Thousand Oaks, California experienced a deadly shooting Wednesday night at a popular country bar. The shooter was reportedly a Marine Corps Veteran, Ian David Long, 28, that stormed into the bar of close to 130 to 180 people while murdering 12 individuals including a sheriff’s deputy with a .45 caliber gun. After he encountered law enforcement officials moments after the incident, he took his own life. This is the second mass shooting in the past month since the Jewish massacre shooting in Squirrel Hill, Pennsylvania.
The “Borderline Bar and Grill” in Thousand Oaks held regular college nights on Wednesdays for students under 21. Some of the victims were also survivors from the Las Vegas Route 91 shooting that occurred in October of 2017.
During the Saturday morning of October 27th, a deadly shooting took place at the Tree of Life Jewish synagogue in Squirrel Hill – a community west of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. While believers were worshipping, gunman Robert Bowers, 46, walked in the synagogue armed with a Colt AR-15 rifle and three other handguns. He began shooting while spewing antisemitic remarks as others in the synagogue ran and hid from the bullets flying by. He fired the synagogue for a couple of minutes until law enforcement appeared outside. According to the Pittsburgh police, he exchanged gunfire with the police and barricaded himself until he finally surrendered.
Both of the shooters had predetermined ideas of committing mass murder. For instance, Bowers lived alone in Pittsburgh that would loathly profess bigotry online. According to the New York Times, he would post anti-immigrant and anti-Jewish conspiracy theories on a social media network, Gab, that welcomed white nationalists. Unlike Bowers, Long’s motive for the shooting is currently unknown; he was an introvert that suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder after serving in Afghanistan. At that time, he was reluctant to seek treatment for his mental illness.
Both communities came together in mourning of the lives lost in Squirrel Hill and Thousand Oaks.
The following Sunday after the Squirrel Hill attack, many communities of different faiths and backgrounds came together for a vigil and service in Pittsburgh to mourn the loss of their fellow neighbors at Squirrel Hill. Rabbi Jeffrey Myers gratefully stated to the U.S. nation “Thank you for the outpouring of love. It is reassuring when hate rears its face that there was so much love out there from complete strangers. And it’s not just been the country, it’s been the world and responsibility is to teach respect, love, and decency.” He also stated that the congregation won’t remain the same but it will “remain and will be stronger.”
While at Thousand Oaks, many of the Las Vegas survivors spoke about how they couldn’t believe that they are lucky to be alive for the second time in a row after surviving another mass shooting. Many others frantically wept while they reported their traumatic experience when they got out of the Borderline Bar and Grill alive.
Squirrel Hill has a 40% Jewish population, so since the attack the grief has filled slowly over the city as many were gathering together for shivas and funerals. As the Jewish community waits and mourns over this period of time, they are extremely grateful for the support they received outside of Squirrel Hill.
While on the opposite side of the country, Thousand Oaks, California is a conservative community well-known for its popularity involving military veterans and law-enforcement. They now come together to mourn over the loss of their family and friends.
Mass shootings like these create a horrific phenomenon that Americans are experiencing and expecting at any given time and place.