DAYTON, Ohio – Dayton saw a substantial national media presence after Sunday’s mass shooting as interviews of local residents were taking place all around the crime scene.
The Ohio Star was invited to join The Washington Post for one such taped interview.
Bryan St. John lives near and frequents the Oregon District, a quaint neighborhood in Dayton where the shooting took place. The Washington Post journalist asked St. John for his opinion on the various sides of the gun debate.
“Well, when people say you should ban guns, to me it goes back to 1991 and the Killeen Luby shooting there where the lady was under the table and had to watch her parents get shot and followed the law and left her gun in the car,” St. John replied to one question.
“I forget her name–she does a lot of legislation, but she could’ve stopped that guy because she had the shot. If her gun was in her purse and not in her glovebox she could’ve saved some more people. There were 23 killed there,” he added.
The woman to whom St. John was referring is Suzanna Hupp. “I was eating lunch at a local cafeteria with my parents when a madman drove his truck through a plate glass window and then methodically began executing the patrons,” she recalled in an op-ed for The Hill written in 2017. “I made it out; my parents didn’t.”
To date, the interview with St. John has not been published in any format in The Washington Post. On Tuesday, it’s front page contained a picture of activists holding a “gun reform now” sign with a headline of: “Renewed calls for gun control test a deeply divided NRA.”
“Protesters flock to NRA headquarters to demand stronger gun laws,” declared another front-page headline in Tuesday’s Washington Post.
“Trump plans visit to El Paso and Dayton, where he don’t be universally welcome,” said a final Washington Post headline.
Calls for more gun-control laws have echoed throughout Ohio’s Democratic circles since Sunday while Christians who offer their prayers for victims of mass shootings are continually mocked.
“Thoughts and prayers are not enough. We must act,” Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) wrote on Twitter, and called for the Senate to return to session to vote on gun-safety laws.
Thoughts and prayers are not enough. We must act.
Mitch McConnell please call the Senate back to work tomorrow and let us vote on gun-safety laws. pic.twitter.com/S7uoyPbK06
— Sherrod Brown (@SenSherrodBrown) August 4, 2019
“We can’t continue to offer up the same condolences again and again with no action to protect our communities,” said Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH-13) in response to the shooting.
Later, however, he tweeted a video of a prayer vigil in Dayton that was held for the victims.
“We hold these nine lives in prayers this evening and the community of Dayton,” he wrote.
We hold these 9 lives in prayers this evening and the community of Dayton.
Lois Oglesby, 27
Megan Betts, 22
Saeed Saleh, 38
Derrick Fudge, 57
Logan Turner, 30
Nicholas Cumer, 25
Thomas McNichols, 25
Bearice Warren Curtis, 36
Monica Brickhouse, 39
— Tim Ryan (@TimRyan) August 5, 2019
Former President Barack Obama called for stricter gun laws and blamed “leaders who demonize those who don’t look like us, or suggest that other people, including immigrants, threaten our way of life,” according to a letter he posted on Twitter.
Many Democratic Presidential candidates pointed the finger at President Trump, including Sens. Cory Booker (D-MA) and Bernie Sanders (D-ME), as well as former Congressman Beto O’Rourke.
President Trump spoke out against hate and white nationalism in his Monday press conference.
“In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry, and white supremacy,” Trump said. “These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America. Hatred warps the mind, ravages the heart, and devours the soul.”
“We must recognize that the Internet has provided a dangerous avenue to radicalize disturbed minds and perform demented acts. We must shine light on the dark recesses of the Internet, and stop mass murders before they start,” he continued.
Republican Gov. Mike DeWine responded to calls for him to “do something” by announcing 17 proposals to address the problem of mass shootings, including many that he had already proposed or had signed into law.
The recommendations included improved mental health access, gun control laws such as “safety protection orders” and expanded background checks, wraparound services in schools to expand access to mental health treatment for at-risk children, improving the ability to identify children prone to violence before they harm someone, increased penalties for crimes committed with firearms, and social media monitoring.
“We can pull together to do meaningful things to protect lives. It won’t be easy, but I believe in this state, and I believe in our people,” DeWine concluded.
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Beth Lear is a reporter at The Ohio Star. Follow Beth on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].