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Recent mass shootings in California revive emotions for some in Tri-Counties impacted by past attacks

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Lance Orozco
/
KCLU
A makeshift memorial near the site of the November 2018 Borderline Bar and Grill attack in Thousand Oaks which left 12 people dead.

Father of Borderline Bar and Grill attack victim says you learn to cope with the pain, but you never get over what occurred.

It’s a week that’s left us stunned. Three mass shootings in California have left 19 people dead, and 18 others injured.

It’s especially tough for some of those in the Tri-Counties who are mass shooting survivors, or lost ones in past attacks.

"Our shooting was four years ago. Still going though it...still struggling with it. It's never going to go away," said Michael Morisette.

His 20-year-old daughter, Kristina, was one of the 12 people who died as a result of the November 2018 Borderline Bar and Grill attack in Thousand Oaks.

He said it’s hard not to think about the trauma of losing his daughter when he sees the news coverage of the attacks in Monterey Park, Half Moon Bay, and Oakland.

"It is activating. I think it's human nature that when you experience something that's devastating, that when they hear about other people going through something similar, it's like you stop like a deer in the headlights," said Morisette.

Morisette said one of the hard parts of coping with attacks like this is trying to make sense of something which doesn’t make sense. In the case of the Borderline attack which took his daughter, the gunman killed himself, and a definitive motive was never established.

The Ventura County man talked about how he, and some others have tried to cope with the aftermath. He left his career to work for “Give An Hour,” a non-profit which connects mental health professionals willing to donate some of their time to people who need counseling. He also helps coordinate support groups for family members, and survivors of the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting, and the Borderline attack.

In his role with “Give An Hour,” he said there are resources in the Tri-Counties where families members of those lost in past attacks, and survivors can find support. They include Give An Hour, and the 211 information hotline.

The media will report on the circumstances which led up to the latest shootings. But, Morisette notes we are looking for rational explanations for irrational actions.

Morisette is more than four years into a life altering journey which families and friends of the victims of this this week’s attacks are just starting. He said over time, the pain of the loss of his daughter is more manageable, and the way he deals with it has changed

But, he says it isn’t something which will never go away.

"Over time, sometimes things can disappear. But the thing that's not changeable is an experience...a loss of life. I lost a living, breathing person in my daughter," said Morisette. "Survivors sometimes lost their innocence, their sense of freedom, their sense of safety, their sense of who they are."

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.