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Draw The Line

by Rev. Donald L. Perryman, Ph.D.

Another mass shooting. Another assault rifle used. Another white male. Another outcry. Another “thoughts & prayers.” Blah! Blah! Blah! I’m so sick of it. In America we love empty religion & loaded guns.

                       –  Hart Ramsey


Rev. Donald L. Perryman, D.Min.

A mass 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.

Previously, 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.

What’s Gone Wrong in America?

The problem 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.

The truth, as the New York Times reports, is that “we have a White Nationalist terrorist problem.”

For the 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 adequately fight.

Close To Home

The Oregon 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 also been 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 community.  

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 in Toledo.

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 terrorism.

Contact Rev. Donald Perryman, D.Min, at drdlperryman@centerofhopebaptist.org



Copyright © 2019 by [The Sojourner's Truth]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 08/08/19 19:30:18 -0400.



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