After three days of intense news coverage, student residents of the UC Santa Barbara community of Isla Vista are growing weary of reporters and TV camera crews who had descended on the coastal town after Friday’s rampage.
By Monday afternoon, several UC Santa Barbara students had blocked the front windows of I.V. Deli Mart in Isla Vista with white closet doors. The deli is where mass killer Elliot Rodger fatally shot Christopher Michaels-Martinez, bringing to six the number of his victims.
More than a dozen reporters were camped out on Pardall Road in front of the deli -- and had been for days, their cameras and lights and gear taking up an entire lane of the street. At one point, police officers showed up to ensure that tensions did not boil over.
The students stared straight-faced at reporters. Some held signs expressing their frustration with the news media:
“OUR TRAGEDY IS NOT YOUR COMMODITY.”
“Remembrance NOT ratings.”
“Stop filming our tears.”
“Let us heal.”
“NEWS CREWS GO HOME!”
Across the street, a crowd gathered to watch. Some students sat on the curb, holding flowers to add to the large memorial in front of the deli. Others went up slowly, adding their tributes to the pile.
Behind the row of reporters, a young man in workout clothes knelt. He buried his face in his arm, his shoulders shaking as he cried.
Another man stepped forward from the crowd, knelt down and put his arm around him. A woman in the crowd went around to the other side and did the same.