Church summit aims to steer kids away from guns and violence

(WKRN Photo)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Kids and guns and violence are a dangerous mix that a North Nashville church aims to help stop.

With youngsters, parents and law enforcement in attendance, Schrader Lane Church of Christ held its second summit today looking for answers to the violence.

As police and sheriff’s deputies in the church parking lot were showing parents and children crime fighting tools such as a helicopter and anti-bomb mobile device, other youngsters were in a church classroom learning about personal tools to curb the seeds of violence.

(WKRN Photo)

“No bullying” and “no stealing from others” were among the messages written on a white board after the elementary school-age kids were asked for their input.

In the church’s classrooms and in the sanctuary, the message on Saturday was the same as the title of the summit: “Youth and gun violence: Now is the time to take action.”

Sometimes the action can start with words said by a member of the Davidson’s County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO).

“Lets have some different kind of locker room talk,” Darlene McClung of the DCSO told those gathered in the church sanctuary. “Lets talk about how to elevate and motivate our young men and women. That is the locker room talk I want to hear.”

The older kids here heard from a one-time teenage drug dealing gang member who lost his sight in a shooting and his sister to violence as a juvenile. But he reformed into a model student in high school and eventually became a University of Tennessee graduate.

Thinking of family helped him stop his teenage ways.

He is now a member of the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office.

“I want to do it for my mother. my father, my grandmother, my best friend and now my sister,” said Larmonz McDaniel. “I am going to do it for them because I could not do it for myself.”

The messages came across loud and clear for a nine-year-old boy, brought to the church summit by his father.

“Never go into violence even when you feel like you want to,” said Josiah Winston. “You need to stay calm when people try and stress you out.”

His words offer hope for a Nashville where too many youngsters have recently turned to guns and violence.

More than 100 children and their parents attended the summit, and heard from Sheriff’s deputies, Metro police and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.