Tag Archives: Trump

This we don’t need

It’s been a week since the attack on OSU campus. As you might imagine this particular act of violence struck a little closer to home than most. I’m an alum of OSU and live a few miles north of the campus.My dad is involved with campus ministry, as are some people I used to go to bible study with. While I don’t go down there as often as I used to, I did see a game with my wife earlier this fall, and I sometimes go for a sentimental walk to No. 1 Chinese, Used Kids Records or just down the Oval. I think of OSU as part of my home.

I’m grateful that people were not more seriously hurt and that the situation was able to be resolved in a short amount of time. Though things certainly seemed uncertain for most of Monday morning (I spent the day trying to get work done while listening to 10TV news feeds and Facebook Live press conferences) the actual incident was only about a minute.

Not long after the attack a friend of mine said on social media that he wasn’t looking forward to whatever hateful thing the President-elect was going to tweet on the subject. And sure enough, the Donald delivered:

ISIS is taking credit for the terrible stabbing attack at Ohio State University by a Somali refugee who should not have been in our country.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 30, 2016
There are a lot of things wrong with this tweet. For starters, the motive of this 18 year old student will likely never be firmly known, and speculating is a destructive activity. Of course ISIS claimed credit. The attacker isn’t alive to contradict them, and it makes them look like they have more influence. Second, Columbus, Ohio has a thriving Somali community (who were among the first to condemn the attack). We have a legacy of taking in refugees for over 25 years. The president-elect may have won Ohio, but he didn’t win Columbus and he doesn’t know this city or have a right to speak for it.

But honestly it isn’t even Trump I want to talk about, but the people who are using this attack as an opportunity to advocate for a concealed or open carry policy on campus. This culminated today in a group of people parading around the campus carrying guns. Let me repeat. A week after a violent attack on a college campus, a group of non-students organized by a gun-rights activist from Cincinatti decided it was a good idea to march around with guns including assault rifles.

Now to be fair the students were notified, and the advocates were escorted by police the whole way. But this was far from a calm discussion of gun rights. When a professor questioned the group’s presence and said this wasn’t what the college needed, the gun-advocates questioned his citizenship. Lot’s of students are still dealing with the trauma and the fear of the last week. This community is still healing.

There was a lot of luck and providence in last Monday’s attack. A gas leak meant that an officer could be on the scene in less than a minute, and good training resolved the situation quickly. The school’s alert system notified everyone almost as the attack was happening, and the run-hide-fight protocol probably kept a number of students safe. One of the people injured by the attacker had military training, and even tried to grab the knife. There were heroic and well trained people on scene. The students were as prepared as any student population could be. And I believe God was there as well.

Here’s what a someone with a concealed carry permit would have added to that situation. Unless they had hours of extensive training dealing with active-attacker situation, there’s a decent liklihood they would not have drawn their gun, or fired it if they did pull it out. If they drew their gun and fired there is no guaruntee they would not have injured people besides the attacker. And when the officer came on scene they’d be adding another confusing element to a hot situation. Unless they were immediately compliant with the officer’s commands, they’d stand a decent likelihood of being shot themselves.

You may disagree with my assessment, and that’s fine. I know a lot of reasonable people who are gun enthusiasts. Maybe we can discuss it calmly in a month or two. But for right now, why don’t we spend our time having a national conversation about what OSU did to prepare for attacks like these, and praising the work of a fine young officer. Let’s not tar an entire community because of the actions of one person, and let’s stop waving guns around for a while.

That’s not too much to ask, right?

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No Place For Hate

I love living in Clintonville. I love the owner of my local deli, Smith’s, who’ll sell me a $6 Reuben even as he’s preparing to marry off the 3rd of 7 children. I love the community center and art fairs. I love living in a place with trees, even when my house is being hit by acorns. I love the hole-in-the-wall Chinese place on Kenny that I’ll be eating from later tonight. I love my neighborhood full of dogs and little free libraries, and the bookstore just up the road. And I love the people of this community, now more than ever.

Sunday night my wife and I attended a candlight vigil. This wasn’t an anti-Trump rally, or a group of people out to abolish the electorial college. It was a group of our Clintonville neighbors coming together and saying we will look out for one another. Walking from the Whetstone Community Center to North Broadway we were surrounded by people of all ages: from families with young to children, to college students and retirees. My wife and I didn’t have mason jars for real flames, so we brought some battery powered candles (just as well since I probably would’ve set my notebook on fire).

The walk was pretty quiet at first, the group of us moving at a slow shuffle. Somewhere between Smith’s and Torrence things started to get a little more lively. Cars honked in support as they passed, marchers across the street cheered “this is what democracy looks like,” and local businesses made a show of support (the Global Gallery handed out coffee on a cold night).

On North Broadway there were drums and carhorns and cheers of “Love Trumps Hate.” A small group of police showed up to help people cross to the other side of the main road. As I stepped into the crosswalk I heard an officer remark “you guys keep being this cool we’re never going to make national news.” In truth the whole evening was pretty tame. There were a few people who shouted their support for Trump (more as a matter of fact than anything else). There some individual calls of “not my President” and “we reject the President-elect” but these were the outliers, not the rule. Mostly we chanted about protecting the rights of women, of minorities, of different relgions and love in all its forms. The police were respectful and helpful, and the mood anything but antagonistic. Frankly it was a welcome change after the strange week we’ve all had.

My favorite moment of the night was walking back to the car. We were a few steps behind a mother and her 6-7 year old son. The son was holding a big “Love” sign while his mother explained the right to protest and how it can be important to show people how you feel. There’ve been a lot of people saying that we shouldn’t protest, that we need to accept the results of the election and give the President-elect a chance. I do accept the results of the election, even if I have a hard time typing the words President Trump right now. That’s not the issue.

If you take the President-elect at his word then you have to take on board the policies he said he would enact. This is a man who advocated for war crimes, who called for a total ban on muslims coming into the country. He has appalling attitudes toward women, and only a passing relationship with objective facts. Maybe once he realizes what the job actually entails he’ll change. A lot of people who’ve sat in that office certainly have. Being President is an awesome responsibility, but we have responsibilities too. We have a responsibility to protect the rights of the people around us from those who might seek to take them away. That starts at home, in the places we love.

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