Friends have asked me, so I am asking you.
Are you over it?
Will you ever be?
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Is there even such a thing as getting over something like 10 people dying in the heart of Dayton’s oldest historic neighborhood — on a street so close to the city’s identity that it has a Heart?
And what of the 10 lives lost: Derrick Fudge; Lois Oglesby; Saeed Saleh; Logan Turner; Nicholas Cumer; Thomas McNichols; Beatrice Warren-Curtis; Monica Brickhouse; Megan Betts and her brother Connor, the mass shooter?
Connor Betts? How many Connors lurk among us?
Could he have been stopped, saved from his twisted mind?
Can America’s other Connor Bettses be stopped, saved from their twisted minds?
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Can we make it mean something in the names of all the Derricks, Loises, Saeeds, Logans, Nicholases, Thomases, Beatrices, Monicas and Megans who do not deserve whatever may befall them someday?
Can we make the loss of our Derrick and Lois and Saeed and Logan and Nicholas and Thomas and Beatrice and Monica and Megan and even Connor matter?
Led by a Fifth Street tavern owner who hours before stood by as patrons’ blood was washed from the sidewalk outside of his business, the people chanted “do something.” The governor said he’d try.
But has anything at all really been done?
What is that “something” we are actually willing to do?
What are we willing to give up to save the Connor Bettses amongst us from the demons poking holes in their souls? Wouldn’t that be self-preservation?
And what of those who survived our Connor Betts’ rage, some of them wounded by bullets from a pistol modified to act as a rifle? Can they just move on?
Should anyone expect them, or you, or me to just leave it behind and move forward?
What does that even mean?
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Will we ever forget where we were when we came to realize that “safety” was just an illusion?
Do you worry that the moment has already been lost?
Was there even a moment at all?
Was that just an illusion?
Will our hearts still be aching this time come November, December, January?
Is this just the way it is now?
Do you check your environment for an exit?
>> His only child was killed during the Dayton mass shooting. Now Mike Turner wants everyone to hug.
Do you avoid crowded spaces?
Do you wonder about that man, the regular-looking guy? What’s hiding in his car?
What could he be building in his apartment?
What is hiding in his heart?
Does he have a kill list?
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Could he really be a killer, or is it just talk?
Should you at least file a police report?
It’s been two months and two days now. Do tears still fall?
Have the hugs stopped?
Did we move too fast to remove the record of terror on the street? The shoes, purses and cell phones abandoned as people ran from the scene of the worst mass shooting in Ohio history?
There have been far worse mass shootings in America. Why should anyone care about ours?
Do we even really care about ours?
Do we think we are that special, that strong?
Weren’t Sandy Hook and Las Vegas and El Paso and Atlanta and Pittsburgh and all those other places strong?
Strength can repair homes leveled by the Memorial Day tornadoes, but can it best bullets?
Should it be asked to?
What about those other Derricks and Loises and Saeeds and Logans and Nicholases and Thomases and Beatrices and Monicas and Megans?
Will their families, friends, neighbors, community and our country be able to get over it?
A friend told columnist Amelia Robinson that the Dayton area should put the events around the Memorial Day tornadoes and Aug. 4 mass shooting in the past and move on. She asked Facebook readers for their thoughts.
Here’s a sample of responses:
“We’ve changed. We are changed. This summer should not be trivialized.” — Martha Hardcastle Guthrie
“That is akin to telling a grieving friend to get over their loss. Moving on is a necessary part of healing but there is no timeline and to push for moving on doesn’t help.” — John J. Stanton
“I agree with John. It’s completely fine with me for everyone to process it in their own way. There’s no ‘one size fits all’ approach, and everyone is different. What I do have an issue with is people trying to tell others how to moderate, modify, or otherwise express their grief. If they don’t like it, they can choose not to engage.” — Ashley Bethard
“The City needs to build upon the lessons of the events and focus on initiatives that continue to build ‘community’ (OD shootings), address ways to notify residents of natural disasters outside of cell phones (tornadoes), and attack segregation (Klan rally). The City as a government entity should be more focused on preventative measures that address all of these points and let applicable nonprofits focus on the relational, healing aspects that can complement their efforts.” — Mica Garrison
"Yes the events are in the past, but the healing, the lessons, the commiseration, the loss, the grief, extreme weather, crap gun regulations, and hate are ALL still here, right now, in the present…. How we deal, are dealing with all of these things IS how we move on …" — Sara Quiñones
"We all process things at a different rate. We clearly can't stay in May or August, but the lessons and observations will be with us for years … if not for the rest of our lives. We will remember the tone in the meteorologists voices when the tornadoes were forming, we will remember the first sight the next day and we will remember where we were when we heard the news about the Oregon and we will always remember how the city rallied in a way that the city had never shown that it could. You learn and, hopefully, grow from adverse situations. That's the lesson. We all grieve in our own time, however." — Todd Lucas
"Not sure how we can just say let's move on when I drive by boarded-up apartments and businesses and homes every day and I wonder about those poor souls who lost everything! I worry that life as we all knew it before Memorial Day and before Aug. 4 won't ever be the same. Healing is good but forgetting can't be helpful to those who lost so much." — Kim Bramlage