This morning, after hundreds of local law enforcement spent the entire night trying to find a gun-wielding, motor-cycle helmet wearing young male, dressed all in black, in the mall less than a mile down the road from where I live, we learned that the gunman was found dead in the construction area of a newly renovated part of the mall.
I suppose this information should make us all feel better and get on with our lives? Well, I don’t feel any better. My husband, a union plumber who has worked on the renovation at the mall for weeks, can not go to work today as the ‘investigation’ continues. Hundreds of other construction workers at the site now have an unpaid day off, unless there are other jobs where they could be placed. Thousands of mall employees will enjoy an unpaid day off as well.
In the photo here, a friend’s son-in-law, a mall employee, is interviewed on the local news while his 7-month pregnant wife, my friend’s daughter, is on lock-down inside the store where she works. She, like many of the thousands of workers at this regional mall, was hunkered down, afraid for her life, locked inside having no idea where the shooter was, whether he was only one or one of many, and whether she would live to see morning or her unborn baby. Families and friends, fearful for those they could not reach who had been shopping, seeing a movie, or working. Parents of many local teens, who are one of the largest pools of employees at this mall, waited outside the road blocks where they were stopped as they tried to enter to pick up their kids at mall closing. They spent the night horrified and fearful until they could see and hold their child.
FEAR. It’s the new state of being in the US today. The news media outlets, bringing you minute by minute information of little to no use, spouting the latest ‘hearsay’ and changing the “facts”every ten minutes, feeding and fueling our increasing fear.
When will we begin holding the people responsible for this overwhelming culture of gun violence and fear, the members and representatives of the N.R.A. (National Rifle Association) accountable for the obstruction of sane and enforceable gun-control measures being made law? Their sponsorship and monetary support of our elected officials, make sure that no laws are passed due to fear of retribution, fear of pulled financial support, and fear of being labeled a ‘communist’ by the mouthpieces of this organization and is contributing to the horrifying lack of action on this issue.
Who will foot the bill for the SWAT teams and the overwhelming law enforcement response to last night’s incident? WE will, the collective we, that’s who. As taxpayers, we pay those salaries. Who will pay for the losses our retail outlets will surely experience and try to make up for as the biggest shopping season begins and this incident keeps us out of the malls wallowing in our fear? All of us, paying with higher prices and the cost of more anti-anxiety medication.
Yet, the financial costs cannot compare with how we are paying with the loss of our precious children in the shootings occurring almost daily at schools across the country, rural, suburban AND urban. How we are paying with a complete lack of faith in our country and our elected officials and apathy at voting for any of them because they no longer represent us or our interests.
It’s time to stop wasting our money, energy, and resources and start DEMANDING our elected representatives act on this issue that is invading all of our backyards. We must take away the power of the N.R.A. and other organizations like them. They are the real terrorists in our country today as they buy our spineless and unprincipled elected officials.
By the way, it’s Election Day.