PHOTO: Thomas McNichols, 25, with his family wase among those slain in Dayton mass Shooting Aug. 4.
Killing of nine puts Dayton on mass murder map
As America’s legislative body of The United States House of Representatives and United States Senate remained on their annual summer recess, two cities 1,576 miles apart endured a pair of mass shootings in a 16-hour span that has reignited the ongoing debate about gun laws.
The abyss that left 30 dead, dozens more injured at an El Paso, Texas Walmart and a popular Dayton downtown night spot over a summer weekend that marked the beginning of August and fueled the confrontation over the national legislation on how to prevent such atrocities.
Connor Betts, a 24-year old white male, went to Ned Peppers Bar, in the heart of Dayton's historic Oregon District, at some point allegedly accompanied by his 22-year old sister.
According to law enforcement the siblings separated at some point and then, Betts,
wearing a mask, body armor and ear protection, armed himself with a AR-15-like assault weapon with magazines containing 100 rounds and set out on a street rampage that killed nine people and injured 27 others in about 30 seconds, police said. Police fatally shot Betts at the scene.
Among those slain was Betts sister. The still unexplainable tragedy has paralyzed Northeast Ohio and stirred another critical national debate about mental illness, gun laws, violent video games and legislation for domestic terrorist attacks.
Among the dead in Dayton were African Americans Thomas McNichols, 25, Lois Oglesby, 27 and Derrick Fudge, 57.
McNichols was described as a “great father, a great brother” and a “protector,” who enjoyed playing kickball at family gatherings, by his cousin Jevin Lamar.
Another person, Shannon Newell, described McNichols on Facebook as “so sweet and full of life.”
“I can’t believe Thomas is gone,” Newell wrote. “Always cracking jokes at work making us laugh. Rest in Peace Teejay James.”
Oglesby and leaves behind two children including a newborn. She worked at a day care and was in nursing school, excited about a career that drew on her love for children.
Fudge, the oldest victim, lived in Springfield, Ohio, around 30 miles away from the crime scene. He was originally from New York, according to his Facebook profile.
“I just found out that a friend lost his life last night in the Dayton shooting,” his friend Tammy Napier Myers wrote on Facebook after news of his death. “It once again reminds me of just how precious life truly is… Time is one of the most beautiful gifts we're given, but once it's gone it's something that we can't get back.”
Under a selfie Fudge posted on Instagram in late 2016, he wrote, “I would like for everyone to know that no matter what one have to say about me good or bad that my way of thinking will never change I have a good heart and I love everyone.”
After feeling the heat from protesters, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced announced 17 measures Tuesday morning aimed at preventing the likes of such an occurrence from happening again.
Among the initiatives that DeWine announced are the implementation of background checks and safety protection orders, as well as increased police training to identify potentially dangerous individuals, and tougher punishments for those who help others obtain guns.
"If we do these things, it will matter. If we do these things it will make us safer. Each one of these by themselves is not going to solve all of the problems, but I believe in my heart that each and every one of them will help ... that each and every one of them will make this a better state and make this a stronger state," DeWine said Tuesday
"We can do meaningful things to protect lives," he said.
DeWine also called for stricter punishment for people who purchase guns illegally and those who continue to possess and use guns when they are not legally allowed to do so.
The National Council of Negro Women, a 2,000,000-member coalition of women’s groups that was organized 80 years ago by Mary McLeod Bethune, also issued a statement on the tragic shooting.
“Once again, our hearts and prayers go out to the victims, the families and friends of those killed and wounded over the weekend during the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and in Dayton, Ohio. We call on all Americans to firmly fix the names and faces of the mortally wounded on our consciences. Try to imagine the grief, fear and rage that those directly affected must feel. So far, there have been more mass shootings in the U.S. than there have been days in the year. It dishonors the stricken families and communities if the frequency of these murders leaves us numb and apathetic toward them. We owe our fellow Americans more than that,” the statement read in part.
While many are narrating the two events into one tragedy and associating blame along ideological lines, the harsh realty is that mass shootings in America are becoming too frequent, almost minimizing the gutless suspects while failing to uplift the victims families who instead of planning for outings and gatherings are not planning for costly funerals instead.
Patrick Wood Crusius, 21, who allegedly opened fire at a Wal-Mart in El Paso, Texas killing 22 people and injuring more than two dozen reportedly held angst for immigrants, but lived to tell his story.
However, the memories of those lost in his ruthless wake are left to family, friends and loved ones.
Clearly something is wrong with this picture, but as Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley stated, her city will recover from this. The question now is will America continue to recover?