It has been a long, hard year at UCSB; we have lost seven of our friends and classmates in the last two quarters. Now, after Friday’s tragedy on Sabado Tarde Road, the mood in Isla Vista is perhaps as somber as it has ever been. The sky is dark, the clouds are gray and the air is heavy with sentiment. Three days on, the community shares a mixture of disbelief and sorrow. We mourn collectively for such a seemingly senseless loss of life, but extend our deepest sympathies to the families and friends of Christopher Divis, Nicholas Bourdakis, Elie Israel and Ruth Levy.
No words can console the loved ones of these victims, or the three other students who died tragically this year: Miyaka Geh, Patrick Hsu and Dave Lindsay. But, if we can glean anything positive from these deaths, it must be the strong sense of community cohesion reflected in students’ actions this weekend. Many of us experienced friends calling late Friday night to check on our safety. It seemed that within a couple of hours the whole of Isla Vista was aware of the tragedy. Bunches of flowers mark the site on Sabado Tarde and people still gather there to say goodbye or search for some meaning amid the horror.
In contrast to how the mainstream media has been reporting the story, this was not an accident waiting to happen. This was not an inevitable consequence of living in a “party town,” nor should it become an excuse to push an anti-alcohol agenda. Irrespective of Attias’ state of mind or level of intoxication, it was a random act of violence; but more importantly, it is a deep loss inflicted upon an entire community. This week should be in remembrance and reflection of those who died on Friday. Let us not lose sight of the human face in this tragedy. While our anger seems warranted, rashly assigning blame won’t assuage the grief. Our thoughts should be with Albert Levy, who is still in critical condition in Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, and those mourning the loss of young lives ended too soon.
The Nexus would like to convey gratitude and tremendous respect for the law enforcement and emergency response personnel who acted with efficiency, compassion and unwavering professionalism during such a highly traumatic incident. Similarly, while witnessing this apocalyptic scene, the bystanders responded immediately, subduing the driver and attending to the victims. We do not live in an apathetic community, and people’s actions and reactions this weekend only reinforce this point.
While we cannot guarantee to print all the condolence letters we receive, we will gladly pass them on to Albert Levy or the families of the four victims. Please clearly note this on your letter if you would like us to do so.