I don't really want to but I feel like it would be omissive not to mention the shootings at Trolley Square last night, here is Salt Lake City.
I was at work when the shooting took place. The CNN coverage hasn't been that great, they only seem to throw the highlights at you as fast as possible. The local coverage has been better, they have people at the crime scene, people at the hospitals, and even people at the home of the shooter.
The witness stories are moving; some unsettling and some heroic. It would be hard to imagine yourself as one witness who saw a wounded person hiding in a car, bleeding from the head with an ear-wound that "looked like meatloaf." Or, of course, the off-duty police officer who shot the killer, who heard gunshots and left his family during dinner feeling a million times more frustrated than the average person who has to rush to work at a moments notice on his day off. Or even to be someone just hiding in a closet. Listening to it all. The last two times my little sister has come to Salt Lake to visit, we ate at Trolley Square.
It is hard to hear about the 16 year old boy who has just been moved from a "critical" to "serious" medical condition. And worse that when he comes out of it, he will need to deal with the shooting death of his father. But, if it was me, that is the way I would want it as opposed to the father living and son dying, but still a tragedy any way you slice it.
I liked hearing about how the shooter blasted two people in the parking lot before he entered the building and one of them got up with a chest full of buckshot and ran for help, "Call 911, There's a maniac!"
There is no justification for acting this way. This kid obviously didn't know his enemy but still felt like he had to lash out somehow. They said the 18-year-old killer lived with his family. His parents were Bosnian immigrants. Bosnia is part of that region of Europe that seems to redraw borders and rename places every couple of years, when governments aren't busy running genocidal campaigns or crumbling to civil war. What ever happened to those "Yugo" cars? If the boy was 18 then he was born right about the time the wars of a crumbling Yugoslavia were starting to flare up.
Obviously I don't know what kind of affect that would have on a kid but I imagine he had some idea of what was going on in the land of his family before him and it probably doesn't make you feel good. And then I imagine a kid of foreign descent in one of our dehumanizing schools and all of their wonderful cliques. His neighbor's said they believed he attended West High School. My wife actually taught a class of "bad" kids at that school a few years back. It's even possible that the killer is a former student of hers. And it wouldn't be the first time we saw her kids on the News.
But you can't completely blame school, because even 12 years out of high school, that kind of social environment still seems to exist everywhere I go. When I am working or when I'm in the lunch room, like people seem to cling to like people and exclude everyone else. There is one guy at work named Isaac. He is a skinny brown guy with super-googly eyes and coke-bottle glasses. He tries to act like a gangsta. He acts like he's comin' straight outta Compton but he's really from Idaho Falls, Idaho.
The Instant-Winner-In-Waiting asked me, "If you walked into a room and saw him lying on the floor looking at the ceiling... wouldn't you swear he was having a seizure or something?"
And that Captain-of-the-football-team guy just calls him Lazik, instead of Isaac. It's to do with they eyes.
And that big Shaq-tongon dude yelled at him one night, "Hey Nerd! Are picking up this cart or what?" He didn't know Isaac's name so he had to improvise.
If you don't start on the right foot in life, it seems to stick with you forever. I have always been cool and popular so I don't really know how it feels but I imagine it's a lifelong source of anguish being uncool and unpopular. So this is all typical speculation as to why a kid would do something like this but it is easy to imagine some outsider kid wanting to get back at the world just like those kids that shot up Columbine.
And those kids pose another problem. Because the Columbine kids got caught stealing computer equipment and forced into a psychiatric care program as punishment. They successfully complete that program and it is said that their day of killing is their retaliation for the punishment they received. Their plan had actually been bigger: to blow up the cafeteria, shoot stragglers and then get out on the city streets and shoot more people. They even had an outline of a plan to hijack a plane.
Overall, I think people care. We just aren't good at it. Today there was also a telephone threat of a school shooting down in Utah County. I'm guessing that when one creep pokes his head out, a bunch of others try to keep the crap rolling.
But this is a rare thing in Utah and not likely to happen again anytime soon. This is not my favorite place and these are not my favorite people, but it is still a good place and they are still good people.
I think people will go through a week or so of being scared to go outside, but we are probably much more likely of dying in a car accident or from carbon monoxide than being shot up while we're buying fancy smelling soap. Again, you can't let it scare you. Live your life.