Things have been tense here in Salt Lake City with the shooting at the mall on February 12. I'd been at work for twenty minutes when it happened. We received two of the shooting victims a little while later at my hospital where I'm a nurse on a cardiac unit. The whole hospital was freaked out and we went into lockdown mode. At first we didn't know what was happening and if there was more than one shooter still on the loose. The staff and patients on my floor were all very upset. When we found out the shooter was dead we all breathed a sigh of relief--but couldn't believe what had happened.
The fact that I go to that mall once in a while made me think it could have been me getting shot at. The Sharper Image store that got blasted is a place Tammy and I like to shop. And my buddy Patrick and I go have gont out to eat at the restaurants there. It really made me sick when I heard about the shootings. It was at 6:46 PM when it happened and Pat and I actually go out to eat at that time on rare occasions. I think everyone in Salt Lake is thinking "it could have been me."
Thank heavens that the off-duty cop--Kenneth Hammond--a name that deserves to be mentioned when this event is discussed, was there with his pregnant wife. He took action and started shooting at the killer. The cop saved a lot of lives. Mr. Hammond, 33 years old of the Ogden Police Department, says he isn't a hero, but he fits the definition perfectly. He gives cops a good name.
As horrible as the tragedy was, in the big picture, life is easy here in America. Try living in Baghdad for a week. They have bombings and shootings that kill 75 people at a time on a weekly basis. I cannot imagine what kind of pressure and stress the people there are under. Thousands of innocent people--women and children waiting in line to get food--have been killed there recently.
Life sucks in most of the world, so I don't have much reason to complain. Still, I'll probably never think of that mall at Trolley Square again in the same way. I don't think Tam will want to go there either. I don't know how I'll feel the next time I go, but I'm definitely going. I don't want to let this maniac win. A terrible act of of violence is not going to ruin a historic and beautiful place for me.
We still don't know why the 18 year old--whose name does not deserve to be mentioned--did what he did. But he was a loner, a high school drop-out, and a refugee from a war-torn country--Bosnia. Perhaps his family, or our society failed him. He dropped out of school at 16. I don't know much else yet.
Maybe we need to figure out how to help troubled kids in a much better way. As a society we need to be nicer to people and not pick on them--I'm mostly thinking of school kids picking on other kids. Make the outcast kids your friends. Be a defender of the weak and oppressed, not a bully or a snob. Show respect to other people even if they are different than you are.
And in the end, when you are faced with difficult decisions, do the right thing, like off-duty policeman Kenneth Hammond did, by helping others in any way you can.