My dad plopped a folded section of the Sunday paper in front of me. "This should make you feel better," he said.
And he was right.
While no demonstration after the fact can bring Lawrence King back to life, this outpouring of emotion against intolerance on the part of hundreds of Oxnard students gives me hope. It would never have happened back when I lived in Ventura.
There were no bullhorns, no speeches and no politicians. Just a mass of mostly adolescents wearing bright clothing, carrying signs and singing John Lennon's "Imagine" and "Give Peace a Chance."
The size of the turnout surprised police, school officials and even the two Hueneme High School sophomores who put the event together just three days ago, spreading the word with fliers, cellphone calls and MySpace bulletins.
"We were expecting maybe 100 or 200 people," said Courtney LaForest, 16, as she gazed at a broad "peace circle" formed by march participants at Plaza Park in downtown Oxnard. "This is incredible."
Courtney said the turnout reflected a community's anguish over a senseless shooting that has destroyed the lives of two young men. It was also a public plea for tolerance on school campuses for those who are different, she said.
"I didn't know Larry. A lot of people here didn't know him," she said. "We are saying you don't need to accept people who are gay, but you should tolerate them."