BURNING AWAY THE CHAFE
I live and work in the Newbury Park, Thousand Oaks; two adjoining communities in Southern California. We’ve had a week from hell. A mass shooting in our small community in a bar we’ve all patronized – Borderline. The shooter mowed down 12 people, mostly 20 something year old young adults.
A co-worker of mine who also works at Borderline witnessed the shooter murder his friends, and survived the massacre himself. Mind you, this wasn’t his first hellacious rodeo, he was also present at the Vegas shooting. That young man is also in his twenties.
With less than six degrees of separation in these tight knit communities, all of us knew some of the victims, worked with them, or have kids that went to school with them. The shooter was a member of the community as well; a young man who posted in between rounds of ammunition, “ Yeah… I’m insane, but the only thing you people do after these shootings is ‘hopes and prayers’…or ‘keep you in my thoughts’.”
That should have been more than enough, but then the Woolsey fire started in Newbury Park. Campfire, Woolsey’s bigger, badder sister had already begun in Northern California . As of this writing 1000 people unaccounted for, and thousands of homes burned are to ash.
Here’s what I saw rise from these tear streaked ashes. This is a staunchly conservative area, peppered with deep of pockets of strong liberals, of which I am one. But this week, all of that melted away. To carry on in any other fashion besides being the best kind of human beings that grab each other’s hands in support and love and offer help, shelter, candlelight vigils, and whatever else is needed would be wrong. Capital “W”.
Anything else besides the swiftest actions, the strongest love for our fallen children and their families is nonsense. In these times, what matters is offering strength and letting the tears fall. How else do you honor fallen children than by promising we will do better. We promise we will. Times like this call for action, and Grace. Big Grace.
The funerals of the people massacred at Borderline are still occurring daily. There is still smoke in the air. My boys and I celebrate my son’s 22nd birthday this weekend. Two boys that he went to middle school with were killed in the shooting. I am heartbroken for them and grateful that my son is celebrating his birthday.
The heat and the horror of what happened last week has melted the division away, at least for now. Grief and shock level the playing field, and we lay down our labels and remember we are human beings that cohabitate. We are one tribe. That is bigger than any wall of hate that can be placed between us.
Our fallen deserve our rememberance and our undivided attention.
Photo Credit: David McNew