shooting took place in Dayton, Ohio just after I went to bed
early Sunday August 4, 2019. And, approximately 18 hours
before this tragedy, 20 people were murdered in another mass
killing spree at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas.
there was also a shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in
Northern California that killed three. Before that one
person was killed and 11 injured at a Brooklyn block party
and 2 were killed and two more injured at a Walmart in
Southaven, Mississippi. And, there were mass shootings at a
Texas Church, Jewish Synagogues in both California and
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and schools in Florida and Texas.
And sadly, on and on and on and on.
The point is
that there have been 251 mass shootings in the first 216
days of 2019, more than one per day, with the latest
occurring in Dayton, which is too close for comfort.
Wrong in America?
is not violent video games, gay marriage, the lack of prayer
in schools or women preachers. Neither is the problem mental
health, although that is a factor not to be ignored.
as the New York Times reports, is that “we have a White
Nationalist terrorist problem.”
first time in many decades, domestic terrorism has exceeded
international terrorism in the United States. That means
that there is more violence being perpetrated in the U.S. by
white supremacists than by foreign terrorist organizations
such as ISIS, Al-Quaida and others, an enemy that the FBI
admits they currently do not have the resources to
district, the entertainment area where the Dayton shooting
took place, is just a few miles from the Antioch University
Midwest campus, which had hosted its Summer 2019 Graduate
School graduation just a few hours earlier.
Many of my
fellow graduates and their families who attended the
graduation ceremony stayed overnight at hotels in Dayton and
likely celebrated in the city’s entertainment district. I
had previously decided not to attend my graduation and am
pleased that many of the university’s staff, faculty and
students who live or journeyed to the area have reported
that they are safe. I am also heartbroken for the victims of
this senseless tragedy.
Yet, I have
part of Toledo’s 2017 FBI Citizens Academy where I had the
opportunity to learn from federal law enforcement staff just
how domestic terrorism and other issues impact our own
Let’s be clear. Notwithstanding President Trump’s
misstatement in referring to Toledo as the site of the mass
shooting rather than Dayton, domestic terrorism currently is
present in Toledo and has been for a while. Sadly, if
domestic terrorism can happen in Dayton, it can also happen
What Can We Do?
Gun violence is a public health crisis. Domestic terrorism
and hate crimes attack our democracy and therefore require
us, not only to speak out against them from our individual
spheres of influence, but also to demand that our elected
officials denounce domestic terrorism for what it is and
call it by name. Many officeholders are eager to denounce
“radical Islamic terror,” and enthusiastically mislabel
Black Lives Matter participants as terrorists, but refuse to
acknowledge the danger of domestic terrorism and its
association with mass shootings.
Also, every person in our community should be engaged in
“electoral activism” in order to ensure that the people
whose agenda is to build safe and inclusive communities are
elected to public office.
For certain, it’s time to drop the obligatory “thoughts and
prayers” mantra, “draw the line,” say “No More,”and finally
do something tangible to address mass shootings and domestic
Contact Rev. Donald Perryman, D.Min, at