Malls are more than a place to shop; they’re a gathering place in most communities. You often see people power walking in the mornings and teens hanging out on the weekends. With the recent tragedy at the Mall in Columbia, Patch asked people on Facebook whether the mall shooting would make them think twice about going to the local mall.
While some didn’t feel that it could happen in “their” town, others said it could happen anywhere at any time so people just need to stay aware.
“My distaste for malls happened several shootings ago,” wrote Karen LePrell Schlicht on the Havre de Grace Facebook page. “I honestly prefer shopping there once a year when I have to for certain school clothes for my teen.”
“Any store, school or populated area is just as likely to be targeted,” wrote Kenneth Kreisel on the Bel Air Patch Facebook page. “Anyone at any time can shoot you for no good reason, that's just a fact of life.”
“It could happen at Walmart, Target … well any store or any place,” wrote Mary Jones on the Aberdeen Patch Facebook page. “What’s this world coming to?”
“What will be will be,” wrote Jackie Jax Stem, Westminster. “If it’s going to happen to you, it’s going to happen. It may be the mall, Wal-Mart or in your own driveway. You can’t stop what is going to happen. No sense living in fear.”
“When I go to any mall or any store I go in and get what I came for and come right back out but I am aware of my surroundings and watch the people!” wrote Dana Jones Kennedy, Bel Air.
Virginia Barco Cain shared on the Dundalk Patch Facebook page that all was well at the Eastpoint Mall on Sunday adding, “Anywhere I go now though, I pay attention to my surroundings. You can’t stop living and the true reality is no where is 100 percent safe today.”
“I don't visit malls that much,” wrote Michelle Watters, Bel Air. “Even going into a grocery store bothers me after the incident on Saturday.”
“I’d rather shop small and local,” wrote Julie Bensch Bahr, Owings Mills-Reisterstown.
“Absolutely,” wrote Stephanie Cullen, Towson. “Ever since someone was shot in Towson Town Center, [it’s] felt a bit sketchy.”
“Maryland is so stupid and ignorant about these gun laws,” wrote Will Sparkes, Bel Air. “We are better off having citizens armed with handguns so things like this can be stopped.”
A handful of people on Patch pages across Maryland referenced the Beltway sniper attacks as a reminder of how random some acts can be.
Ken Lawrence, Anne Arundel, wrote: “Can happen anywhere. Even a movie or getting gas. Remember Montgomery County? Snipers.”
“I will be more aware of what's going on around me while I'm out shopping,” wrote Evelyn Vogt, Aberdeen. “It's like when that gunman was shooting random people at gas stations and from highway overpasses, you look at everything differently.”
“You can’t stop crazy,” wrote Andy Glesson on the Lutherville-Timonium Patch Facebook page. “Crazy can happen anywhere!’
“Freaks are everywhere,” wrote Denise Lucas on the Bowie Patch Facebook page. “You can't stop living because of these very isolated incidents. Sad times.”
“Did I stop going to the movies, restaurants, marathons or government buildings … no,” wrote Heidi Falter on the Catonsville Patch Facebook page.
“It definitely makes you take a step back,” wrote Jessica Hamilton, Owings Mills-Reisterstown. “It could really happen anywhere, at any time.”“As a people we need to unite and become stronger,” wrote George Stewart, Catonsville. “Not just for a few days but for life. We need to help each other in order to help ourselves evolve into a better nation.”