Two months ago, a young man went on a killing spree in Isla Vista, California, near the campus of University of California, Santa Barbara. He killed six people and injured 13 others before committing suicide.
I was sad to hear the news of yet another mass shooting. This time it was so close to home. The day after it happened, I read every article about the Isla Vista community, the shooter, and the victims in the Los Angeles Times. If I remember correctly, there were at least four in the paper.
The killer was out for revenge on women for rejecting him and on men for living a better life than him, according to a video he had posted on YouTube entitled “Retribution.” He had also written a 140-page account of his life titled “My Twisted World”
Whenever a mass killing occurs, everyone is left looking for solutions and wondering what could have been done, myself included.
Should there be more restrictions on guns? Were there any signs that could have showed a plan of attack? What can be done to help improve mental heath-care in the the United States? How can parents help their children, especially if they are over 18?
The last question is one the father of the Isla Vista killer is grappling with as he explains in this interview with Barbara Walters.
A close friend and I visited Santa Barbara last month. In a few weeks she’ll be moving there for school.
While we were walking around the small Isla Vista community, we came across a makeshift memorial. I took a few pictures on my camera and phone because I wanted to somehow remember it. I don’t mean to be morbid, but I wanted to be able to show others and somehow express my thoughts as I’m trying to now.
I wish there was some way to make sure this never happens again. Unfortunately, this wasn’t even the first mass killing in Isla Vista. In 2001, the son of a director ran over five people, killing four of them.
Mass killings are something that could happen any where. It seems that no town is safe from them. But I’m honestly a little nervous about my friend moving to this place.
I have no solutions to offer, no call to action. If you do, let me know. I’m still left wondering.
4 thoughts on “Remembering the Santa Barbara shooting”
Thank you so much for writing about this, Erin. It seems like people forget about these tragedies very easily. Although I do think that it is very important to have a conversation about gun control, and mental health, I think there are other issues that people are ignoring when talking about this particular incident.
Being that I work for an organization that strives to end violence against women, my peers and I had several conversations about this particular event in relation to that topic. I think many times we fail to notice that most of the people that commit these crimes are men, and one way that we work towards preventing this type of violence is by promoting healthy masculinity within our culture. The shooter obviously saw the women around him as objects, and believed that they “owed” him sex and love. He also believed that the way to show off his “masculinity” was to commit these acts of violence. That being said, I’m sure many others could pick out several other things that we need to change in order to prevent these types of crimes from happening.
Again, thank you so much for writing about this and making sure these issues remain relevant. I’m loving all of the insightful posts you’ve been writing lately.
Thank you so much for your comment. I’ve been taking a while to write back because I’ve been thinking about it so much.
You bring up some very good points. I was thinking, too, about how most of the people that commit these crimes are men. I was trying to figure out why, even though not all the cases have been about getting revenge on women. You’re right, it goes back to masculinity. I’m glad you brought up the point of healthy masculinity. I’ll have to look more into that and how people are promoting it. Sometimes masculinity is blamed, even though I don’t think it’s inherently bad, if that makes sense.
The fact that this tragedy happened where it did really goes to show it can happen anywhere. Look at Newtown—one of the safest, most quiet towns around… until it wasn’t. Every time I read another story about a suicide jumper or police brutality or fires or shootings right here in L.A., I’m reminded just how much more at-risk anyone in a city is. But we’re all susceptible, and that’s why it’s up to everyone to change the narratives ingrained in our society, like the commenter above me mentioned. If only it weren’t so complicated.
I totally agree, the fact that we’re all susceptible is even more of a reason for all of us to be a part of making things change. Santa Barbara is a college town and nice vacation spot with a crime rate lower than the state and national average. I actually just looked this up and was surprised to find that out because from what I was hearing after the shootings, I thought maybe it wasn’t that safe of an area. UCSB has a reputation for being a party school and there are some big parties in the area every year. In April, the street party known as Deltopia led to arrests and violence. But you’re right, for the most part it’s safe. And mass killings aren’t specific to any one area or type of place.