When I moved to the United States at 6 years old, I moved to Thousand Oaks and have resided there ever since. It's a small but safe town and everyone basically knows one another. For the last 15 years of living there, I never felt unsafe even when would walk by myself to school, work, the gym, and other places in the daytime and even the nighttime. Although there was a very slow rise in crime and in the homeless population in the last few years, I still never felt unsafe living there.

My hometown was ranked the #3 safest city in the NATION until last week, Wednesday at approximately 11:20 PM when a gunman came into a very popular bar in town and killed 12 people and injured dozens from my community.

One of my coworkers messaged in a group chat that had many of my old coworkers included in it stating that she heard there was a shooting at Borderline Bar and Grill, which is where a majority of those coworkers go to frequently.

I grew worried since many of them did not reply immediately but as soon as they replied, I was relieved they were all safe as they chose not to go that night.

But not knowing what was happening, who got out safely, who got injured, and who got killed was what kept me up until 4 A.M.

By 4 A.M, 12 deaths were confirmed and I tried to sleep it off, hoping that the shooting didn't happen and it was just a nightmare. But after only three hours of sleep, I woke up knowing that this nightmare was unfortunately a tragic reality.

Although I only very briefly knew of one of the individuals who lost their lives, it hurt me so much to know that they were gone. My friends and the my community lost people who were their friends, their children, their significant others, their parents, their acquaintances and also lost their overall sense of safety.

Even though I understand why people don't want to get political over a tragedy of this magnitude, there is a real need to do so to prevent more of these tragedies from happening.

I'm not saying at all that taking all guns is the answer but a reform in gun control is what this country needs. Especially when our sense of safety is at risk wherever we go. Politicians should not be bought by companies with heavy pro-gun agendas such as the NRA to prevent changes to occur considering the many lives that have been lost due to gun violence.

We live in a society here in the United States that is normalizing these mass shootings because of how frequent they happen and where they happen. They are mainly occur in public spaces in which people tend to never think anything of that magnitude could happen yet it is happening. Places such as schools, malls, movie theaters, nightclubs, music festivals, and bars in calm cities aren't as safe as we wish they were.

I do not mean to offend anyone but as kind as thoughts and prayers are, they couldn't have prevented so many tragedies nor will they never drastically change anything as much as reform and action will.

Rest in peace to the twelve angels our community lost on the night of November 7, 2018.

Here are their names:

Sgt. Ron Helus, 54

Cody Hoffman, 22

Justin Meek, 23

Sean Adler, 48

Blake Dingman, 21

Noel Sparks, 21

Daniel Manrique, 33

Jake Dunham, 21

Telemachus Orfanos, 27

Kristina Morisette, 20

Alaina Housley, 18

Mark Meza, 20

#ThousandOaksStrong #BorderlineStrong