Yesterday afternoon, a young man entered the mall three miles from where I live carrying an AR-15 and opened fire. He killed two innocent people and himself, and a third victim is in the hospital in serious but stable condition with a gunshot wound to the chest. I was not there when it happened, but I did pass through an hour before the shooting, and that particular mall has simply been "the mall" to me since childhood. I am supposed to be attending a midnight showing of The Hobbit at that mall Thursday night. Today the police released the identity of the shooter; I did not know him, but a few of my friends did, and they remember him as a sweet, caring kid. They are all in complete shock.
I find myself reeling. It's one thing to know intellectually that such a thing can happen anywhere, but to have such a senseless tragedy hit so very close to home is something I don't think anyone can ever be prepared for. Certainly in Oregon we don't expect rampages like this: the last one I can remember anywhere in this state was back in '98, when 15-year-old Kip Kinkel murdered his parents and then went on a shooting spree at his high school down in Springfield.
I just can't wrap my head around it. This is my hometown. I've always felt totally safe here. What the fuck happened?