“It’s a testament to how we can be there for each other in these times of grief,” Ohio native and famous performer John Legend told a crowd at Blind Bob’s Bar on Sunday night in Dayton after singing “Bridge Over Troubled Water”.
Legend sang the song to the gathering of victims’ families and community workers
at the bar a week after a gunman killed nine people and injured dozens in the early morning hours of August 4. The bar was in Dayton’s historic Oregon District, the area where the mass shooting took place.
But Legend wasn’t just there to sing. He also came to lend his star power to the fight against the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) considerable power and influence in the U.S as well as the shootings – what he called “preventable traumas”.
“My direct message to legislators, to the president, to all of them, is the NRA doesn’t represent America,” Legend said in a news conference with Dayton, Ohio Mayor Nan Whaley (D). “How many more people have to be killed for us to realize that this isn’t working? If you claim to represent the interests of the American people, then you need to be doing your job in a way that makes everyone safer.”
The president has claimed that he could get enough Republicans together to support legislation strengthening background checks (despite the Republican-controlled Senate’s refusal to vote on a similar House measure before). The president also thinks that he can control the NRA and convince them to also drop their opposition to enhanced background checks.
“We have to be able to live without the fear of being shot … We don’t have to live like this,” Legend said at the news conference in Dayton. “We’ve heard politicians send their thoughts and prayers while failing to act. We’re done with that.”