UCSB/Isla Vista shooting: Their loss is ours

As a parent of a UCSB freshman I feel compelled to write about the recent shooting incident involving our students in nearby Isla Vista. We should all be personally touched by these events. I hope that many reach out to those affected families and reflect on the deeper issues at the root of this tragedy.

It is beyond comprehension that the victims – young, hopeful, promising men and women were denied their right to a future. It is heartbreaking to think of the many families and friends whose lives will be forever diminished by the loss of their loved ones. Their grief should be our grief. Their loss is ours.

It is hard to believe that in this era of networking and connectivity that a young man can feel so isolated, sad and alone. That his heartache can turn to hate, anger and a break with reality. Our society often fails outliers. I urge you to reach out when someone is slipping. A small gesture can make a difference.

How is it possible that a disturbed young man can acquire such an impressive hoard of weapons? As a Canadian, it is perplexing. I am not implying that such an event would not occur in my home country. A horrible campus mass shooting occurred in 1989 at the Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal. This incident resulted in more stringent gun control legislation in Canada.

South of the border we seem more tolerant of gun violence. Despite massive outpouring of grief after school massacres, I do not see concrete changes that limit access to weapons. In fact, several states are moving towards liberalization. I urge parents to pressure politicians and to examine their own tolerance of the prevailing gun culture.

This incident was partly motivated by perceived rejection of the perpetrator by women. The Montreal massacre where feminists were targeted had a similar chilling theme. Misogyny permeates our society. I hope that we engage in meaningful discussion with our teens about stereotypes and the sexual objectification of young women. By breaking down misconceptions our kids are more likely to nurture healthy and balanced relationships.

On Tuesday, May 27, classes were cancelled at UCSB. A fund has been established to honor UCSB students who were victims of this tragedy and to memorialize their lasting impact and contributions to the UC Santa Barbara community.

Karen Tipler MD

Carmel Valley