‘Let’s Talk’ series at Oakwood library focuses on mass shootings and mental health

Published: Sunday, October 20, 2019 @ 2:03 PM

One of the tributes to the victims of the Oregon District mass shooting on East Fifth Street. Nine victims died in the Aug. 4 shooting before Dayton police killed the shooter. STAFF/BONNIE MEIBERS
Staff Writer
One of the tributes to the victims of the Oregon District mass shooting on East Fifth Street. Nine victims died in the Aug. 4 shooting before Dayton police killed the shooter. STAFF/BONNIE MEIBERS(Staff Writer)

Discussions surrounding mass shootings and mental health were expanded on this weekend during a “Let’s Talk” forum at the Wright Memorial Public Library in Oakwood.

About 13 people from a few different groups and individual citizens gathered for the “Let’s Talk: Mass Shootings” event on Saturday. The event was moderated by Elizabeth Schmidt, adult services librarian and coordinator of the “Let’s Talk” series.

COMPLETE COVERAGE: Oregon District mass shooting

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Attendees were asking questions and giving suggestions to Dayton Police Officer Ronald Strehle throughout the forum, on what kind of action they think could be taken to prevent more shootings like the one that took place in the Oregon District on Aug. 4.

“The biggest problems are identifying who’s going to do this?” Strehle said. “How do you pick an active shooter out of a room? And if you think about it, the targets are all over the board. There’s been schools, hospitals, churches, government buildings. A lot of them are just open doors. … One of them (shooter) that got away was on the highway, started shooting out the roof of his car and drove away. How are you going to stop something like that? So you have to identify before it becomes a threat.”

The “Let’s Talk” series tackles issues impacting the Dayton community. Saturday’s meeting included members of “Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America” and a couple people from other organizations.

“The mass shooting was really an opportunity for people to come and talk about it,” Schmidt said. “What happened in Dayton just affected people so much and it was a chance for people to come together and talk about the issue in a safe space.”

Topics of gun control and Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s Red Flag Law proposal were touched on and pulled apart for how they could help, and also where they might fall short.

“How do you identify a person. … How do you take every threat seriously?” Strehle said. “When a 15-year-old posts ‘I’m going to blow up the school.’ Do you take that at face value? Do you investigate afterward? So now anyone that gets angry and says something like that becomes a suspect, which is not usually a good thing. You don’t want to look strangely at everybody.”

Schmidt said the library’s series will continue to cover more tough issues impacting the Dayton area. Visit Wright Memorial Library’s website — www.wrightlibrary.org — to keep up to date with upcoming events.