disposal to hold and deter individuals who commit crimes with firearms and a dangerousness standard, would allow judges to consider the risk to society when setting bail,” said Catalfamo.
Fund Social Media Crisis Prevention Officers - The creation of social media crisis prevention officers trained and focused on identifying and monitoring at risk students online and offline by local law enforcement agencies. These officers would be funded by the state with local police organizations and have the expertise to identify at risk boys.
“We can identify these boys. They exhibit very similar patterns of behavior, and the risk has only been exacerbated by COVID social isolation. We must identify them and intervene - not only to prevent catastrophe but to prevent other dangerous outcomes,” said Catalfamo.
Require High School Students, Teachers and Administrators to Receive Mental Health First Aid Training - Teaching CPR, the dangers of drugs and alcohol and human trafficking are all currently part of the required curriculum in New York State. Raising awareness and changing the dialogue around mental health is an important part of finding ways to intervene with troubled youth before a crisis erupts.
Mental Health First Aid is a skills-based training course that teaches participants about mental health and substance-use issues. We need students to feel empowered to say something if they see something, requiring high schools to offer instruction in Mental Health First Aid is a step a toward achieving that goal.
Concluded Catalfamo, “No problem is too big to solve if we can only put differences aside and focus on working together. It’s far past time to offer real solutions to help protect students, teachers, and make our schools a safe haven for learning.”
DaveforNY | P.O. Box 69 | South Salem, New York 10590