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Tuesday, April 05, 2016


by Howard Winn

ATHENS, Ohio — A Hocking County gun shop owner may have prevented a mass shooting at Ohio University in Athens, authorities said. John Downs, owner of a Logan gun shop, refused to sell a gun to 25-year-old James Howard. Howard passed a background check, but he made statements that indicated he may want to harm himself or others. “There was a red flag for me," Downs told ABC 6. "I won't allow that; I don't want that to be on me." Howard left the store angry after Downs refused to sell him a long gun. When Howard returned to the store more than an hour later, Downs hid his customers in a backroom, locked the store, and called 911. Police later arrested Howard at a nearby Walmart. He was buying camouflage clothing, gloves, and ammunition. Police found a .22-caliber rifle and mental health paperwork inside Howard's car. Authorities said Howard had purchased another weapon at an Athens gun store. "Apparently he was frustrated about something that happened at OU in Athens," Hocking County Sheriff Lanny North told ABC 6. "I believe [Downs] did prevent a mass shooting that was probably going to occur at Ohio University in Athens." . . . Howard is a former Ohio University student and hockey player. —, March 27, 2016. Image source: WBNS-TV.

No, not Greece, although it has
its share of terror both literal
and economic as Europe runs
amuck with collapsing economies
and murderers hiding in the
crowds of pathetic refugees
from war and other horrors.
It is actually domestic again
this time berserk athletic
response to humiliation of
a college hockey player whose
notion of self-worth depends
on the macho role of male
games which are not played
for fun but for fame and bucks
so the terror is part of Ohio
in the middle of America where
sports serve for our religion as
does the demoniac god of the
middle east some place with
no compassion outside of the
fearsome faith retrieved from
selected images out of the past
but in Ohio one can purchase
the tools of revenge at your
local big box store where
everything is for sale including
human conscience and scruples
and the necessity to kill can be
satisfied with just the swipe
of the modern credit card.

Howard Winn's work has been published in Dalhousie Review, The Long Story, Galway Review, Descant.  Antigonish Review, Straylight Literary Magazine, The Main Street Rag, Wisconsin Review, Harbinger Asylum, The 3288 Review, Stand, and Blueline. He has a novel being published in July 2016 by Propertius Press. His B. A. is from Vassar College. His M. A. is from the Stanford University Creative Writing Program and his doctoral work was done at N. Y. U. He is Professor of English at SUNY.