Harvard author details end to gun violence in book

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Darlene Wilson-Sistrunk met us on her lunch break Wednesday.

The topic was sharing the painful details of how her son Justin was killed ten years ago.

Wilson-Sistrunk said, "He was in an incident, a prior disagreement with a teenager. They had a fistfight. He was angry and retaliated by sneaking up to him and shooting him in the back of the head."

His loss is always felt.

"My family has fought to rebuild," she said.

The message she spreads now, "It really gets back to the love and concern for each other."

The meeting with Wilson-Sistrunk was sparked by a discussion on the issue of gun violence in Philadelphia at the Union League.

Thomas Abt, the author of the book, "Bleeding Out", spoke and says he's detailed a plan to begin fixing it.

"There are strategies that are proven to work, available now," he said.

One part of it involves cognitive behavior therapy for those with a criminal history.

"You need to stabilize people and work with them into treatment," Abt said.

Another is through investing economically in impoverished areas.

He said, "Once they're ready we have to offer employment."

That aspect seemed to resonate with the crowd.

"We cannot ignore that poverty is one component that if we focused on it, it would attack the others," said Chantay Love, with the EMIR Healing Center.

"That gives people hope, gives people confidence, an income, a future," said Marc Brownstein of Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce.

But Wilson-Sistrunk says having lived through the loss of her son, we need to reach people before they even think about turning to a gun.

"We were a village. There was nothing wrong with my neighbor correcting me. The accountability was wider and now it's gotten shorter," she said.
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