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A Safe Place

Dave Randall

Posted on November 12, 2018 21:52

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That's what Thousand Oaks, California was before November 7th. That's what it will remain.

I was asked to share my thoughts about the events of these last several days, in that the city listed with my byline is T.O...that's what anyone who's lived there calls Thousand Oaks, California.

I moved to T.O. in January of 1999 to be closer to my radio job in L.A., and remain in Ventura County. I left, against my desire, really, in August of 2016, two years after being pushed out of that same job. For nearly 18 years, I experienced the beauty, the serenity, the chilly winter nights and hot summer days of the Conejo Valley. It's a safe place. When you walk the streets you fear nothing, you don't see dogs without leashes, you're intoxicated by the hillsides. It is a beautiful place to be.

That's what makes the mass shooting at Borderline Bar and Grill so shocking. In Thousand Oaks, for all the years I was there, you could leave your back door open in a sleep-deprived haze, and stand a 95% chance of coming home to your belongings.  In the Ralph's on Moorpark Road where I shopped  every Tuesday, I was frequently mistaken for "The guy who plays the lawyer on Seinfeld?" It amused me. I wish I had Phil Morris' money--I wouldn't have had to leave.

Borderline is the only after hours bar in T.O. that I know of. The rest of the town turns in by 11pm. It's nestled between another building and trees (oaks, of course) that line the 101 Freeway. You won't know it's there unless you're looking for it. The problem was that this young man, who apparently had emotional problems dating back before his tour in the Marine Corps, knew exactly where he was going. 

T.O. was a safe place before Borderline happened, and it is safe from elements other than Mother nature, today. The fires raged in the hills and exclusive neighborhoods, compounding the sledgehammer effect of the murders. Not the first time Santa Ana winds have caused damage, stoked fear, and reigned ash over T.O. This time, they were like salt in an open wound.

Truth be told, I wish I were still there. That not being possible, right now, I can offer the world my assertion that the city of Thousand Oaks will recover, what has been burned will be rebuilt, broken hearts will go on, and the innocent lives taken will never be forgotten. At some point, everyone will agree that, as a country, as a community of human beings, we have to make certain those with a disturbed background are denied access to lethal firearms. The only fear I have is that will never happen. 

Dave Randall

Posted on November 12, 2018 21:52

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This week, the Thousand Oaks Teen Center opened its doors to help Borderline shooting survivors and Woolsey fire evacuees.

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