I am certain that a quarter million Omaha area residents have something to say about our mall mass murder, I am no different.
Most of you know I am not much of a mall goer, but I have been to Westroads mall. It's about fifteen miles away from where I live. It is however, very close to where I used to work at the cable company. I haven't been there in a while, maybe a couple years. Still it is Christmas shopping season, and there is no reason for me to say "it couldn't have been me", sure it could have. I could have been there shopping, goofing off with friends, or lunching at the food court. Could have been, but not likely. However, I sure worried about a bunch of friends, in particular the sister of someone I know whom I mistakenly thought worked at that mall.
There is no one on the list of dead or injured that I know, or at least know well enough to make an instant connection, but I take no solace from this, Omaha is a small town no matter what the population, I am going to know someone who knew someone.
The big connection for me is that the shooter lived here in Bellevue where I live, not close by, but I know people who live in that neighborhood. He was fired from the McDonalds I drive by every day on my way to work ... a place I've eaten at more times than I can count. Who knows, maybe the kid had waited on me. Like many people in this area of the country, I'll be wondering more about what might I have done to make a difference rather than pointing fingers at what is wrong with someone else.
I have heard it said that children who grow up in chaotic environments tend to fail to see consistency, and instead think that life is chaotic and random. I fit this bill. I, for one, feel no more and no less safe than I did yesterday morning before the shooting. This type of thing can happen at anytime, anyplace, and pretty much I think anyone is capable of snapping. Many people do not share my point of view on this, and unfortunately, this random act of violence will be particularly difficult for them to understand and deal with ... I think this is the secondary tragedy of this kind of event, people who were neither directly involved nor knew anyone killed who will have their lives changed, their habits changed, and who will live in fear because of the lousy choices of one unstable young man.
I won't do it. I have spent too much of my life living in fear, and worked too hard to get to where I am now to be cowed by this, but I understand those who will. It is my plan and intention to go to Westroad Mall sometime in the next couple weeks, I intend on going into the Von Maur department store, and perhaps, I'll even part with a few of my precious dollars. I don't think it will particularly cathartic for me, but it may be an opportunity for me to take my wondering what I could do different, and put it into action, and maybe touch someones life in a positive way, maybe a store employee, a mall rat, or a fellow human being, of whom, I have not lost faith in because of this.
Anyways, 36 hours ago, there were nine people alive who are now not, none of whom were afforded dignity in their deaths, one by choice, eight were did not. May God have mercy on us all.