Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A Mall Shooting: Does It Matter That It Could Have Been Worse?

I wanted to go to the mall today.

Now I don't go shopping very often, I don't have the time, mindset or cash to spend the day going from store to store. But a shoe store was closing and there were to be some good deals. I was mainly going for a specific walking shoe, a half-shoe that you just slip into, because as some of you know and I've written about here, I don't tie shoelaces. So this store makes those shoes and I need a pair, so off to the mall I was going.

But the best laid plans are sometimes screwed up. The mall is closed today. Last night just before closing, a troubled young man took a gun into the mall, shot off several rounds, caused panic for all those still inside, and hours later was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

It seems his intention all along was suicide, and apparently he threatened none of the shoppers. But he could have. It's just another instance when our safety is threatened and our sense of security is destroyed.

This mall, I believe is the largest in New Jersey. It wasn't always that way. When I first remember it as a kid, it was an open-air mall anchored by Bamberger's, which would become Macy's, at one end, and Gimbel's at the other. Over the years, it was enclosed and it grew and grew and grew. It is now massive. So was the police response last night. The helicopter camera shot easily showed over a hundred law enforcement cars from every agency in the area. A terrifying sight in a place I have been to a thousand times.

Today, I won't be at the mall, probably not tomorrow either. But as the retail business gears up for the holidays, how many people will be thinking twice about going through those doors.

Sometimes this world is not a nice place.

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1 comment:

  1. It is good that the young man only wanted to end his own life, instead of others. My problem will be how much sensationalism the story will receive on the news, tempting some mixed up individual to try to top it and injure others. As a society, we have tried to validate one's actions so many times, it almost seems like any act, sane or insane, is now valid. The dividing line between right and wrong has been somewhat erased, "as long as there's a good enough reason" for the act to have taken place. Society has made its bed, and is now finding that sleep is not as easy to come by as it once was. So sad. Good post!