In his latest act of leadership, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has signed into law a so-called "stand your ground" bill, which will make Ohio the 36th state in the union where people won't be required to retreat before shooting and killing those they perceive to be threatening them.
Stand your ground laws are recognized as dangerous, wacko policy; they have been shown to lead to increased homicides and injuries across demographics while having a disproportionate impact on communities of color. It will be lost on no one that DeWine's decision follows months of sustained demands for racial justice.
The ardently religious Ohio governor claims to be bummed out that the radical menagerie flailing maskless through the statehouse didn't manage to include in the bill "essential provisions" which would have made it harder for "dangerous criminals" to get their hands on guns. But he went ahead and signed the bill anyway. He said doing so was in keeping with his campaign promises, which evidently had to do with removing ambiguity from Ohio's self-defense law.
DeWine's current disgusting gambit — trading Ohio lives for 2022 electoral support from an increasingly fringe rightwing base — is all the more depraved because it arrives less than 18 months after the mass shooting in Dayton which killed nine people and injured 17 others. In the wake of that tragedy, DeWine pretended to give a shit about gun control. He attended a vigil there, where Dayton residents implored him to "do something" about the spate of gun violence.
Instead, DeWine has caved to a dangerous constituency, and signed a law that will lead to more deaths.
Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley saw the move for what it was.
"I can't express my level of disappointment," she wrote in a statement. "Gov. DeWine came to our city and stood on stage for a vigil for our murdered friends and neighbors, and then told us he stood with us in our fight against gun violence. Now it seems he does not."
Whaley accused DeWine of going against his own principles and caving to "extreme elements" in his own party.
"Our state needs principled leaders who will stand up for what is right," she wrote, "not what is politically easy."
This story originally appeared in our sister paper the Cleveland Scene