By Lisa Powell
Victims of the Oregon District mass shooting are among the stories The Dayton International Peace Museum has partnered with the Facing Project to release a book chronicling stories of gun violence in the community.
The book, “Facing Gun Violence: It’s Always Close to Home for Someone,” with an Aug. 1 release date, is a collection of 16 stories dictated by gun-violence survivors to volunteer writers.
A companion podcast produced by The Facing Project called “A Shooting in the Heartland,” can be found on the National Public Radio website.
Among the stories are first-hand accounts of the Oregon District mass shooting that took place Aug. 4 last year.
Dion Green relives the night he, his girlfriend, and his father went to the Oregon District. The evening started out with dancing but ended with a gunman in a black mask killing his father, Derrick Fudge.
As Jason Phillips, a bouncer at Ned Pepper’s made his body as small as possible behind a rubber trash can during the shooting, he realizes his one-year-old daughter is too young to remember him if he dies.
Tom McMurtry, a recently retired police officer at Sinclair Community College, details his attempts to aid victims of the shooting and cover those he could not with a white sheet.
Sharing the personal stories of gun violence is important because they often get lost in statistics and political debates, said Kevin Kelly, the executive director of the Dayton International Peace Museum.
“It happens every single week in this country,” he said. “I think that’s why people can often get numb and almost shut themselves off from the victims and the families that are so affected by these things.”
The collection also includes a story about John Crawford III, the 22-year-old Fairfield man was shot to death Aug. 5, 2014, by Beavercreek police Officer Sean Williams.
A 911 caller told dispatchers a black man was holding a rifle, appeared to be loading it, and waving it near people. Crawford was holding a Crosman MK-177 BB/pellet rifle that he found unboxed on a store shelf.
The Facing Project is a nonprofit community story-telling organization that helps create “a more understanding and empathetic world through stories that inspire action,” according to the website.
J.R. Jamison and Kelsey Timmerman, the founders of The Facing Project, spent six months collaborating with the Peace Museum on the book and podcast.
They have included three stories from the book about the Oregon District shooting on the podcast and an interview with Mayor Nan Whaley.
The book will be sold on Amazon for $12 and also available on Kindle. It will also be sold at Bonnett’s Books, 502 E. Fifth St. and Heart Mercantile, 438 E. Fifth St. in Dayton.
The Dayton International Peace Museum will premiere a short film on its Facebook page with three stories from the book, Tuesday, Aug. 4 at noon. The film is produced by the theater department at Sinclair Community College.
The museum is also working on plans for a future virtual book read program.