On Saturday night (August 3th, 2019), I was hanging out with a few friends. Our wives were out of town so we decided to get together, bash on some food (can you say fried bacon mac & cheese balls) and then we went shooting out in the backyard. We set up some water bottles and empty Coke bottles (which were a pain to clean up) and some bulls eye targets.
I don’t go shooting much, but it is always fun when I do. Mostly because I’m hanging out with my friends. And, since I know I’m not proficient, I have no expectations on my performance which means I can just have fun with it.
But the next day I got word, mostly through social media, that there was a mass shooting, in my city, that killed at least 9 people and injured 27 more (the shooter was also killed). The location of the mass shooting was only a twenty minutes drive from my house and only a ten minute walk from where I work. It was truly shocking that it happened so close to home.
It felt surreal as texts from my coworkers came pouring in as they marked themselves safe or asked how everyone was doing. It was also a little numbing, like this is just so common place now to be worked up about. Dayton had now become the location of the 251 mass shooting in 2019 in America. We have more shootings in a year then we have days currently.
Did I feel shame for having gone shooting the previous night?
But I am realizing that I am in the middle of a deepening divide; where the extremes are: “No law should be passed on regulating guns” and on the other side: “ban all the guns.”
No matter where you fall on the divide, I urge you to contact your representatives. Our collective voices must be heard. The people we have chosen to lead us must know our thoughts, our feelings, our fears, our concerns, and our grief on this issue and any issue for that matter.
If you are in the Dayton area, I will have our Senators and House Reps listed below. If you live outside the Dayton area, still contact your representatives. I will also have some resources listed below for that as well.
I will also note that I know this post didn’t go into the issue of homegrown terrorism and white supremacy (as the El Paso shootings seems to be motivated by). Let me be clear, I don’t condone these actions or lines of thought. But I wanted this post to focus on contacting our leaders. There can only be change if we share our voices with the people who can actually take action.
Another note. Pray. Prayer is powerful and it DOES change the world. But we have to be two pronged in our action. We must be fervent in our prayers and in our devotion to Jesus; but we must also not neglect taking actions that backs our prayer. Hence again why I focused today on reaching out to our state and federal reps.
One final note before I end this post. Be kind to one another. The internet is just a giant rage machine that we shouldn’t buy into. And each time we do, we don’t know or see the person we are attacking. We don’t see what our written words make them feel. I believe there is a pattern that a majority of these shooters have some type of online presence that points to violence and hate, so let us not play into it. Let us not add more fuel to their fire.
So can we stop this online persona of rage? Can we show some decorum? Can we not resolve to name calling and degradation? Can we be kind to each other and have some civil conversation even if we disagree?
List of Resources:
- U.S Senator from Ohio Rob Portman https://www.portman.senate.gov/
- U.S Senator from Ohio Sherrod Brown https://www.brown.senate.gov/
- Dayton Representative to the House https://turner.house.gov/contact
- The Ohio Senate: http://www.ohiosenate.gov/senators/district-map
- The Ohio House of Representatives: http://www.ohiohouse.gov/members/district-map
Outside of Dayton Ohio (Federal Level Only)
- How to find your US House of Representatives Rep: https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative
- How to find your US Senators: https://www.senate.gov/index.htm
- Note: At the top left of the page there is a a drop down that reads “Find your Senators”, it is to the direct right of the US Flag.