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Opinion

Opinion: San Bernardino is also a victim in this mass shooting

US-CRIME-SHOOTING

People evacuated from the Inland Regional Center walk from buses into the Rock Church and World Outreach Center after a mass shooting at the facility Wednesday in San Bernardino.

 

(PATRICK T. FALLON / AFP/Getty Images)

As I write this, we don’t know yet the names of the victims of today’s mass shooting in the Inland Empire, only that there were at least 31 of them -- 14 killed and 17 wounded.

Well, that’s not true. We know the name of at least one victim: San Bernardino.

This shooting would be tragic no matter where it happened, but as I watched the unfolding news story on Twitter and, of course, LATimes.com on Wednesday afternoon, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the city in which the Inland Regional Center resides. Hasn’t it suffered enough?

This working-class city on the eastern edge of the great Los Angeles basin has been the subject of so much bad news lately you could call it Bad News Berdoo. Among other things, it has the distinction of being the poorest city in of its size in California -- and the second poorest in the U.S. after Detroit. Its urban core is crumbling, literally, and afflicted with rampant drug use and despair. The city survived bankruptcy but it is suffering the after affects and subsequent political upheaval. (Joe Mozingo’s superbly written series this year paints the sad portrait of San Berdoo.)

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On top of all this, people can’t even spell its name. One trending Twitter hashtag Wednesday was #sanbernadino (without the “r”).

If you’ve ever spent any time in San Bernardino as I have (recently, as former opinion editor for the S.B. Sun and the other eight Los Angeles News Group papers, and distantly, as a young reporter for various inland newspapers), you know that there is loveliness to this city as well as grit. Beautiful vistas of the namesake mountains tower above tidy neighborhoods, a state university campus and a once-bustling downtown where, in 1989, I ate my very first In-n-Out burger.

Follow live updates of the San Bernardino shooting >> 

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And there are still many people who want to call this city home and are fighting for its revitalization. There’s even an strong collection of local young artists/activists here. (Side note: If I were a billionaire, I would buy out downtown and build entry-level lofts and cafes. There are so many young people in the Inland Empire interested in a more urban lifestyle than the suburban tract neighborhoods provide.)

Now this happens. Just doesn’t seem fair.

mariel.garza@latimes.com

Follow me @marielgarzaLAT

MORE ON THE SHOOTING

Shooting in San Bernardino: What happened where

VIDEO: Luis Gutierrez talks about his wife, who saw San Bernardino shooter

San Bernardino: Shot three times, man calls father and wife to say ‘I love you... Don’t worry’

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