Friday, August 1, 2014

News
A Mother's Story
The Gun Control Debate
by Mike Strehlow


Wauwatosa--Our week-long look at the gun control debate continued Thursday with the story of a soft spoken mother who has a powerful message about gun violence.

"The trajectory of a bullet goes far beyond that initial impact," said Mary Kay Balchunas.

The bullet that ended the life of her son, State Department of Justice agent Jay Balchunas, changed the lives of those who loved him forever.  The 34-year-old was working undercover on a drug case when he was shot to death during a robbery in 2004.

"We try to live our lives in a way that honors him," said Mary Kay who now serves as a chaplain at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin.  There, she provides spiritual support to parents of young victims including children injured or killed by gunfire.

"I can use my experience of losing a child through gun violence without having to share the story, but just knowing, maybe sometimes intuitively, what they may be going through and what may be helpful."

Mary Kay says the current approach to reducing gun violence is not working, and something has to change.  For her, however, the issue is not political.

"For me it's a human issue.  It's an issue of we need to do something about this.  It's learning about how to solve misunderstandings and disagreements without picking up a firearm."

Balchunas was a featured speaker at last month's Midwest Summit to Combat Gun Violence in Minneapolis.

Scholarships have been established in Jay's memory at Marquette University and Waukesha County Technical College.