Dayton Daily News columnist Amelia chatted with Mike Turner, the father of Oregon District mass shooting victim Logan Turner, on her “What Had Happened Was” podcast.
Few could blame Mike Turner, a Dayton native who now lives in Tenneese, if his heart were full of rage after the death of his 30-year-old son.
But Turner said he is spreading the message of love and power of hugs through his #LoganHugs campaign.
The retired car salesman has hugged hundreds and hundreds of people since a gunman killed his son and eight others in the early hours of Aug. 4.
Below is an excerpt from Amelia Robinson chat with Mike Turner.
The compete podcast can be found on Dayton.com’s homepage and a list of podcast services that includes Stitcher, Google Play and Apple Podcast.
The conversation here has been edited slightly for clarity.
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AMELIA: The thing that strikes me is that a lot of people retreat. They have every right to react the way they want to react, but you’re not (retreating.) You’re out there. You’re hugging people. You’re touching people. You’re talking about God to people.
What do you want to come from this now?
MIKE: I just want love, peace and harmony. A friend of mine gave me that phrase 20 years ago. Said, “Mike, that’s all you want.”
When this tragedy first happened, I was mad the first couple days. I really was mad. I was mad at God. I was mad at the shooter.
I was mad at people screaming and hollering the night of the vigil. I mean I was really angry — and 6-foot-7, 270 pounds looks ugly when it’s angry.
And I went home that night and Logan talked to me and then God was on the other shoulder talking to me.
There’s so much hate in the world right now. You hear more hate than you do anything else. There’s a lot of negatives. And what I want to come out of this is I want people to be positive. I want people to look at each other and find the good about each other rather than the negative. The hate part, it’s got to go away, or this country will never get better.
AMELIA: Yeah, I just wonder sometimes if it can go away, the way people are so tied to it. They don’t want to let it go.
MIKE: Well, they need to learn. You know if I can do it, the situation I’m at right now. If I can sit back. I’ve lost my only son, my only child. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I cry all the time, I cried all the way from home to here today.
If I can walk out in the crowd of people. I have no idea who they were — and how many people were at the (Gem City Shine)?
AMELIA: It was like 30,000 to 35,000, but that’s a lot of people.
MIKE: I just walked out and started hugging people. Everybody but one person hugged me. One person wouldn’t hug me. I think it was just a guy/guy thing. I don’t think he want to hug me, but he shook my hand.
AMELIA: Did they know who you are?
MIKE: Well, I had my #LoganHugs shirt on. It’s hard to miss me in a crowd. I mean, I am head above everybody else.
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AMELIA: You are a giant man.
MIKE: I am a big guy.
I’d rather see that, then people screaming and hollering obscenities. For what reason? They have no skin in the game on this. They don’t, they don’t.
I mean, I’m the one that’s got a loss.
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MIKE: And I’m out here, smiling and hugging and praying with people, if they want to pray. I am not a deeply religious man but I am religious.
If you’re not religious, you still talk to yourself, and you ask questions and what’s wrong with saying, “let’s go hug somebody?” What’s wrong with that? What’s wrong with that? Nothing. If you have a phobia about touching because you’re germophobe or something, wear gloves.
They don’t care. Just hug somebody. I’d love to see everybody in Dayton line up. I’d hug every single person. I really would. Just because that’s what we really need.
AMELIA: You need love, for sure.
MIKE: You need it.