We're in shock around here today. And feeling the holiday spirit slipping away. Yesterday we found out that a person we know from Columbus died in a car accident, left a spouse and three small ones behind. Then today...
If you're watching any national news, you'll know that one of the malls here in Omaha, Westroads Mall, was brutally attacked today; a gunman (or gunmen, they're not confirming yet) killed at least 9 people in Von Maur, and I'm guessing the death toll will be higher once they get everyone out. The city is pretty much at a standstill, in shock at such violence in a place that so many of us frequent and have always felt "safe" in. This mall is not in a questionable part of town, is not known for gang or any other type of violent activity, and this is SUCH a shock.
We were at home today having our weekly playdate with our friends. Thank GOD we didn't do what we often do on Playdate Wednesdays at lunch time...go to Westroads Mall for lunch and let the kids play in the playland, right up the corridor from Von Maur. We could so easily have been there today. She and I just sat and watched the TV in shock while the kids played in the other room, grateful that we met here instead today.
Imagine what the holidays will be like for the families of those victims. Think about how you feel when you look at, say, your Christmas tree. My God, can you even fathom the pain they will feel when they look at their Christmas tree? Are there presents under the tree for those people? Will they place them now in their casket with them instead? Are there children who will always remember 2007 as the year their mommy or daddy died? Will they EVER enjoy the holiday season again? And apparently the latest is that the shooter took his own life when it happened, and had someone deliver a suicide note to the police station just after it happened.
So that selfish bastard will never have to look in the eyes of those he hurt and killed, will never have to suffer the consequences. Then again, I suspect there is a special room in hell for people who kill strangers for no reason while they are shopping for loved ones during the holidays.
How do people like that exist in our world? How can we endure it? What keeps us from hiding in our closets with our loved ones held close to us, praying for protection in a world where no one is safe? My heart is aching for those people and their families, and at the same time I am feeling the need to be on my knees thanking God that we were spared, as we have been spared from so much pain. Thankfulness comes to mind again.
Hugs your loved ones, folks. The news doesn't get any better as the days go on.