By GLENN RUTHERFORD
Last Thursday morning, May 17, Douglas A. Wain was on the telephone with The Record explaining his new organization that’s promoting May 25 as “Win the War! Against Violence” Day.
It was a prescient conversation.
Just two hours later, bullets began flying like summer hailstones and when the carnage ended, three people were dead, one other was in critical condition and two others were less seriously wounded.
That shooting was the city’s sixth in 10 days, and it was followed on Friday by another exchange of gunfire that resulted in a SWAT team situation near Shawnee High School. Then other shootings occurred in subsequent days that left yet another city resident dead.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer had already issued a proclamation naming May 25 as the city’s “Win the War! Against Violence” Day, and it’s clear to city and church leaders that some kind of effort to stem the flow of bullets and blood is needed.
For Wain, a Lexington, Ky., businessman, the idea to begin an active campaign against violence came to him in 2010. That’s when he self-published a book on the issue called The War Against Violence Everywhere.
“After I wrote the book I told myself I’m done talking about it,” he said during a telephone interview. “So my wife, who is a teacher in Fayette County Schools (and a member of Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Lexington) decided to form this little non-profit called ‘Win the War! Against Violence’ to just try and move the dial a little.”
Wain’s efforts aren’t the result of some personal encounter with violence; his family has enjoyed good fortune since he came to Kentucky from New Jersey in 1990.
“I just want other families to have the same kind of life we’ve had,” he explained. “I was born in Newark, so I learned a lot about violence at an early age. But here, I have a son Evan who is a graduate of Bellarmine, and another son Dylan who’s a student at Sts. Peter and Paul middle school. My wife Elisa and I have been blessed and we want other people to know the joy of lives free of violence.”
The whole, and simple, idea behind the not-for-profit organization, he said, is to convince individuals “that each one of us has to agree not to do violence.”
“Regardless of social stature, income level, age or location, we all have an equal share in life and we have to agree not to be violent,” he said.
Wain has a website — www.winthewarky.us — that includes information for both adults and children. “Online kids can get our formula for reducing violence,” he said. “We want, as I said, to move the dial — we want violence to go down and if it doesn’t, well, that’s our one criteria for success. If violence doesn’t drop, then we’ve failed.”
Wain believes that educating people about violence and the joys of living without it is the best way to “move the dial.”
“We’re trying to reach every county and every person in Kentucky,” he said. “We’re working with the state Department of Education to get our information into each of the 174 school districts.”
And he’s designing an online program against violence that can be used by returning military personnel.
Nine out of ten violent offenders are male, he noted, and 90 percent of the violent offenders who are currently in jail are male, too.
Arresting more and more people hasn’t worked, he said. “The dial hasn’t moved — the numbers haven’t come down — for the past 11 years. So we’re trying something different. We’re not asking the public for money or asking the government for new laws. We’re just trying to raise awareness, trying to get people to be responsible and to stop the violence.”