Warning: This interview contains moments that may be hard to watch for some people.
Just moments after a lone gunman opened fire in a Thousand Oaks bar on Wednesday night, a local news station interviewed one of the survivors.
Understandably emotional, the man talks about his survivor’s guilt, apologizing to the victims he wasn’t able to help after rescuing his stepson from the tragic mass shooting.
“I should have stayed until he changed his clip but I was worried about my boy. But I should have stayed. I apologize,” the man says. “They’re all young. I’m 56. I’ve lived a life. This shouldn’t have happened to them.”
Over and over, the man emphasizes how those who were shot were mostly young and innocent people, simply out enjoying their lives.
“He’s shot the front door bouncer, just a young man,” he says. “He shot the cashier, just a young girl. It was just some low-life taking lives that shouldn’t have been taken. There were young people, like 18, 19, 20, just having a great time.”
The journalist interviewing him repeatedly tries to reassure the man that there was nothing more he could have done, even reaching out to physically comfort him as he apologizes to those he wasn’t able to save.
“These people have never hurt anyone in their lives. And they’re just kids. I’m so sorry,” he says.
“It still feels like I didn’t do what I should have done.”
Of course, neither he nor any of the other victims deserve anything approaching blame for the tragic loss of life and mindless gun violence that transpired.
With so many mass shootings coming across our news feed, it’s increasingly difficult to pay attention to those impacted by the violence. For every Parkland moment, there is another mass shooting in and out of the news cycle before most people can even begin to process what happened.
That’s why it’s important to watch and digest interviews like this, as painful as they might be. We may not be responsible for the horrible gun violence that transpired but we are responsible for what happens next and staying focused on enacting reasonable gun safety laws and implementing mental health resources to help stop the next shooting before another innocent life is taken.
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