For some, Nov. 7 is not a date we take lightly, but others who are new to campus might not think much about it. If that is you, then you should know by now that on Nov. 7, 2018 a mass shooting occurred at Borderline Bar & Grill down the street from our school. Not only was the school community affected, but the entire Thousand Oaks community was. It took a toll and left us with a long process of healing and grieving.
Thousand Oaks was ranked the third safest place to live in America in 2018 by Niche, an organization that researches and ranks U.S. cities by safety and livability, according to Insider.
This quickly changed after Borderline when Thousand Oaks was added to the long list of towns impacted by mass shootings in the United States.
In less than two months, the first anniversary of the Borderline mass shooting will pass and survivors know that the anniversary will be painful.
“It’s very surreal that the one year anniversary is coming up. I will definitely be coming back to Thousand Oaks for the anniversary and surround myself with all the Borderline friends that I can,” said California Lutheran University alum and Borderline survivor Theresa Taylor.
In light of the Borderline anniversary coming up, some of you might not know how to talk to Borderline survivors about it.
I’m here to tell you how you can help when speaking to those affected, and I should know because I’m a survivor of Borderline. If the survivor decides to speak to you about their trauma, be sure to listen. Do not ask them vulnerable questions such as, “Do you still have PTSD?” or “Did you see anybody die?” Simply listening to somebody about their story is almost a therapeutic way for the survivor to unload the trauma they’ve been through.
“Sometimes it is too painful to think about that night and all the people who have been affected by it. However, I know how strong this tragedy has made our community and I am so blessed to be a part of such a great community that comes together in times of need,” Taylor said.
While we acknowledge the community’s support, we are in fear of bringing the subject to light and triggering anyone’s feelings about it. Nonetheless, I see the need to speak about the mass shooting because we weren’t granted the time or platform to do so.
With the fires happening the next day and people already on edge about the shooting, many of us quickly left campus to escape the chaos. However, when we returned the chaos continued and the main campus was put on lockdown following the false notification of a bomb threat at nearby apartments.
These tragedies occuring immediately after the shooting prolonged the pain for many of us survivors, as well as for anyone else who may have been affected by it.
Throughout my healing process I had to learn how to speak to other survivors about it because everybody deals with turmoil in their own way. This took a lot of learning on my part.
“We as a community need to be kind to ourselves and mindful about how we feel as well as those around us,” said Borderline survivor and Cal Lutheran senior Fernan Diamse. “I’m aware that these feelings will carry well beyond this first anniversary but at the very least, I will try to keep my composure and let things out as needed, which is so much easier said than done.”
Have empathy and compassion, but don’t look at victims as broken. Instead of feeling sorry for those affected, actually doing something to help the community goes much further. Be somebody who others can rely on, talk to or even cry with because simply being there for somebody is more impactful than you know.