12 People Killed in California Shooting

It's been ten days since America's last mass shooting.

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12 People Killed in California Shooting

Ella Garnett, Editor

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Rushing out the door this morning, the cold air hit my face and I swung my arm into my backpack to grab my phone. The Washington Post notification immediately caught my eye, reading: “Gunman Kills at least 12 in ‘horrific’ Shooting at California Bar” A brief wave of shock passed over me, but news of a shooting is nothing less than routine.

At least 12 people were killed late Wednesday night at a dance and country bar in Thousand Oaks, California holding an event for college students. The gunman is dead but officials are unclear as to whether he took his own life or not. He has been identified as28 year old Ian David Long, a marine veteran. The popular country dance hall is not far from Pepperdine University, which many students hailed from. The bar was popular to college students because they held a weekly college night on Wednesdays where they let students under 21 in. The first shots were fired around 11:20 pm. In the bar filled with over 100 people, at least 23 sustained injuries. Many people present at the scene last night were regulars at the bar which is located 40 miles outside the greater L.A. area.  The suspect threw smoke bombs into the bar which lead many in the bar to believe the shots were firecrackers. 

A New York Times article said “that many of the people [a regular customer] believed were at Borderline on Wednesday night had attended the music festival in Las Vegas last year where dozens died. He was frantically calling friends early Thursday to try to confirm who was inside.”

Here are the names of the known victims:

Cody Coffman, 22

Sergeant Ron Helus, 54

Alaina Housely, 18

Justin Meek, 23

Noel Sparks, 21

Blake Dingman, 21

More names will be added as the victims are revealed in the coming days. Many of the people and victims at the bar were college students with their whole lives ahead of them. Students who expected a fun, lighthearted night suffered an unfathomable loss. It has been ten days since America’s latest mass shooting–a time difference that is sickening and ridiculous. These shootings can happen anywhere, at anytime, and are happening often. How can anyone in this country not agree that a change must be made? For those of you who chose not to vote this past Tuesday consider this: are you content with your complacency resulting in representatives being elected who don’t support gun control? Because that happened. The fact that there are people in this country who are not bothered enough by the deaths of thousands of innocents to change their views is deeply disturbing. Pro-gun people argue they have a right to guns, as part of their freedom, but if we do not have the freedom to safely enter public facilities–from schools to churches to synagogs to concerts to bars–what use is our freedom at all?

I know as journalists we are supposed to remain unbiased, but I can not fathom how the idea that people dying by gunfire can be construed as anything but devastatingly awful and an indicator of a deep rooted problem.

My deepest condolences to the families and friends of the 12 victims of the Borderline Bar shooting.