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OPINION: Democrats Discuss — Dayton strong

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Elanor Skees, a sophomore studying political science, is the Ohio University College Democrats treasurer. The following article reflects the opinion and views of the author and not those of the College Democrats. 

The Oregon District is the heart of downtown Dayton. This is a place where I have had countless family dinners. My senior pictures were taken there. My junior prom and senior homecoming dinner were there. It is a place where people from all around the city gather to be with friends and family. On Aug. 4, Dayton’s Oregon District was added to the list of over 200 mass shootings this year. 

That day, social media was filled with “thoughts and prayers” and an outcry of “enough is enough.” I was proud that the Dayton community was strong and was standing up for our fellow Daytonians. 

As the day went on, the narrative began to change. It was no longer about remembering those who died or thanking Dayton police for their swift action. It became political. I am fine with getting political after a tragedy; however, this was the blame game. People, including the president, began to say that the cause of the shooting was mental illness and violent video games. This was particularly painful because rather than holding the sole person responsible, they were putting blame on a community who was grieving and families dealing with their own losses. 

Flashforward to Aug. 7, when the president visited Dayton and El Paso three days after the mass shootings. I went to a protest near the Miami Valley Hospital where the shooting victims were recovering. The crowd was furious. Everyone was frustrated that there had been over 200 mass shootings and that politicians were still sending  “thoughts and prayers” and continuing to have political inaction when it comes to gun regulations. 

Regardless of their anger and frustration, they were also hopeful. They were proud to be surrounded by a supportive community and a group of people who were as passionate as they were. The crowd formed several blocks from the hospital where we stood for about an hour, but when word had spread that the president was at Miami Valley Hospital, the crowd began to move. There, we began to chant “enough is enough” and “do something.” Looking up into the windows of the hospital, people were watching us. 

Soon, vehicles began to park between us and the hospital and eventually, there was movement. The president was being driven away. As he was leaving, the crowd yelled louder than they had before. They continued screaming “do something” and “shame.” Tears were shed, and we slowly dispersed. Everyone went home and hoped that someday changes would take place. 

Several weeks later, my family and I attended a concert downtown. There was a strange energy that night. I don’t believe that people were scared or worried that another shooting would take place because that night, everyone was united. No matter their political beliefs, everyone was happy to be there and every time the artist mentioned the city of Dayton, joyous and proud cheers would erupt.

As the night continued, the police presence increased and people were relieved. Almost everyone was thanking the policemen who were there walking around. The crowd was ensuring that the officers knew how grateful we were that night and every other night. 

After the concert, we walked to the Oregon District. It seemed more vacant than I had ever seen before. There were very few people sitting outside on the patios on that beautiful summer night, and there were more police cars with their lights flashing. The city center felt less lively than it had before. 

It is my belief that gun regulation and common-sense gun laws should be a bipartisan issue. We don’t want these regulations because we hate guns. We want regulations to ensure the safety of our family and friends. As of July 9, 2019, “the Gun Violence Archive has logged 175 mass shootings, killing 184 people and injuring 673 more.” This is insanity. We continue to have inaction and expect there to be different results. Change is needed. No person needs a weapon of war that is used for killing as many as possible in such a short amount of time. In Dayton, the shooter was taken down within 32 seconds but nine died and 27 were injured. 

Is this acceptable as a society? Are we, as humans, okay with allowing people to carry these weapons of war? Should we be training our teachers on how to take precautions on securing a classroom rather than how to better our children’s education? These gun regulations are not for the restriction of people’s rights, it is for the safety of human beings. The Second Amendment was written to protect people, but now we are protecting guns rather than the lives of human beings. When will we learn that the lives of our fellow humans are worth more than a piece of technology made for destruction?


This is a submitted column, and please note that these views and opinions do not reflect those of The New Political. 


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