You don't know what it's like until it happens to you.
Yesterday, my hometown was the place of the 307th mass shooting this year alone. It happened at the most popular bar and dancing place in town. Going to Borderline is like a right of passage. When you turn 18, it's one of the first places you can go. The shooting occurred on college night.
As a college student who has been there and had fun there, it felt safe and like home. I feel sad and confused because I could have been there. I am a college student and many of my favorite times are from that place.
Thousand Oaks is the 3rd safest city in America and is a place my parents brought my sister and I to in order to make sure we felt safe. Well today, I feel like that safety was stripped away. When I had a friend ask me did I hear what happened in my hometown, I told her, "what did someone cut down another tree?" because nothing too big every happens in Thousand Oaks. I would give anything for that to be the headline. Today, I spent all my time calling my friends and receiving frantic calls from people trying to make sure I'm safe. Today and for a while, when I say my hometown everyone is going to know where it is because of what took place here.
I've watched all the mass shooting happen this year on TV. I've prayed a prayer for them and hoped for healing. You never know how it feels until it is in your hometown and you know people who were in that building. You never know until you realize you could have been there too.
I don't understand how it takes this long for there to be a change. There needs to be a change in the wake of this year. If we can't make a change after Sandy Hook, I don't know what this country is doing. I am proud to be from Thousand Oaks because of the support and love my community is showing, but right now I am not proud to be from a country that isn't willing to do what's necessary to keep their citizens safe. I shouldn't be afraid to go out to a bar, the movies, to school, and be shot. No kid should feel afraid and wish for their safety. Safety should be a given and in Thousand Oaks it was.
As someone who never thought this could happen to their hometown, please make a change. Please be like Atticus Finch and put yourself in someone else's shoes and fight for this change with us. The kids who come after me shouldn't be fearful and shouldn't grow up with this being normal. It shouldn't happen to any more communities. It shouldn't have happened in the first place.
Last year, I heard a presentation where the campus police said it's not "if" a shooting will happen it's "when" it will happen. I thought he was being dramatic and that it's his job to think that way, but today, I know he was telling the truth. My heart is heavy and I'm so tired of this bullshit.
If you would like to donate to the families of the victims here is the link. Please keep Thousand Oaks in your thoughts and prayers.