Sixty years ago, U.S. President John F. Kennedy rallied the nation behind a mission to put a human on the moon, setting a goal that would “serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone,” he said.
We’re embarking on a new moonshot goal, one that won’t be measured in miles traveled, but in lives saved. Gun-related deaths between police and the public continue to rise, and it’s time to change the course of that history. The loss of 1,118 lives — 1,054 civilians and 64 officers last year alone — affects all of us deeply and daily. In the next decade, we plan to cut gun-related deaths between police and the public in half, as a matter of great urgency and importance.
One of the reasons this problem has been difficult to address is that there is insufficient data to measure the scope and magnitude of each tragedy. That’s why one of the thorniest things we are untangling right away is to improve the data-collection surrounding each death, in a way does that not reduce lives lost to numbers and percentages. Instead, we’ll to try to understand all of the contributing factors, so that any proposed solutions are based in facts, not “what ifs”. We’ve engaged a third-party research partner to track gun-related deaths between police and the public, and plan to publish regular reports that give insights to all stakeholders.
No single group or organization can tackle this problem alone. But everyone can agree that it’s worth solving, no matter whether we’re used to being at the same table with one another. When Axon began gathering input about this goal, there was no hesitation from prospective partners about lending their support. Now diverse groups from law enforcement, community organizations and more are stepping up to collaborate on this issue with an agreement that we simply cannot wait to act.
The issues behind these incidents are complex, and we don’t yet have all of the answers. But we have the commitment, the drive, and past proof of what can happen when those things come together in ways that make seemingly impossible goals possible. We’ve taken the initial steps, with roundtable events and opened dialogue, and will be formalizing the results of those and future discussions into action plans. We believe that this goal is within our reach, and we are committed to sharing progress and acting with imperative.
At the 2022 International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) annual conference, Axon Founder & CEO Rick Smith shared more about the impetus behind the next moonshot, and where we go from here. Please watch and then get in touch to get involved.
We all have a role to play in achieving this goal. This is our moonshot.