Thereby hangs a tale…
Like so many people in Santa Barbara I’m connected to the University of California, Santa Barbara. I obtained my Masters in Education at UCSB. I studied for and received my certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language at this beautiful campus. I’ve taken countless classes through the marvelous UCSB Extension program. I’ve worked on campus in various departments. This used to be my playground.
Isla Vista, the scene of last Friday night’s mass murder is a series of streets that run alongside campus. Overcrowded streets populated by apartment buildings, fraternities, sororities, homes, and all the eateries and businesses you’d expect in any student community. There are tons of bicyclists, skate boarders, surfers, pedestrians, cars, and at the weekends out of control partiers and drunks.
You cannot attend UCSB or work for the university without some connection to Isla Vista. There’s great food here, and coffee houses, and stunning views of the Pacific from notorious beach frontage street Del Playa. This is a colorful place to live, to grow, to hang, to become what you dream yourself into being.
For the most part…
I love Isla Vista. There are foot patrols here, students who look out for other students, places of worship, live theater. The scene can be sunny, funny, ideological, illogical, and filled with youth, promise, and, for the most part, good folk.
There is also violence. Sexual violence. Too often parties get out of control. Students have fallen from the high bluffs after too much drink. There have been riots started by outsiders drawn to I.V. for spring break.
The cold carnage of last Friday brings a haunting reminder of another blood soaked night. In 2001 David Attias sped his expensive black Saab straight into a group of students, killing four people and injuring others.
They say death rides a pale horse.
On Friday night, May 23, 2014, death drove an ominous black BMW, Elliot Rodger at the wheel.
Isla Vista is once again a crime scene. An otherwise perfect evening intercut by hit-and-run driving, semi-automatic gunfire and stab wounds.
When will Isla Vista’s senseless violence cease?