By: Matthew Melchor
Around 11:00 pm on November 7, a small country music bar in Thousand Oaks, California became the location for yet another mass shooting. According to the Gun Violence Archive, this is the 307th mass shooting in the United States in 2018. The Gun Violence Archive classifies mass shootings as, “a single incident in which four or more people are shot and/or killed at the same general time and location.”
At approximately 11:00 that night, Ian David Long drove his mother’s car from Newbury Park, California, where he lived, to Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, California. Wearing all black, he walked towards the bar armed with a Glock 21 equipped with an extended magazine, taking the round capacity of the gun from 13 shots to 26. As he approached the entrance, he shot the security guard and cashier at the entrance and tossed a smoke bomb through the doorway, causing mass panic. He then began to shoot into a crowd of about 40 people who hid under tables, ran for exits, and broke windows to escape. As police arrived just 3 minutes after the incident started, Long shot and killed Ventura County Sheriff deputy Sgt. Ron Helus and injured a California Highway Patrol officer. Long then turned the gun on himself and was found dead on the scene from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The worst news to come out of this shooting was the deaths of 12 innocent victims. Many witnesses to the mass shooting in Las Vegas, which took the lives of 59 people, took to this bar after the shooting. California resident, Telemachus Orfanos, survived the shooting almost a year ago in Las Vegas, but sadly lost his life in the bar that night. Another victim, 23-year-old Justin Meek, had recently graduated from California Lutheran University and was planning to join the United States Coast Guard. Cody Coffman, a 22-year-old local baseball league umpire, was expecting to become a big brother within the next few months. “Cody was the big brother that my kids need. He was so excited to have his first sister, and now she’ll never know,” his father, Jason Coffman, stated in a press conference Thursday. While these are only 3 of the 12 victims from the shooting, there are now 12 stories that will go untold. A daughter who will not meet her big brother, a United States soldier who will not serve his country, and a shooting survivor who unfortunately passed in a second incident. While this may only be the fifth mass shooting in the United States this calendar year with more than 10 deaths, that may be 5 too many. With Pittsburgh still in the minds of most Americans, the last thing the country needed was more of the same.