Another senseless act of violence leaves us wondering why.
A masked gunman opened fire inside the Clackamas Town Center, a mall in Portland, OR, yesterday afternoon, killing two and critically wounding another, NBC reports. Lt. James Rhodes, of the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office said,
The gunman, described as an adult male, took his own life after spraying bullets around the mall. The shooting happened around 3:20 p.m. local time (6:20 p.m. ET) in the food court near Macy’s, triggering panic among an estimated 10,000 shoppers.
One young woman, 15-year-old Kristina Shevchenko, was rushed to the hospital in “critical” condition. However, her family reports her condition has been upgraded to “stable” after surgery.
The identity of the gunman has not been released but the Police believe he acted alone.
This is one more random act of violence that can be added to a list that has grown unacceptably long in the past several years. Some will blame this on the relative ease with which guns, and specifically automatic weapons can be obtained in the US. Others will point fingers at a failed judicial system, or the lack of funding for mental health care for those not fortunate enough to have private health insurance. Still others will look at this most recent shooting as an example of what is wrong with the culture of violence in America.
No matter how you chose to view this event in the broader scope of societal issues, no matter what kind of debate will result, the fact remains that for the friends and families of those lost and injured yesterday, including the shooter, this is a personal tragedy that will alter their lives forever. The discussion events like this precipitate are necessary and important, but not more so than remembering that these were real people with real families who deserve our sympathy and respect.