Tragedy in Thousand Oaks
November 8, 2018
We awoke this morning to a shocking – and shockingly familiar – story, innocent people gunned down in a mass shooting. This time it is nearby in Thousand Oaks. A bar filled with college students. Some of them had survived last year’s massacre in Las Vegas, thus experiencing two mass shootings in a one-year period. Only in America – or in active war zones. Twelve dead, others wounded. Among the dead is Ventura County Sheriff Department Sergeant Ron Helus, who entered the bar as a first responder in the hope he could save lives, and who leaves behind a wife and son.
Our hearts break again for the victims and their loved ones. We extend special sympathy to the other college and university communities that are coping with the death or injury of a student.
At this terrible time, it is good to remember that UCI Public Safety is committed to your safety and protection. We are prepared for a wide range of risks to campus, including the risk of an active shooter. Please take a moment to familiarize yourselves with our list of recommended actions http://police.uci.edu/em/procedures/active-shooter.php.
The counseling center provides a safe space to deal with the impacts of events such as this, and I encourage you to seek support if you find you are struggling to cope. You can call the center at 949-824-6457 or go to 203 Student Services Building I, on Ring Road across from Starbucks and next to the Career Center, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. If it is an emergency, please call 911. Click here for more information.
I hope you might reach out to one of our police officers, men and women who have pledged to risk their lives to protect us if we face this sort of threat. It is not an abstract pledge. I am grateful for their service and, like all police officers, they and their families are feeling the loss of Sergeant Helus.
We just had an election with outstanding voter turnout on our campus and throughout the nation. Let your voice be heard. Ask your representatives whether they believe this is a problem and, if so, how they plan to find a solution. Use your skills to evaluate their responses, and then support those who align with your beliefs. If there is a more promising path forward, it will come from the bottom-up, not the top-down.
Please support each other, widen your circle of friends, be a bit more forgiving of others, flood our community with good will and acts of loving kindness.
Let there be light.
Chancellor Howard Gillman