We join our fellow Daytonians in grieving the loss of life as a result of yet another mass shooting in our country, this time in the core of our city. Identities have just been released. Motives are still not clear. Without commenting on the specifics of the killings in Dayton, we can still look seriously at the horrific statistics of mass shootings in the United States. While there are many contributing factors to the violence, two rise to the top: 1) the lack of gun control and 2) the “us vs. them” culture stirring up anger, especially in young white males.
The NRA has put a chokehold on Congress, flooding Capitol Hill with money to Senators and Congressmen, including our own representative, Mike Turner, who has a nearly perfect rating from the NRA. Getting the influence of big money out of politics is a critical step in getting sensible gun control legislation passed.
The “us vs. them” mentality is a much more difficult problem to solve. The promise of democracy is that everyone has a seat at the table, that everyone has a voice. Those in power don’t want to give everyone a voice, because they will lose power. So they benefit from keeping us divided – race, gender, sexual orientation, class, citizenship status, country of origin, physical ability, age. It’s important to recognize that these divisions must be overcome on both an individual level, by reaching out to our neighbors, and at a system level, by reforming broken systems in criminal justice, education, human services, housing, health care (especially mental health), others. We need to work together at all levels to turn back the hate that grips our country.