Back when I went off to college, I visited a friend’s home and she had a “real” mailbox. I had only ever really seen one when I was at my grandma’s house and I was a little kid. She thought it was funny that I found a mailbox so cool, but in Columbia we don’t have mailboxes at each door – we have community mailboxes, so that you see your neighbors when you go out to get your mail. As an adult, I appreciate them, and they’re cooler than “real” mailboxes.
We have ten village centers, a great college and public school system, shopping, dining, parks, lakes, gyms, pools, ice skating, sport organizations and venues, horseback riding, nature centers, a terrific music venue, festivals, anything you could think of, all right at your fingertips. And, until now, there has always been the sense of security that wherever you go, you are 'pretty much' safe.
|Evening coverage on local news.|
I was not at the mall. I can only imagine how scary it was for everyone who was there. Even if they were safe, the act of being forced to hide, the thoughts that must go through one’s mind of what could be, it’s so scary. I feel sad for the two people who lost their lives and their grieving family members, and for the shooter who felt there was a need to go to that extreme, as well as his family. All three were under the age of 25, and one of them had a child of her own, it’s so sad.
And, even though I was home safe, all I could think was how our town’s name was now going to be marred by this event, just another example of what can happen. Looking at the video footage of SWAT team members and other law enforcement officials by our Sears, JCP, seeing the lot where I always park my car, the garage and bridge where I used to walk everyday in to work for years, seeing the names of our roads on TV, it was all surreal and very upsetting. It’s cool when your locale is on national TV, but not for something like this. Then I was slightly horrified when I noticed the top trending topics on twitter, for the United States setting, was #ColumbiaMall – that is our mall, our home. And everyone was talking about it. But other hash tags were popping up as well. #ColumbiaStrong #HocoStrong #HocoUnited - a positive sign, illustrating how we band together.
As horrific as this situation was, we were very lucky it was not worse, and we are lucky that our first responders were able to act as quickly as they did. Again I will say, I love my community, and I love my town, and I am proud to say that this is where I’m from.
These are just my thoughts, as I said I wasn't there, just a part of the community here. If you were at the mall when this happened, and want to share, feel free to leave your account in the comments here, or facebook/twitter message me.