As some of you may have seen on the news, there was a gunman in Utah who went on a killing spree in a shopping mall on Monday. While this sort of thing is becoming far too common an event in our society, I'd like to post a quick commentary about it, if I could.
I'd like to point out first that I've been in the Trolley Square Mall many times. All the locations that figured into the massacre are places I've eaten and shopped at. This made the whole story somewhat personal to me. It's not such a great stretch to imagine that I could have been in The Desert Edge brewery, or at the movies, or eating at the Rodizio Grill. These are all places I've been within the last year. I can clearly picture the course the gunman took through the mall. Although I'm not the sort of person who will become “traumatized” by events I'm not even there for, I still find it disquieting.
Also, because the library I work at is only two or three blocks away from Trolley Square, it makes me wonder what sort of tragedy would have taken place had the gunman chosen to come in our door, rather than the doors of the mall. Because of the open architecture of our building, there would have been far fewer places to hide. Though we have a security staff, and I'm sure they would have done their best, a man with a shotgun can be extremely formidable.
Finally, the gunman was from MY NEIGHBORHOOD. I may have passed this guy on the street when I walked my dog. It becomes rather spooky, I think.
The saddest thing, I think, is that there was no warning, no obvious moment that turned this person into a killer. His family seems as mystified over his mental collapse as anyone. Perhaps it's foolish to look for reasons within such an unreasonable act, but I feel we need to do so, if only to impose some sort of understandable order on the world.
I send my best wishes to all those who were affected by this tragedy. If only we did not live in a world where these sorts of things were so commonplace.