Steven Davis was in his car when he heard the news about the mass shooting in San Bernardino and the suspects on the loose in his neighbourhood. His first thought was for his wife’s safety. His second: “I wish I had a gun.”It was, the church minister said, “an immediate response that I don’t think was my best thinking” – a reaction born out of fear, perhaps tinged by anger, when the correct path is “to respond in love”.
There was plenty of that in evidence in the vigils and fond tributes to the 14 dead and 21 injured in the wake of Wednesday’s massacre at a meeting and party for county health workers in a development centre for the disabled.
Local faith leaders urged calm, compassion and unity in the face of the horror that struck the county of two million people some 60 miles from downtown Los Angeles, where the metropolis’s eastwards suburban sprawl finally starts to melt into the desert and the mountains.They expressed pride in what they feel is a diverse, tolerant and inclusive community, a place with a strip mall where a mosque stands next door to a cafe proudly flying the American flag that claims to offer the world’s largest pancakes.