Another day, another shooting, but this one is in my own beloved town in the middle of the day. This shooting, with seven people dead so far (5 pm), had two of the typical hallmarks of these daily shootings: (1) a gun; and (2) a relationship to family violence.
In summary, the shooter started by setting his father's house on fire while his father and brother were inside. Then he drove around the neighborhood shooting cars (usually with women in them) and buses at several locations. He killed at least two people at the corner of 19th and Pearl. Then he went over to Santa Monica College and fired some shots there, killing at least one other person before he was killed by the police.
Meanwhile all the local schools were locked down, and friends who live near the rampage route are sad, scared, and traumatized. According to the robocall I received an hour ago, Santa Monica High School's graduation will still take place. President Obama made it to Palm Springs without incident.
When the incident began, I was talking on the phone to a friend who lives next door to the house that was burned down. That's how things happen in a small town, even one that is in the midst of a big city like Los Angeles. When the news says an address, you think about who you know who lives near there. When you see a woman talking about being shot at while driving down a neighborhood street, you think "it could have been me or one of my friends."
What I do know is that no one I know has an assault weapon, like the one used today. I am thinking that the weapon he has is illegal here in California, so it was probably unregistered. I am further convinced that background checks and registration must become a national priority.
I am also thinking that divorces shouldn't end with one brother going with each parent, and allowed to fester to the point where burning the house down, with brother and father in it, seems like an option.
There will be the usual laudatory statements about our local law enforcement and fire department personnel, and that will probably be translated into more firepower for the SMPD in the city budget, slated for adoption on June 25. I'd rather see more funding for violence prevention and conflict resolution. Maybe we could use a gun buyback program here in this affluent beach town.
It's one of those days that will live on in our memories, and will change our lives in ways we can't yet imagine.