I am proud of the way the community has pulled together and united itself under these very unfortunate circumstances. Please be assured that all resources available to the County of Santa Barbara were immediately pledged to assist in any way possible during this difficult time.

During the course of the last week, my office has coordinated the necessary county departments and worked with the university to ensure services are available. However, I felt it was best to not have my office be a distraction or impediment to the healing process while the community developed its own response to this tragedy.

I stand here today knowing there are no words to change what happened; nothing can take away the pain and sorrow. But there is healing in mourning. And we join together today in that effort.

To the families and friends of Christopher, Nicholas, Elie and Ruth, please accept my sincerest condolences and heartfelt sympathies. And to the Levy family, please know that Albert is in my thoughts, and I pray for his continuing recovery.

The events of the past week have touched us all. We have learned much about our community and ourselves over these last several days.

I am proud of the way our larger community has pulled together and united in the sorrow of this tragedy. The support I have seen being given to each other and to the families is an example of how we can use our strengths to get beyond the shock and help each other work through personal grief.

Each of us is in some way forever changed by the loss of these four young people – individuals who should have had long and full lives ahead of them. We are left with questions and sadness and a need to make some sense out of something that seems so senseless … or at least to make something good out of such pain.

I am reminded of a passage from author Leo Buscaglia that I’d like to read: “Death teaches that the time is now.”

The time is now to pick up a telephone and call the person that you love. Death teaches the joy of the moment. It teaches us we don’t have forever. It teaches us that nothing is permanent. It teaches us to let go. And it tells us to give up on expectations and let tomorrow tell its own story. To me that’s a tremendous challenge.

Because time is fleeting, let’s seize this moment to begin the healing process.

Gail Marshall is the 3rd district Santa Barbara county supervisor.