Mayor Nan Whaley reflects on changes and inaction, six months after mass shooting

Miami Valley News

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Dayton mayor Nan Whaley addressed a community forum at the University of Dayton Tuesday, commemorating the lives lost on August 4. As she looks back on that day, she’s also issuing calls for action, and expressing frustration about a lack of movement at the Statehouse. 

Mayor Whaley says the City of Dayton is looking for new ways to stop gun violence, saying the issue is not just mass shootings, it’s also in the streets. She says if lawmakers won’t act, the community needs to fill the void. 

“It’s been difficult. But it’s been amazing to see the kindness, the support, and the advocacy that’s come from this community.” Mayor Whaley regularly calls the families of the victims to see how they’re doing six months after the mass shooting. 

WATCH The Human Resources Center at the University of Dayton hosts forum on sixth-month anniversary of Dayton shooting:

The infamous milestone signals not just the passage of time for the mayor, but the lack of action to prevent another shooting. “To see that everybody is with you, the people are with you, everyone agrees, and your government just doesn’t care. I think that’s been really painful for me, someone who believes in our democracy, to see it be so ineffective.” 

In the wake of the shooting, amidst calls to do something, Mayor Whaley hoped Dayton would be the shooting that would spur lawmakers to end all others. But with little movement in Columbus or Washington, she says Daytonians can still take the lead. “We have to figure out new ways to look at gun violence, especially considering we don’t get any help from the state legislature when the issue is access to guns. We’re willing to attack this in any way possible, we just wish we had more partners.” 

Tuesday’s community forum looked at thematic solutions, some at an organizational level. But Mayor Whaley says change can start in the streets, before violence happens. “I need them to think about their neighbors. When people in their neighborhood hear gunshots, they need to be calling 911. I need them to be engaged in their neighborhood, so gun violence doesn’t settle in their community.” 

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