Students say ‘enough is enough’ at anti-violence rally

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

A group of area high school students decided that “enough is enough” after the Aug. 4 Oregon District mass shooting.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

A group of area high school students decided that “enough is enough” after the Aug. 4 Oregon District mass shooting.

The students led a Enough is Enough Dayton Strong Rally on Courthouse Square Wednesday afternoon to oppose school violence and support stronger gun laws.

A mix of speakers, including students, community activists and political candidates, made a plea for stricter gun laws and more school safety in the wake of the Oregon District mass shooting. Desiree Tims, who declared her Democrat candidacy last week for U.S. Rep. Mike Turner’s seat, spoke at the rally.

“The right to keep and bear arms is 226 years old. It was created when slavery was legal and when Ohio didn’t exist as a state. It has not changed enough with the times, but it needs to, now,” said Oakwood high school student Ella Jones.

Oakwood senior Sammy Caruso, one of the organizers of the rally, said he didn’t want Dayton to be “just another statistic.”

“This was already a huge epidemic and now that it’s hit Dayton we really feel the impact. I feel the community hurting,” Caruso said. “The community needs something to come together over. They need something and I think this helps.”

Caruso and other organizers also encouraged area people to walk out of their places of work or schools at 9:37 a.m. Wednesday morning, to show support for “the 937 community.”

Caruso led student rallies in 2018 in the wake of the Parkland, Fla., school shooting.

The rally on Wednesday specifically was pushing for safer, stricter gun laws, expanded background checks and an assault weapons ban, Caruso said. Caruso also urged Turner to donate money he has received from the National Rifle Association to the Dayton Foundation to help victims of the Oregon District shooting.

A request for comment was sent to Turner’s office.

Fairmont high school senior Sophia Gipson said mass shootings have always felt personal to her, but this time it was different.

“I’ve always felt something for the families of victims of mass shootings, but this time it happened five minutes from where I live. No more,” Gipson said.

When two troubled students with military-style guns fatally shot 11 classmates, a teacher and themselves at Colorado’s Columbine High School two decades ago, it shocked a nation where random mass shootings had been an occasional bloody horror.

Since then, statistics from the federal government, academic and advocacy groups show those mass shooting events — though still rare — have recurred with alarming and growing frequency, with three in the past two weeks in Dayton, El Paso, Texas, and Gilroy, leaving 32 dead and 64 wounded.

An FBI list of 277 "active shooter incidents" from 2000 through 2018 published in April — the 20th anniversary of Columbine — shows a sharp rise during the latter half of the study period.

Active shooter incidents averaged 8.6 a year from 2000 through 2009. From 2010 through 2018, that number jumped to an average 21.2 a year, two and a half times more frequently.