Saturday morning at the Columbia Mall, in this neat, planned community was cold and many people decided
to go to the mall! Columbia, Maryland is a large mall, situated between Washington DC and Baltimore
in the Maryland suburbs. I’ve been there frequently – in fact, last month.
Unfortunately, at 11:15 in the morning, a young man entered the mall and started shooting. Some witnesses
said he was shooting down into the Food Court from the 2nd Level. The shots were centered in a surf, skateboard
and snowboarder store called Zumiez.
Two young people were killed, store employees, Brianna Benlolo, 21, of College Park, MD; and Tyler Johnson
25, of Ellicott City, MD, and a man police identified as the shooter. He had killed himself, but was wearing more
ammo and had more ammo around him.
A bystander was shot in the foot, and others were injured in the chaos that started when the 8-10 shots
were fired and someone yelled, “There’s a man shooting”. But these injuries were judged to be minor.
ONE MORE ACTIVE SHOOTER. ONE MORE YOUNG MAN WITH NO MOTIVE. Seven families devastated
and looking for answers.
Again, we look at access control, and due to the NRA effect, making it ridiculously easy to carry a gun, even
a concealed gun almost anywhere, we have to start with what kind of access we should allow to public places,
like schools, malls and airports.
In a risk and reward calculation, it’s basically, does the right of an individual to take a loaded gun anywhere
they want, supersede my right to safely shop at the local mall on a Saturday morning? I think it does.
Now the burden is on the mall owners about how many of these shootings it’s going to take before we start
seeing armed guards at malls, and access control devices like metal detectors, at entrances to the larger malls.
Because think of what the mall owners lost – they lost their reputation as a “SAFE” place to go. They lost
almost a whole day of sales, and maybe they will lose another day.
The local police and county Executive were on TV saying police arrived within 2 minutes of the shootings.
and the SWAT team entered the Mall and did a store by
store search, while the media trucks assembled in the parking lot.
If people want to take loaded guns everywhere and society
thinks that’s great – then store owners are going to have to
increase security and be able to have tools to exclude these
Guns are for hunting, not for shopping!
Terrible day for Columbia Mall and it’s customers, I guess it’s a wonderful day for the security industry that will sell
lots more metal detectors, cameras, monitoring, panic alarms and more. Because that’s what we need to keep
the public safe.