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Clippers coach Doc Rivers speaks out on Thousand Oaks shooting that left 12 dead

Doc Rivers, Clippers

LOS ANGELES – The city of Thousand Oaks, California, known for it’s reputation of being one of the safest communities out there, suffered a horrific attack on Wednesday, November 7th when a gunman entered Borderline Bar and Grill on college night and killed 12 people, including one Ventura County Sheriff’s sergeant, before turning the gun on himself.

It was a tragic night for many who were just escaping their every day stresses to relax with family and friends. Unfortunately, all we’re hearing once again are, ‘Thoughts and prayers,’ from people who can begin to facilitate changes, and L.A. Clippers coach Doc Rivers has had enough.

Ahead of the team’s matchup against the visiting Milwaukee Bucks, Rivers met with members of the media, and I asked him directly if he had any thoughts about the unfortunate night for a town less than 45 miles away from Staples Center. Here’s what he had to say about the shooting.

“It’s just sad,” said Rivers. “It really is. It’s sad. The gun violence… I just don’t know at what point [we say enough]. You can go see a video with JFK talking and he’s talking about, ‘my thoughts and prayers are with the families.’ JFK! When you think about that and think how long ago that was and we’re still saying [that]… The politicians, they have it on predial now. They say the same thing and we don’t do anything.”

Rivers, who had been pushing fans and everyone to vote over the last couple of weeks in his pregame, postgame, and practice media sessions, admitted that voting in the midterm elections on November 6th was a great start, but that more work needs to be done.

“I like that we voted. It was a big outcome and i think in two years, we’ve got to do it even more. I think that’s important to send messages and get things done. I think that’s the only way we can make change right now. It’s sad. Mental Illness is sad, but [lack of] gun control is sadder.”

Towards the end of his answer, Rivers appeared to get a little more frustrated as he noted something that I’ve been saying the last few days: just because an attack isn’t politically motivated doesn’t mean it’s not a terrorist attack (as it’s currently defined). These attacks instill fear and bring terror to people’s lives, and in turn, should be called exactly what they are. Rivers closed with this strong statement calling this, and all other gun-related tragedies that have become the norm nowadays, exactly what it is.

“This whole thing about, ‘I guess it wasn’t a terrorist attack,’ just infuriates me,” Rivers added with a sense of agony. “If that was your child, I’d bet they think it was a terrorist attack. The guns are the terrorist, and until we understand that, we’re going to keep having terrorist attacks. It’s sad…”

It’s unfortunate that we live in a time where you can go to school or a yoga studio or a synagogue or a bar without worrying about whether you’re going to come home or be a part of the next mass shooting. Doc Rivers, among many others, wants change, but we’ll see if anything worth mentioning comes to fruition.