Borderline Shooting Victim’s Mother: ‘I Don’t Want Prayers … I Want Gun Control’
The mother of one of the 12 people who died in a mass shooting in Thousand Oaks, Calif., on Wednesday night (Oct. 7) is speaking out, making a plea for gun control in place of platitudes.
Twenty-seven-year-old Telemachus Orfanos died after a gunman entered a country bar called the Borderline Bar & Gill late Wednesday night, set off a smoke device and started firing into the packed crowd of patrons who were there for a college country night. Telemachus had previously survived the mass shooting that killed 58 people at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas in 2017, and his mother strongly rebuked the "thoughts and prayers" that have become the default response in the wake of gun violence in America.
"My son was in Las Vegas with a lot of his friends, and he came home," Susan Orfanos told reporters in a video that has gone viral. "He didn't come home last night, and I don't want prayers. I don't want thoughts. I want gun control, and I hope to God nobody else sends me any more prayers."
Shaking her head back and forth for emphasis, Orfanos emphatically states: "I want gun control. No. More. Guns."
USA Today reports that "Tel" Orfanos graduated Thousand Oaks High School in 2009 before serving 2 1/2 years in the Navy. His father, Marc Orfanos, also spoke out about his son's death in an interview with the Ventura County Star.
"It is particularly ironic that after surviving the worst mass shooting in modern history, he went on to be killed in his hometown," he said.
Despite her impassioned speech, Susan Orfanos has expressed doubts that gun laws would change after her son's death. Using the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting as an example of political inactivity, she told the Washington Post, "If mowing down 5-year-olds at Sandy Hook didn't make an impression, nothing will. The bottom line is the NRA owns most of the Republican party, and probably some of the Democratic Party, as well."
Incredibly, Telemachus Orfanos was not the only person at the Borderline on Wednesday night who survived the Las Vegas mass shooting. The bar is a popular hangout for a large group of friends who survived the Vegas attack, and many of them were present Wednesday night.
Other confirmed victims in the Thousand Oaks shooting include Alaina Housley, the niece of former Fox News reporter Adam Housley and Sister, Sister actress Tamera Mowry-Housley; 22-year-old Cody Coffman; 23-year-old Justin Meek; Sean Adler; 21-year-old Blake Dingman; Marine Corps veteran Daniel Manrique; dancer and artist Noel Sparks; 27-year-old Navy veteran Telemachus Orfanos; 21-year-old Jake Dunham; Mark Meza; and Kristina Morisette.
The shooter has been identified as 28-year-old Ian David Long, described as a veteran suffering from PTSD. According to ABC News, one of Long's neighbors said, "I don't know what he was doing with a gun."
Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean says Long used a Glock 21 to conduct his killing spree. The .45-caliber handgun is designed to hold 10 rounds plus one in the chamber, according to the AP, but Long's featured an extended magazine that is illegal in the state of California, allowing him to shoot more people more efficiently.
Long had had previous contacts with law enforcement; in April, officers responded to a disturbance at the house where he lived with his mother, and described him as "irate and acting irrationally." A mental health specialist decided not to detain him after meeting with him.
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