Shooting at Bar in Thousand Oaks, California

Sophia Acuna, Author

A shooting at the Borderline Bar & Grill in the once-safe city of Thousand Oaks, California, left at least 12 dead last Wednesday night. The shooting was added to the long list of now 307 mass shootings (the murder of three or more people with no cooling-off period in between) in the US this year.

It was country college night at the Borderline Bar & Grill. A gunman approached the bar and shot the security guard outside the bar. The gunshot was at first mistaken as fireworks or part of the music by patrons inside the bar; however, when more gunshots were heard as the gunman continued shooting inside the bar, patrons quickly realized the dreadful truth: this was a mass shooting.

Authorities are still trying to figure out the motive behind the shooting. The gunman, Ian David Long, was a 28-year-old veteran. Some have attributed his PTSD from his time in the army to the reason behind the violence, but this has been debunked; “PTSD doesn’t create homicidal ideation,” says Thomas Burke, a pastor who served in the same Marine Corps regiment as Long. “We train a generation to be as violent as possible, then we expect them to come home and be OK. It’s not mental illness. It’s that we’re doing something to a generation, and we’re not responding to the needs they have.”

Around the time of the shooting, Long posted to Facebook: “I hope people call me insane… (laughing emojis).. wouldn’t that just be a big ball of irony? Yeah.. I’m insane, but the only thing you people do after these shootings is ‘hopes and prayers’.. or ‘keep you in my thoughts’… every time… and wonder why these keep happening…” So far, there is no clear motive.

The victims of the Thousand Oaks shooting.

The victims include Ron Helus, a 54-year-old police officer, killed as he tried to stop the gunman; Noel Sparks, a 21-year-old member of the United Methodist Church Westlake Village; Dan Manrique, a 33-year-old veteran of the Marine Corps; Justin Meek, a 23-year-old recent graduate of California Lutheran University with plans to join the US Coast Guard; Cody Coffman, a 22-year-old who was the head umpire of a local baseball league; Alaina Housley, an 18-year-old student of Pepperdine University; Telemachus Orfanos, a 27-year-old survivor of the shooting at the Route 91 music festival in Las Vegas last year; Sean Adler, a 48-year-old bouncer at the Borderline Bar & Grill and former wrestling team coach of Royal High School; Mark Meza Jr., 20; Blake Dingham, 21; Jacob Dunham, 21; and Kristina Morisette, 20.