Ohio Rep. Candice Keller, R-Middletown

Lawmaker asked to resign after Facebook post about Dayton shootings

Ohio GOP Chairwoman Jane Timken said the Facebook post by Keller, a Middletown Republican, “was shocking and utterly unjustifiable” as the nation was in “utter shock over the acts of violence in El Paso and Dayton.”

“Our nation is reeling from these senseless acts of violence, and public servants should be working to bring our communities together, not promoting divisiveness,” she said.

INITIAL POST: Lawmaker says shooting due to family breakdown, gay marriage, video games

A spokesman for Timken said the chairman “is calling for Candice Keller to resign.”

Dayton police say suspected gunman Connor Betts, 24, allegedly killed nine people — including his sister, Megan — and wounded dozens of others just after 1 a.m. Sunday outside an Oregon District establishment. Police haven’t determined a motive for the shooting.

“Those people aren’t even buried yet, and she came out with these comments,” said Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones.

Screengrab of a Facebook post credited to State Rep. Candice Keller.

The sheriff said it’s a time to mourn as a community and praise the work of the responding police officers. It’s also time for Keller to resign, he said.

“She should resign because she doesn’t represent our party. She doesn’t represent any party,” said Jones, who is backing one of Keller’s opponents in her Ohio Senate bid.

Jones also said her post “is the most bizarre ranting that I’ve ever seen from anyone” and blamed “everybody for those deaths, everybody except somebody that looks like her.”

Keller said the call for her resignation is “the sheriff‘s ridiculous way of getting back at me” for “standing with firefighters” being critical of his attempt to control the Butler County Emergency Management Agency. 

Keller also said she’s “never had the support of the moderate party establishment because I beat their endorsed candidate. Conservatives like me take our case directly to the voters.”

Keller laid the blame in her post after a pair of mass shootings this weekend, including the Sunday shooting in Dayton, on “drag queen advocates,” open borders, policies of former President Barack Obama and “snowflakes who can’t accept a duly elected president.” 

Keller, as well as President Donald Trump and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, cite violent video games as a reason behind the mass shootings in the country.

Oregon District shooting: What you need to know this morning

But Christopher Ferguson, Stetson University (Fla.) associate professor and co-chair of Psychology, said evidence shows that “youth playing violent video games is not a risk factor for serious acts of aggression nor for violent crimes.”

“Looking at societal data, youth violence has declined by over 80 percent in the United States, despite the fact that the popularity of action-oriented games has skyrocketed,” he said. “Mass homicide perpetrators do not play more action games than other men or boys their age, if anything possibly less.”

Ferguson said politicians “do a great disservice” by indicating a correlation between violent crimes and violent video games “by fallaciously raising it whenever a perpetrator happens to be a young male.”

“There simply is no meaningful relationship here,” he said, adding the media psychology division of the American Psychological Association has called on politicians to stop linking violent crimes to video games.

Keller told this news organization Monday morning she had been advised “that I not leave my house” by the Ohio House’s security team because she has received threats, both in Columbus and at her Middletown home.

The Ohio House has canceled her appointments for the week, she said. The Middletown Division of Police went to her home Monday morning to take a threat report, according to Keller and the department.

A spokesperson for the Ohio House Majority said the office does not discuss security issues.

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