– And Comes Out Stronger –
Like the rest of America, the residents of Big Bear were glued to their television sets as a madman went on a rampage throughout Southern California. The difference, of course, is that this drama suddenly began unfolding in our own backyard.
When I first heard that Christopher Dorner’s pick-up truck was sighted in the hills between Bear Mountain and Snow Summit, I was sure it was a hoax. This sort of thing doesn’t happen in Big Bear – we’re safe up here. We feel insulated from this sort of thing, up here on our island in the sky. So when the reports were confirmed it felt like we were watching a movie. And we were the movie. Schools were locked down and law enforcement from all over the southland descended upon Big Bear to hunt for a killer on the loose.
I wouldn’t say that fear is the right word, but certainly apprehension and anxiety best describes the general feeling that spread throughout the community. I probably had ten to fifteen calls from friends and family from as far away as Costa Rica, checking to make sure we were safe. And I reached out to at least that many friends and business associates, both on the phone and in person, to let them know I was here if they needed me.
But nobody panicked, nobody freaked out, because this sort of thing just brings us closer together. We’ve known, long before the news reporters described the residents of Big Bear as “tough” and “hearty” and called Big Bear a “close knit community” that we could count on one another.
If you ask us why we love Big Bear so much you won’t just hear us brag about the amazing scenery, or the endless recreational choices, that’s what brought us up here in the first place. The reason that people decide to live in Big Bear, and make it their home, is because of the people.
Sure, there are a few idiots living up here – just like any small town. Every once in a while the valley is overrun by a few hundred thousand visitors. And it can be very difficult to earn a living in an area so dependent on tourism. But overall, we know how lucky we are to live here. We know that we’re the envy of inner city dwellers and freeway commuters.
And now that the rest of the world knows about Big Bear, we can only hope that the recent events will fade from memory and that Big Bear will be remembered for what it really is – a close knit community of tough, hearty people, blessed to live in paradise.
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