Well, after all that heady business of midterm elections, it's nice to know that we can get back to basics: A mass shooting. If it seems like just minutes since the last one, you would be right. Instead of screaming at each other about red and white and policy, we go back to screaming into the night about the blood on the floor.
Wednesday night, a lone gunman walked into the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, California and did what lone gunmen do: He opened fire. When it was all over, thirteen people were dead, including the shooter. Among the dead was Sergeant Ron Helus of the Ventura County Sheriff's Office. Sergeant Helus was one of the first on the scene, and was hit multiple times by the initial spray of bullets.
Sorry. That's a bit of hyperbole brought on by trying to describe another senseless murder. "Spray of bullets?" I embarrass myself, and I beg your forgiveness. There is no polite way to describe guns going off in close proximity to human beings or other animals. "Hail?" I think I used that one a week or so ago as I discussed the shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue. The synagogue whose name will now always have an ironic ring: Tree of Life.
Sorry. There I go again. I am trying to make some point by connecting the facts of the case with the tragedy itself. It's something humans do: Try and make sense. Which is why there will be yet another search for a motive. Why did this twenty-something walk into a bar and kill a dozen people? It matters most to those who lost a friend or loved one, but we all lean in to try and understand how such awfulness could erupt at a college-friendly watering hole in southern California.
The killer was a Marine who had previously been contacted by authorities earlier this year during a domestic dispute. He was evaluated by mental health professionals and deemed "not a threat." The handgun he used was purchased legally. And finally I apologize for writing any of this down, except it is the only way I know to try and make it fit into my world.
It should make sense.
But it doesn't.