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Mass shootings on college campuses have occurred several times this past year, stirring debate over gun control in the United States. Most recently, such a shooting happened in the college town of Isla Vista, California, on the campus of the University of California at Santa Barbara. Elliot Rodger, 22, stabbed his three male roommates to death and gunned down three others from his car window.
Rodger then tried to elude police in a high-speed chase, during which he was shot, crashed his BMW and shot himself in the head. He was found dead, unable to explain his rampage, but left behind a 141-page manifesto detailing his thoughts. Colette Cabaniss, 19, of Ukiah, California, lives on the street where Rodger shot bullet holes into cars, a coffee shop and a pizza place. She also went to the same college as Rodger.
“When I saw his (YouTube) videos, I felt like I’d seen him before in school,” Cabaniss said. “It’s really creepy to think I probably walked by him.” Cabaniss said Santa Barbara is like paradise, and she could never imagine someone so depressed and miserable there. “It was such a beautiful day before the shooting. You would never have known it was coming,” Cabaniss said. “And then all of the sudden, it’s all over and my face is in the Los Angeles Times and my friend’s car is part of the crime scene. It’s so real now it’s hard to comprehend.”
Cabaniss said the day after the shootings was foggy, gloomy and dark, and an eerie vibe shadowed her town like a pall. “It seemed like people were dazed and they didn’t know what to do after it happened,” Cabaniss said. “Del-Playa Street (where the shootings occurred) is known as the fun, party street because it’s so close to the beach. That weekend the parties kind of stopped.”
Rodger unloaded three clips from three different guns into the town’s backdrop. He had an arsenal of more than 400 rounds of unused ammunition and written plans on targets like sorority girls left behind in his BMW. Leonard Jason, director of the DePaul Center for Community Research, said Rodger was symptomatic of problems in our society.
“Let me tell you something,” Jason said. “When I grew up in the ’50s and ’60s, guns were not available. Guns were not part of the culture. When people got pissed off, they got into a fistfight at worst. (Mass shootings) like this didn’t exist.”
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