“Do something! Do something!” the crowd chanted at the vigil in Dayton.
We’re tired of words.
We’re tired of vigils.
We’re tired of thoughts and prayers from politicians who receive donations and votes to actually take action.
This time the horror show in America featured back-to-back massacres just 13 hours apart.
On Aug. 3, a 21-year-old white male murdered 22 and wounded 27 at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, as he stalked people aisle by aisle. He left behind a manifesto saying, “this attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas.”
His crazy words resemble the hate speech our own president uses, a president who laughed at a rally in May when he asked a crowd in Florida how to stop immigrants from crossing the border. When a man yelled, “Shoot them!” the president of the United States joked, “That’s only in the panhandle you can get away with that stuff.” Unbelievable.
On Aug. 4, just hours after the El Paso massacre, a 24-year-old white male in body armor gunned down people at random outside the Ned Peppers Bar in Dayton. He killed nine and injured 27.
The face of domestic terrorism is this: white, young, male. Driven by hate and fear, fueled by far-right extremists and hate-filled websites and Facebook audiences who support and encourage them. They are gunning down innocent people at Walmart, concerts, churches and synagogues.
And yes, guns DO kill people.
Assault weapons were used in mass shootings in El Paso, Dayton, Gilroy, Aurora, Orlando, Parkland, Las Vegas, Sandy Hook, the Waffle House and the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh.
Our police are being outgunned. The Second Amendment guarantees the right to bear arms, not to create an arsenal or carry weapons capable of killing 30 people in 30 seconds.
That crowd at the vigil in Dayton turned on Gov. Mike DeWine and rightly so. As he spoke words of comfort on a stage in the Oregon District of Dayton, they drowned him out with chants of, “Do something!”
“We cannot ease the pain of those families who have lost someone,” he said.
No, you can’t. But you can prevent that pain from sweeping across this country to more and more families.
Stop seeking endorsements from the National Rifle Association. The NRA endorsed DeWine in his bid for governor. Will he denounce the organization that consistently blocks sane, smart gun laws?
Stop accepting money from the NRA. That’s blood money.
Politicians should not oppose gun “control” and demand gun safety laws. Support universal background checks. Ban assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.
As CNN reported, the Dayton gunman “managed to fire 41 shots in less than 30 seconds.” Thank God the police risked their lives to save lives. They shot and killed the gunman 30 seconds after he started firing.
• If you’re a member of the NRA, quit. Don’t give them any more money. If your friends and family are members, ask them to quit.
• If you have a family member or friend who hoards weapons, posts hateful or threatening rants on websites and social media, contact the police.
• Call out Trump and others like him who say we must condemn white supremacy and racism but actually fuel it.
• “We love you. We care very deeply about you. We will do everything we can to tell you that we care,” DeWine said. Don’t tell us, governor. SHOW us.
• Get the “red-flag law” passed. DeWine first announced he was working on it in April, right after the synagogue shooting in Poway, Calif., where a gunman used an AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle to kill one and injure three. Last October, a gunman in Pittsburgh killed 11 and wounded seven with the same style gun at the Tree of Life Congregation.
The “red flag” law would allow law enforcement officers and family members to petition the court to remove guns from dangerous people who are a threat to themselves or others.
The shooter in Dayton would have been deemed dangerous. He created a hit list in high school. Actually, two lists: a list of boys to kill and a list of girls to rape. CNN reported one classmate described him as “dark and depressive.”
Still, he legally bought a .223-caliber gun online, then added a 100-round drum magazine. He was carrying 250 rounds. Imagine how many more would have died had police not gunned him down so quickly?
Will Republicans support the legislation? Will DeWine follow through or will that NRA endorsement derail his heart and his conscience?
People aren’t just sad. We’re angry. It’s time to do something. Something more than burying our dead.
Connect with her on Facebook at ReginaBrettFans. 2019 Ohio SPJ Best Columnist.