by Will Andrews, Training Director
This morning’s news brings us the story of 3 shot at a local convenience store, and a car stolen. It seems the perpetrator approached a driver at a gas pump and demanded car keys. When the driver refused, the perpetrator shot him. He then walked into the store itself, again demanding car keys, and shot at the clerk, luckily missing him, and left the store. Outside, in the parking lot, he shot a third person, a lady who had just pulled into the lot, and then stole her car. The car, with the perpetrator still in it, was found less than 2 miles from where I sit as I read this.
The news media is quick to call events such as this “random violence.” I propose there was nothing random about it. We are comforted by the word random because it attempts to define an event that we don’t understand as something that can’t be understood. This was not a random act by the perpetrator. He chose the place, the time, and the victims. He had very real reasons for his choices. Our inability to understand his reasons does not make this “random.”
The use of the word “random” sets a dangerous precedence in our minds. Something that is truly random is unpredictable, and therefore unavoidable. Meteorite destroys your roof? That’s random. No one could have ever guessed that would happen. Dude walks up to you and demands your car keys? I can’t call that random because we have a short window of opportunity to detect his intentions and react accordingly.
Keep your head up. Keep your eyes open. Be aware of people approaching you. If victim #1 of this story had simply stayed in motion, and kept his vehicle between him and the shooter, we would likely have a very different outcome. If victim #3 had noticed his approach, she could have shifted into reverse and driven away. The moral of the story is that you can’t react to threats you don’t notice. Keep your head up. Keep your eyes open. Be prepared and stay safe!