When a gunman entered a California music bar this week and started firing, some of the patrons ran out of back doors, they smashed windows to escape, they hid.
Unlike some mass shooting victims, they were not paralyzed by fear. But their quick action was not necessarily instinctive.
Several of those at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks on Wednesday had been through a mass shooting before — when a gunman opened fire on a crowd of country music fans in Las Vegas last year, killing 58.
“Unfortunately, these young people have learned that this may happen,” Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said following Wednesday’s shooting by a Marine combat veteran that left 12 dead in Thousand Oaks.
Even in a country that has become accustomed to gun massacres, the idea that some Americans have lived through not one, but two attacks is startling.
“It’s insane is the only way to describe it,” California’s Democratic Governor-elect Gavin Newsom said.
“The normalization, that’s the only I can describe it. It’s become normalized.”
The southern California slaughter came on the heels of another massacre, when Robert Bowers, who openly spewed extreme anti-Semitic invective, allegedly burst into a Pittsburgh synagogue and killed 11 Jewish worshippers.