Tragedy at the Mall
There's no question that Saturday's shotgun murders and suicide at the Mall of Columbia is a high octane tragedy for everyone in every location local, state and nation.
Before the gun debate erupts again in full force with the same old arguments, it is time to consider some other issues relating to the constant murder and mayhem.
Who can argue about the horrible events that keep occurring involving pistols, automatic rifles, shotguns and knives? None are pleasant and thankfully law enforcement agencies have been concentrating on "active shooter" programs for public and private schools and all areas of society.
Such conduct is in the news from Oklahoma, Florida, Texas and all over.
When the story broke from Columbia, thoughts of "here we go again" were rampant. News agencies had reporters racing to the scene; iPhones were buzzing, every media outlet – print, broadcast and social media – was on top of the story.
Once emergency calls reached police, response was in minutes. In fact, every police agency from federal, state and adjoining counties went to assist Howard County's team. Superb police work for certain.
Fortunately, there were no mass victims, even though five were taken for medical treatment and released. The panic and stress is certainly understandable, but the shoppers in and out of the mall handled the events successfully.
Again, an interviewee (sic) asked "what's our society coming to?" Certainly an obvious answer to the troubles of shootings, robberies, stabbings and beatings has been unanswerable.
Of course, anti-gunners are going to be roaring again. The questions though must consider some other areas and they are primarily personal.
Reporters and police were fishing around to find a connection between the shooter and the victims in the store. One of the first tweets indicated a domestic dispute. As of this writing, lots of circumstantial thoughts are unclear but lead to some type of relationships.
The question here though is not how to stop legally selling a 19-year-old a shotgun, but how does society help cure love-affairs gone bad, broken hearts for one reason or another, real or imagined evils? Who and how to seriously counsel those fearful of living their lives?
Those suffering from psychological illnesses are everywhere. People of all stripes anguish daily. Some attack family members or perceived enemies and themselves. Mental health issues abound. Tragedies about to happen can't be discovered in advance. We wish they could.
Palm readers, astrologers and others of similar inclinations aren't able to predict such conduct. Nor can physicians and psychiatrists and other medical men and women. The latter can see the warning signs – if they see such patients.
This is where government must make certain that mental health be treated with seriousness. A Virginia state senator was stabbed by his son. He had been turned away from mental health services because there was no room in the hospital.
Insurance companies deny payments far too often and bear some of the burdens.
Longtime first responders and journalists figured the Columbia Mall shooting was the result of a hurting lover. Seemed obvious at first glance and throughout the day.
The fight here though isn't about guns. It's something that is far more serious. As the woman asked about today's society, avenues of help are everywhere. Help is available from the medical professionals, pastors of all denominations and school teachers.
Still, how can boyfriend-girlfriends breakups and broken hearts be mended? The answer isn't in television infomercials. Answers are not simple.
Lots of retired ministers, police, educators and doctors and nurses are available. These people are active in their communities today and pastors and teachers must take active roles in listening and helping.
And, more listening and helping.
From youngsters to oldsters hurting, hearts are the same.