It has been a year since the mass shooting at a popular summer camp in Southern California.
Since then, the deaths of two young boys in Montana and the shooting death of a young woman at an Ohio camping site have renewed attention on the mental health of campers, particularly in the wake of the suicides of former Florida National Guardsman Shawn Travers and U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Matthew T. Gillett in October.
The families of the victims have also begun pushing for changes to the current mental health and safety regulations.
At a news conference Monday, the families of both boys and women asked that the federal government regulate the use of lithium-ion batteries, saying the batteries can cause serious injury, as well as death, if not properly used.
“We’ve heard that many times,” said Michelle T. Miller, whose son died at Camp Sunshine in July.
“They say the batteries are dangerous, but we’ve heard about that for years.”
Miller and her husband, Michael, are trying to get the U.N. to hold a summit on lithium-based batteries to determine how to address the issue, and they are calling for an end to the government-sponsored lithium-cell battery recycling program that they say wastes millions of dollars a year.
They are also pushing for more research into the health effects of lithium batteries.
The Tvers and Gillets are among the thousands of U.M.C. students and faculty who have been killed at U. of M.C., according to an investigation by the university’s Health Policy Institute, which reviewed federal and state data.
The researchers concluded that the deaths were likely caused by a variety of factors, including overheating of the batteries and lack of protective equipment such as goggles or face shields.
In the wake and outpouring of grief, the Tvers have sought answers from the U of M.-based university, which has said it is working with federal, state and local authorities to learn more about the deaths.
“This is really our last chance to have answers and get the truth out,” Michelle Tvers said.
“There’s nothing more we want than to know what happened and where they were taken.”
Tvers, who had recently turned 25, was killed in July during an attempt to capture a man who had fled an apparent shootout.
In a video from the scene, the man who was captured can be seen running through the brush.
Miller and Gilles, both 21, were killed at Camp Sunrise in July and July of this year, when two young men, one a former Army medic and the other a former Marine, were arrested and charged with attempting to steal a car, which was later found abandoned near Camp Sunshine.
Authorities said the two had stolen a truck with stolen license plates.
Both were arrested in August and charged in November with second-degree murder.
Both men had also been charged with felony counts of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and attempted murder.
The case against the two men was dropped in December, when a federal grand jury declined to indict the pair.
But Miller’s death and the subsequent investigation led to a major crackdown on the recycling program, which the Tves say was run in an ineffective and dangerous manner.
Miller’s family filed a lawsuit in August, arguing that the recycling of lithium battery batteries was not an appropriate method to dispose of the dangerous devices, which were found to contain lead, mercury, and other toxins.
The lawsuit was later amended, the U and the U-M System of Higher Education, the two-year-old entity that oversees the recycling, agreed in September to a settlement that requires the recycling to be halted.
The settlement also required the university to submit a plan for how to reduce the amount of lead in lithium batteries, which is still high and could pose a health hazard for campers.
Tvers’ mother, Michelle Miller, said she was pleased that a settlement had been reached with the university, adding that she hoped that the university would make a commitment to implement a plan to reduce lead levels.
“That was the first step,” Miller said.
Tves’ mother said she hopes the school would take a similar approach.
“I would hope that they would take that first step and do something about this issue,” Michelle Miller said of the U’s handling of the lithium batteries at Camp Sunset.
“It’s such a sad, tragic situation.”
Miller said the university must implement the settlement as quickly as possible.
“The federal government has done everything they can to help us,” she said.
The university said in a statement that the Tveys’ lawsuit is unfounded.
“Our position has been that it is not possible for us to determine the cause of their deaths,” the statement said.
A spokesperson for the University of Minnesota System of Elementary and Secondary Education, which oversees the camp, said in an email that it has been in contact with the families and has provided counseling for the camp.
“At the end of the day, it’s