Saturday, November 27, 2010

Sorry to interrupt your holiday shopping...

HARPER WOODS, Mich. – Police say two men have been critically injured in shootings inside a suburban Detroit shopping mall. The mall has been closed as police search for whoever fired the shots. Harper Woods deputy police chief Jim Burke tells The Associated Press the shootings happened around 6 p.m. when a group of teenagers fired on a rival group at Eastland Mall east of Detroit.

Burke says the men were taken to St. John's Hospital in Detroit, and both were expected to survive. He says an 18-year-old was shot in the chest, and an employee at a clothing store was shot in leg. He says there had apparently been a long-running dispute between the two rival groups.

I don't have a detailed list, but I can tell you that there have been a lot of shootings at shopping malls over the years. There was the the Tacoma Mall and Hudson Valley Mall shootings in 2005, the Oak View Mall shooting in 2006, the Westroads Mall murder/suicide and the Trolley Square Mall shootings in 2007, the Lane Bryant shooting in 2008 and the Sello Mall shooting in 2009 to name seven.

The point is that there have been at least eight shootings at shopping malls in the past 5 years, and I have yet to see the same sort of security in place that we have had in airports and some schools since 2001.

We are nutty about airports because of what happened on September 11, 2001; but some of it was inherited from prior days. I suppose the reason we scrutinize more heavily at airports is because we're 50,000 feet above the ground. It's hard to run away from something that happens in a moving aircraft. I was on an Amtrak train lately, and before I boarded I had emptied my pockets and readied myself for the full-body search or at least an X-Ray device. Nothing. Just get on a train full of people with a huge suitcase.

Even though there are probably 50 times more people in a typical busy shopping mall than an airplane, we like the odds of being one in a big crowd, so we just let anybody in. And, what's the worst a train bomb could do? Two or three cars de-railed and some injuries. That's not worth inconveniencing the public.

How long will it be before we have to pass through Mall Security to get to our favorite clothing store? I wonder why we have yet to be asked to do that. Perhaps it's because we value the shopping experience more than the traveling experience? Maybe retailers fear that shoppers will not visit their stores if they have to go through a security device?

I guess we'd rather die than be inconvenienced.

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