Thursday, May 29, 2014

Isla Vista

We were a little hesitant to talk about the Isla Vista incident, but this happened in a place that Irene and I both called home. UC Santa Barbara is where Irene and I met, where we spent our formative college years. It's where we started Hermanas Unidas and developed lifelong friendships. As UCSB alumni watching the news unfold was heartwrenching. I thought about this from 2 different perspectives: as a student who spent some of my best years in Isla Vista and as a parent who will one day drop my child off in a town probably a lot like Isla Vista to start her college experience. 

The last thing we wanted to do was to bring more attention to such a horrid person. We also could not ignore it. Out of this tragedy there has come so much discussion on mental illness, gun control and the role of politicians and law enforcement in helping keep the public safe. Ensuring that something like this does not become common place. 

Whose fault is this?

Some might blame the politicians. I know the father of one victim (Christopher Martinez) has called out ineffective political leadership. He's spoken to the media distraught with emotion demanding that careless politicians actually enact change - for once and for all. He's angry and he wants his only child's life to have meant something. I feel his agony, and as a parent, I understand at least for a millisecond his pain. But his pain will last a lifetime. Politicians must change his child's legacy. They should honor his life and protect others as a by-product of Christopher's 20 short years on earth. Speak to your local politicians and remind them of Christopher's life cut so tragically short. Demand change!

Some may blame the shooter's parents. Why was this young man so full of hate, so able to exist in this way and so incredibly entitled? It's speculated he was spoiled. All the spoiling in the world doesn't equate love. What was his upbringing and could it have avoided this? No use in over analyzing his life now, but let's take a closer look at our own lives. How are we raising our children? Are they compassionate, open and loved. Do they stand by a strong moral compass naturally respecting the value of all human lives? Are we fully immersed in molding their personalities? Personalities that will illustrate love not hate and give peace not fear to this world?

Some blame society. This crime was anti-women and anti-humanity. These young adults lost their lives in what famed author and filmmaker Michael Moore calls "something so American!" How can this massive shooting became our country's norm. My husband is in an emergency preparedness course this month that is meant to train professionals for earthquakes and such and yet there's an entire section devoted to massive shooting instances. This is becoming a part of American history. What a downright shame. These acts must not be expected. I refuse to let this define what it is to be America and I'll share this sentiment with politicians, my children and anyone who will listen.

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Not one more!!!

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