Righting America

A forum for scholarly conversation about Christianity, culture, and politics in the US
Horror in Dayton | Righting America

by William Trollinger

Bodies removed from the scene of the mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio on August 4, 2019. Photo credit: John Minchillo of AP.

Thanks to all of you who have reached out in response to this weekend’s mass shooting here in Dayton. There are no words for the sadness Sue and I feel for the victims and their families and their friends, and for our city. The photos of bodies on the street in our beloved Oregon District – just three miles from our house, and home to a wonderful collection of restaurants and bars and shops – brings us to tears. And all of this is made worse by the fact that this slaughter took place just a few hours after an even deadlier attack in El Paso. 

El Paso and Dayton are the sites of the 250th and 251st mass shootings in the United States this year. Considering that August 04 is the 216thday in 2019, and given that there were two additional shootings on Sunday, we are averaging 1.17 mass shootings every single day. America the Violent is an understatement.

The slaughter here in Dayton comes but ten weeks after fifteen tornados – four of which carried winds of 150-200 mph – ripped through our city and its environs. In the wake of the mass shooting  Dayton’s mayor Nan Whaley (a University of Dayton graduate) observed that

We have suffered two tragedies in Dayton this year, but one was avoidable. This same tragedy has been inflicted on our nation 250 times this year alone. When is enough, enough?

In response, on Sunday Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown called on the Senate to take up and pass the background check bill and the ban on assault weapons that Mitch McConnell has refused to bring to a vote. 

By contrast, Ohio Senator Rob Portman called for more attention to be paid to mental health counseling, and Mike Turner – a Republican who represents Dayton in the House, and whose own daughter was in the Oregon District at the time of the shooting –  called for a “National Conversation” about mass shootings.

It’s good to know that we can do more than simply say that “our thoughts and prayers are with you.” We can now offer a willingness to chat.

Talk about being in thrall to the gun lobby.