Two days Lindsey Webster was still wading through her emotions. After the shooting that killed 12 people plus the gunman in her favorite bar in Thousand Oaks, California, the former UMass softball player was trying to figure out what she could do next.
As a teenager, Webster counted down the years until she was old enough to go to Borderline.
She’s see her older sister Sarah Jane pull on cowboy boots and jeans shorts and go from their hometown of Northridge, California to the 18-and-older country music bar in nearby Thousand Oaks. When Lindsey Webster turned 18, she became a regular.
“I loved it. I was my Disney Land. Country music, line dancing, pool tables, dart boards, friendly people,” said Webster now 27. “There were 70-year-old wanna-be cowboys with decked out vests and rhinestone belt buckles and cowboys hats that would teach you how to dance. It really sparked my interest in learning how to dance.”
During her trips home from UMass, she almost always made time for a night at Borderline. She was last there this summer.
“We went there after my best friend’s wedding. She was in her wedding dress. I was in my bridesmaid dress,” she said. “I went there any chance I could. Every single Christmas break, summer break, that was the place I went with my friends. I’m going to be home for three weeks? Perfect I can go to Borderline three times.”
Webster lives in Oregon now where she works in the athletic department at Portland State. When he phone rang at 5:30 a.m. Thursday she was concerned. Casual calls don’t come that early. It was her friend Kate Kammer breaking the news:
“Lindsey there was a shooting at Borderline.”
Webster sat up and called anyone she could think of that might have been there that night.
Webster didn’t know anyone personally among the 13 who’d been killed, but the faces in the pictures she’d studied were friends of friends. Throughout the day her friends reached out. Even though Webster lives almost 1,000 miles north now, her friends so associated her with the bar that they knew, if she’d happened to have been home she might have been there.
Like many affected by this and other shootings, Webster is following the same progression of emotions. She wants to do something, but isn’t sure exactly what.
“I’m still pretty shocked. I’m so thankful to the first responders. My prayers go out to the sheriff’s deputy and his family. But a call to action is what’s needed. How many times are we going to post about ‘thoughts and prayers?’ This is the 307th mass shooting (in 2018). That’s almost as many as days in the year. That statistic should be alarming enough.”
Webster didn’t think taking guns away from gun owners was the answer.
“I’m a strong supporter of second amendment rights. I don’t think taking away guns is going to fix the problem whatsoever,” she said. “What we can control is stricter measures for access and better screening measures to get those guns. I don’t want to make this too political at all, but this is larger than gun control.”
She suggested more education, perhaps more metal detectors and strongly advocated for improved mental health resources for veterans, as the shooter was a former Marine.
Webster said she’d like to go back to Borderline.
“I will be going back if the bar reopens. We have a similar bar up in Oregon,” she said. “That bar really reminds me of Borderline, I want to be there this weekend and feel that same atmosphere.”
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