It has only been three weeks since the Nov. 8 shooting at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks — the horrifying event where 15 people tragically died after an ex-Marine opened fire in a bar during a college-night event.
As someone whose hometown is Thousand Oaks, I never thought the second-safest city in America would ever endure a mass shooting.
As someone who lost an old friend in the Borderline shooting, I never thought I would lose anyone to gun violence.
How quickly people have seemed to forget this terrible shooting is both disappointing and disturbing.
The days following the shooting, many people took to social media, writing supportive tweets with the hashtag #805Strong and vocalizing how horrible it is that some survivors of the Las Vegas Massacre Oct. 1, 2018, were also present at Borderline. Others reached out to elected officials to demand gun control.
Now, that activist energy is diminishing. I see few people vocalizing their anger on social media and no one is sending out their “thoughts and prayers” anymore.
While “thoughts and prayers” are a nice gesture, and I believe in the power of prayer, that alone will not cause drastic change without action from people.
Instead of sitting back and doing nothing but hoping for the best after a shooting, action must continually be taken until the government implements change and people can go to school, out with their friends or to dance without being fearful of getting shot.
It can be overwhelming to ask yourself what actions you can take to help end gun violence in America but the Parkland, Florida, student-activists provide a great example of how to continue to react months after a shooting occurs.
The Parkland shooting occurred Feb. 14 when a former student open fired at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and killed 17 students.
During the summer, many student survivors traveled across the United States to visit 80 communities to encourage young adults to register to vote so they could make an impact by voting for gun control.
People are still contributing to the Parkland community by fundraising. One million dollars was recently raised in order to create artwork for the community.
While that may seem small, this provides healing to the community and any type of activism is seen by the government and the rest of the world.
With the recent romaine lettuce epidemic, it is baffling to think after four people died from eating a vegetable the government did their best to put a stop to people purchasing romaine lettuce, but after all the lives lost this year, crickets are chirping in government offices when it comes to gun law reform.
Throughout history, drastic change can be seen when people speak up and fight for what they believe. Think of civil rights and women’s rights. Without the protests that occurred and people joining together to share their opinions, change may have been delayed or never happened at all.
Continue to remember the shootings that occurred and don’t stop talking or posting about the shootings that have happened.
Don’t let the victims of gun control be forgotten — speak about them. If you can donate to a nonprofit that helps the families or towns that have been affected, do so. Many organizations are currently making T-shirts, stickers and bracelets to honor the victims of the Borderline shooting and to help raise money.
Lastly, protesting or speaking up about gun control will force the government to pay attention to what is going on in the world outside its bubble.
The sad truth is we are living in a world where a mass shooting can happen anywhere and to anyone.
Do not wait until it is too late to care, you never know if a shooting will affect your hometown, yourself, or a loved one — rally for change.