Moraga’s Bubble Is Bursting

Nicole Kennedy, Opinion Editor

Moraga is often referred to as “a bubble.” When I was in 2nd grade, this concept simply flew over my head. As I have grown older, I have come to understand how this town can feel like an island separated from the typical adversities of a chaotic world; however, the bubble is beginning to pop. We are not as untouchable in our homes or at school as we think.

The shooting that occurred in the Starbucks’ parking lot on January 19 inspired this revelation for me. I’ve grown up in that Rheem Shopping Center, where there used to be a Burger King with playground inside. To this day, I’ll stop at Starbucks and pick up a hot chocolate.

I could have been sitting in that parking lot, about to take a sip, as the shots were fired. My little sister could have been there; people I know and love in my community could have wounded or killed.

The suspect was finally caught be police near 24 Hour Fitness, which horrifies me almost as much as the fact that there was a shooting, as both my parents frequent that gym, as do hundreds of other residents in our community.

A community is primarily comprised of affluent, upper-middle class families, Moraga has seen a rise in burglaries and other crimes.

Rather than keeping our town more fortified, Moraga’s wealth makes us a target for Bay Area criminals.  Consider the gas station robbery of last year and the Lafayette home invasions in October. More and more criminals are looking to the suburbs rather than pulling a bank job. And who can blame them? It’s not like we remember every night to leave our alarm; our golden retrievers and labradoodles won’t do much to deter an armed assailant.

Add to this the danger we face from what makes our community so beautiful: Open space. The recent Sander’s Ranch fire reminded us that while our ridge lines can be a source of pride, the are also a growing fire danger as climate change advances.

There is also the nasty persistence of intolerance, emotional distress, and teenage stupidity. A student received a racist note in 2018, there was a gun scare at Quad City last year, and this year members of our boys’ soccer team have behaved so poorly they’ve been removed from the squad. This is hardly the stuff of a utopia.

Teens still get into messy car crashes; beloved neighbors still get cancer. There may be only a couple streets that lead out of Moraga, but turmoil and tragedy still find their way into our lives.

Too many of us make the assumption that everyone who lives here is a law-abiding, benevolent citizen. How could someone be a murderer in Moraga?  Well, Bernadette Protti reveals a different story, 1 where the girl next door is a psychopath. At least 1 member of our community has been arrested for tax evasion.  Another for possessing child pornography.

Hardships are not limited to a geographical location or socioeconomic status. They can not determine whether someone is a sinner or a saint.

If we continue to believe that Moraga is an impenetrable fortress, then we invite this danger to flourish.