There Was Another Mass Shooting Last Night. My Sister Was Almost There.
I don't care what anyone says. I have not yet become "numb" to these mass shootings.
You hear it every time a shooting happens. "Again?" "Just another day in America." "Is this even shocking anymore?"
.. It's still shocking. It's still disturbing. I'm still affected. Anytime I see news of a shooting I'm still heartbroken.
When I got to work this morning and pulled up Twitter for the first time, I saw a headline "12 people dead in California bar shooting". I was immediately broken before even realizing it was a college night in Thousand Oaks, which is the town next to Malibu where my sister Josee is a freshman at Pepperdine.
I initially thought to myself that there's no way she could have been at that bar, because she's only 18. Then I realized that it was a specific 18+ night that targets many Pepperdine and California Lutheran University students.
In a situation like this, I'd normally be worried about my sister in the off-chance that she were there, but I talked to her last night. I called her on my way home from hosting an event and she was eating dinner in the cafeteria, going to watch the school basketball game with her friends and said she'd call me back after the game. I went to bed early and we're an hour ahead of west coast here in Boise, so I was asleep by the time she hit me back. But she said she was back at her dorm around 10:45p so I wasn't worried about her, just the situation.
She text me this morning when she woke up. She was at that same 18+ college night at that same Borderline bar in Thousand Oaks the week prior, and almost went last night again.
When I got that text from her, my heart broke. You start to think of what could've happened, how grateful you are that your loved one is safe. And then you're even more devastated for the families of the people who were there. Who didn't make it out.
My sister, like me, doesn't even listen to country music. I would've never expected her to be at a country college night. But they market to the local 18+ college students and she went as a fun night with her friends. They talked yesterday about going again last night and thank God they didn't.
Keke and I called her and she feels how I feel: it's shocking. It's unbelievable. She said there was one girl she knows who was still unaccounted for as of this morning. She had Great Books class with Alaina, a name you've probably heard today because she's the niece of Tia and Tamera Mowry. They were frantically trying to track her down overnight as no one had been in contact with her and she was last known to be at Borderline before the shooting. She has now been confirmed as one of the people killed. 19 years old. Freshman at Pepperdine. Gone.
You never know when something like this will hit close to home for you. And it's not the first time it's hit close to home for me. In 2014, there was a shooting at Marysville Pilchuck High School in Washington, the high school I graduated from. A freshman killed four students, wounded a fifth and then killed himself. You never expect that to happen in your hometown. You never expect that to happen at a bar your sister goes to. You never expect kids to be murdered at school. You just never expect these things to happen. But they happen, and they happen all the time.
Where do we go from here? How do we stop this? I'm no expert on gun reform. And I'm no expert on mental health. But there's got to be more discussions happening. There's got to be actual action. Because accepting this as part of American society is not okay. Accepting these mass shootings as another day is not okay.
As families and friends and communities mourn the deaths of 13 loved ones, the very least we can do is be kind. Be loving. Be open to talk and discuss these issues. Because something has to change.