Cincinnati tries to recover


Photo courtesy of Sia Sindhwani

GRIEVING. Cincinnatians (including SHS students) are taking to social media to give an outlet for their feelings after the violence Thurs., Sept. 6. As with many other shootings, people are trying not to give the shooter any attention, as that is a common motivation for shooters. “Finally, people are starting to realize that the aggressor in these situations is the subject of most news reports, so the hashtag shows that we are giving our attention to the victims, as we should,” said Claire Minton, 12.

Thursday, Sept. 6, Cincinnati became a scene of violence. A man carried a bag with 250 rounds of ammunition and a Taurus 9 mm semi-automatic handgun. No motive can be found yet.

For about five minutes Omar Enrique Santa Perez terrorized Cincinnati’s landmark Fountain Square. Three people were killed and two were seriously injured. Video surveillance shows that the handgun jammed, perhaps preventing more deaths. Police shot and killed the man responsible.

Perez legally bought the handgun in August in the west side of Cincinnati. Yet, he had a record in South Carolina and southern Florida of misdemeanors.

People watch the news, hear about the latest shooting, and think how terrible. Yet, nothing is done to curb the violence. Now violence has come to Cincinnati, has marked the center of the city no less. Will now be the time for change, or will lawmakers pass this by too?

Lawmakers must establish laws that apply more stringent rules on buying semi-automatic guns. Those who have a record should be looked into soundly, with background checks and a mental examination, before being able to purchase a gun.

A magistrate judge called Perez described him as “rambling, difficult to decipher and (bordering) on delusional,” according to WCPO. Perez had raised federal lawsuits alleging that two companies (NBC Universal and TD Ameritrade) conspired to steal his information and broadcast it, though he had seeming no evidence to confirm this.

Additionally, Perez had no obvious intended victim or message to send; he was “firing shots at anyone he sees,” said Police Chief Eliot Isaac, according to CNN.

Yet, this person was able to purchase a semi-automatic handgun.

Cincinnati cannot forget the lives of Luis Felipe Calderon, Pruthvi Raj Kandepi, and Richard Newcomer. Nor the Fifth Third Vice President, who was shot 12 times and survived. Cincinnati must honor their memories by creating positive change.

This cannot become another senseless act of violence swept away with the passage of time. Though Fountain Square has become a “beacon of Cincinnati Strong,” according to WLWT, there have been 21 shooting victims in the Central Business district of Cincinnati alone since 2014.

How many shootings must there be before Ohio realizes that its gun laws are not working?

“I think the signal should have come a long time ago, but certainly now because people are reacting to this differently — it’s as if we pay more attention to it because it’s affecting our own city, when any tragedy should resonate the same way,” said Claire Minton, 12.

Though some pro-gun advocates worry that those trying to implement gun control are trying to ban all guns, that is not what gun control means. Gun control is having laws regulating who can purchase and gun, making sure that they are in hands that respect the power of a gun.

Currently, to buy a handgun in Ohio people do not need a permit to purchase, registration, or license. These laws are too negligent, and the visual representation came a little past 9:00 a.m. on Sept. 6.

“I want to see our city stand together and use this event as a push to make a change in gun control that is long overdue,” Minton said.

Thorough background checks and psychological tests should be conducted, therefore limiting the risk that a criminal with a violent record or a mentally ill person buying a semi-automatic gun. This may not have been the case for Perez, but if there was a psychological test people can only assume how he would have performed.

There does not need to be an intense psychological examination, just an assessment if a person can be trusted to have a gun.

“We can’t just keep letting these instances occur and then forget about them the next week. I want to see Cincinnati use this event as an incentive to push for legal changes in gun laws. But I think the Cincinnati shooting should be the final message to not only Ohio, but the country in regards to our gun laws. Because as of right now, they aren’t good enough,” said Miriam Chowdhury, 12.

SHS students are reacting like much of the city, posting the hashtag “Don’t Speak His Name” along with prayers for Cincinnati.

For a news brief on the shooting click here.