Numb. That’s the only word for it. California awoke this morning to reports of another mass shooting, this time in Thousand Oaks, a suburban community that prides itself on being among the safest cities in America. More than 100 people, many of them college kids, were in the Borderline Bar & Grill country dance bar when a man dressed in black walked in with some sort of smoke-generating device and opened fire with a .45-caliber Glock handgun, killing 11 people inside and Ventura County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ron Helus, one of the first law-enforcement officers to arrive, before dying of a gunshot himself.
Motive? Too soon to say. Was the gun bought legally? Again, that’s the kind of detail that will filter out in the coming hours and days. Preventable? That answer ranges from apparently not to who the hell knows?
Numb. The Gun Violence Archive reports that gunmen have shot and killed 26 people, including the Thousand Oaks victims, in California alone over just the last three days. Since the first of the year, gunmen nationwide have taken the lives of 133 people in 22 mass killings, defined as incidents in which at least four people are killed. No place seems safe. In recent years Americans have been gunned down en masse in schools and houses of worship, music venues and in their own homes. The shooters have been motivated by racism, by rage over politics, by mental illness; in some cases, their reasons remain inscrutable.