Lafayette, LA - Following the August 31st shooting involving a 15 and 17 year old in Lafayette, residents are tired of the violence.
"The blood of our children are flowing in the streets and that’s chaos for any society," said Cory Levier, a local motivational speaker and firearms instructor.
Founder of Guns Down, Power Up, Eric Williams said "where’s the respect for life? Where is the respect for yourself? Where is the respect for your neighborhood? Where is the respect for your community?" when asked about the recent violence.
According to the CDC gun-related injury is the leading cause of death among children across the country. Every day 22 children and teens are shot in the U.S. with 3 of those a victim of murder.
Levier believes the problem lies within education. "We haven’t educated our kids on when, where and why to use violence, escalation of force, conflict resolution," he said. "These things are not being taught on a daily, weekly basis to our children and this is the result of it."
The death of the 15-year-old boy in Lafayette marked the eleventh murder of someone younger than 18 years old this year in Acadiana. Three of those were in Lafayette.
Williams believes the lack of true role models can often lead children down the wrong path. "So the absence of an authority figure in the home is very lacking in some of these communities," he said. "There’s no male figure there to lay that discipline down, so what happens? These children turn to the streets."
With gun-related injuries among children and teens sharply rising since 2019, Lafayette residents are hoping the trend can reverse course, which starts by finding the solution.
"Transforming the mindset, teaching respect. Teaching respect for life," said Williams. "Respect and love, we need those two ingredients working together so that we can have a better tomorrow."
"Love and education can turn our society around and stop all of these things from happening," said Levier.