Just about everyone in the communities of the Conejo Valley and Malibu have their story regarding the challenges they faced as individuals and as a community during the dark days that started on November 7 with the horrible mass shooting at Borderline Bar & Grill, followed the next evening by the Woolsey Fire. Of course, compared to those who were hit directly by the evil of gun violence and those who lost their homes and businesses, we were merely inconvenienced.
Sergeant Ron Helus, Sean Adler, Cody Coffman, Blake Dingham, Jake Dunham, Alaina Housley, Daniel Manrique, Justin Meek, Mark Mesa Jr., Kristina Morisette, Tel Orfanos and Noel Sparks are all victims of not only a twisted evil person, but of a society that makes it far too easy for the wrong people to acquire and use guns—particularly modified automatic weapons and magazines that make mass murder easy. Thousand Oaks is often celebrated as one of the safest cities in the U.S. That fantasy was just destroyed. We must honor the memory of these victims by doing something about it. California’s tough gun laws did not prevent the illegal altered ammunition magazine from getting into the wrong hands from out of state, nor did our current laws prevent a clearly irrational person from being brought under control before he went off the deep end. We need to be tougher locally and nationally.
Regarding wildfires, perhaps public funds need to be significantly increased in order to stay on top of clearing dry vegetation near populated areas. We are not experts in any of this, but as citizens, none of us should sit by and do nothing other than wait for the next disaster. This issue includes articles about the fire that caused so much damage and heartbreak throughout Malibu and the Conejo Valley—destroying 1,643 structures, killing three people and prompting the evacuation of more than 295,000 people—and the relief efforts that followed, many of which are still ongoing.
As a community magazine, we usually cover the pleasant side of things. However, this month we needed to stay in touch with a harsher reality. There will continue to be a great deal said and written about these events. As members of the Conejo Valley and Malibu communities, we hope that solutions are sought and achieved without politicizing rhetoric that leads us nowhere. Right now, that is our New Year’s resolution.