The Thousand Oaks shooter should never have had a gun, but he obtained one legally

My high school is in the national news today. I never expected to see that. La Reina High School is a small all-girls Catholic school in the city of Thousand Oaks, the epitome of suburbia. A good place to raise your kids.

They’re having a blood drive for a shooting that happened at Borderline, a place famous for salsa and line and swing dancing. You could play pool. For a dive bar, it was fairly family friendly. They even had line dancing for kids 16 and up some nights. Those were fun — and something to do for those of us who were 16 and chomping at the bit to get to a bigger city.

My mom has gone there for salsa several times. Friends made it their hangout back in college when we were home for summers.

I’m sorry. My reaction to this tragedy feels small. I didn’t personally know anyone there. But it’s weird seeing the same story about a mass shooting from some troubled white man in his 20s with an easily-procured firearm go in and kill at least a dozen people. Only this time, I recognize the street names. It’s like the world’s shittiest game of mad libs.

Surely this time –– but no. Even though most of the deaths are young people aged 21-26, this will change nothing. Even though this man had a history of bad interactions with the police and PTSD, comments about this being a “gun-free” or about how we must protect the Second Amendment at all costs will still prevail. It makes me sick, to hear once again about so many lives lost and to focus first and foremost on the lobby paying you to keep their killing machines as available as ever.

This man should never have had a gun, but he obtained one legally. That is a failure of the laws on the part of the laws we have on the books. They must be changed. This must not be allowed to happen again.

Certain news outlets, like National Review, are staunch supporters of the Second Amendment, but even they must be tired of the same party line about the right to bear arms. I see no articles about the shooting this morning and relatively few about the Pittsburgh shooting. They’d rather not talk about it, because their refrains are getting stale. How do you explain the need for unfettered access to assault weapons to a mother whose son survived the Las Vegas shooting, only to lose him in the Thousand Oaks shooting? No, best to just politely stay out of the conversation.

The only silver lining I can see is that because this happened in California, I have more hope that some legislation to stem the tide of these shootings — say, stricter gun control, for example — will pass.

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Caitlin Cohen

Caitlin Cohen graduated from Boston University with a degree in History. She has written for DeadState for three and a half years. She technically speaks French. She lives in Los Angeles with her boyfriend and has big plans to one day get a dog.