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Bakersfield parents react with concern, worry to recent mass shootings

So far in 2023, there have been 100 days and 146 mass shootings. People are understandably concerned about their own safety and that of their loved ones, especially students.
Posted: 8:37 PM, Apr 10, 2023
Updated: 2023-04-10 23:37:10-04
bakersfield college file

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Following the recent mass shooting in Nashville and another over the weekend at a South Carolina beach, some parents in Kern are expressing concern for their own children and families.

From Columbine in Littleton to Covenant in Nashville, 175 people have died on school campuses in the United States, according to a survey by the Associated Press.

One Kern County father, Brian Russom, remembers being scared of serial killers, but never school shootings.

"We weren't worried about going to school and being shot," said Russom. "That never entered our minds."

Russom says during his son Daniel's senior year of high school, he received multiple calls from the school regarding threats or guns being found on campus. Now that Daniel has begun his first year studying finance at Cal State Northridge, Brian says he doesn't receive those calls anymore, but the risks are everywhere.

"It doesn't matter where you go nowadays, whether it's to a church or a grocery store or a shopping mall or anything else, there's the risk of somebody being there with bad intent to harm people," said Russom.

Russom says he feels bad for students now because they dealt with the pandemic and now more than more often deal with concerns of mass shootings on their campuses.

Daniel Russom tries to face the reality of here and now calmly.

"I think just like anyone else I would see it as something that's really awful, but it doesn't make me feel any less safe in my own life," said Daniel Russom.

The Gun Violence Archive reports that nearly 150 mass shootings have killed nearly 500 children and teenagers already in 2023. Daniel Russom says he doesn't know how any student could truly prepare for a shooting on campus.

"I wouldn't want anything near me to have gun violence occur, so I definitely am worried that - because it's becoming more and more common - that it'll take place either at my college or here in Bakersfield," said Russom.

Executive Director of College Safety at Bakersfield College Joe Grubbs says the college trains their staff to be prepared ahead of any emergency situation.

"It involves more training our staff because students are going to be looking to our staff in the event that something takes place," said Grubbs.

BC's training includes making students feel comfortable about speaking up before a potential situation becomes an active shooting. Grubbs says there have been many times that someone knew important details prior to a school violence incident.

"My belief is, being a retired police officer and really spending a lot of time on school violence, that in most of these cases, somebody else knew before it happened," said Grubbs.

Both Bakersfield College and California State University Bakersfield have weapons policies making the possession or use of a firearm on campus a felony punishable by up to 4 years in prison.

But Brian Russom is still concerned.

"I'm sure that you're not allowed to keep guns in your dorm room. You're not allowed to come on campus with a gun, but these are big campuses," said Russom. "These are big universities and colleges that you can't seal them from anybody entering there, especially if it's a student who actually belongs there."

Bakersfield College staff recommends that in the unlikely event of a shooting on campus, students and staff have a secure location decided ahead of time where they can take shelter. Grubbs also recommends that if a gun violence incident does happen on campus, students should always try to run and hide first, but if it's absolutely necessary, they should remember that fighting back can be an option.

Despite growing concerns, officials say that students can overall expect a safe learning environment at Bakersfield College.


The Gun Violence Archive defines a mass shooting as an event in which at least 4 people are killed or wounded by gun violence. By that definition, there have been 146 mass shootings in the US in 2023, 16 of which ended with 4 or more deaths at once.

To put this number into perspective, April 10, the day this article was written, is only the 100th day of 2023.

In 2022, the Gun Violence Archive records 647 mass shootings total. 21 of those mass shootings ended the lives of 5 or more people at once.