Malls as “Soft Targets”

The sorrowful  news of  this past week has been  the mall shooting in Africa where they currently believe 62 people have been murdered, over a hundred and fifty injured and 60 people are listed as missing.  It is one of the deadliest attacks in years and years.  It’s horrible isn’t it?

I n reading about the Kenyan mall attacks I noticed that at first some of the British papers were talking about a young woman they were labeling the “White Widow” who they seemed to think was instrumental in carrying out and planning the attacks.  Today over at Slate I read that the people who would know more about it, the  people in charge of security have said that the men who attacked shoppers in the mall were dressed like women and that there may not have been a woman in the group.

That is what happens when news is broadcast immediately.  You get a lot of chaff in your wheat!  The noise drowns out the facts.  It’s dirty news.

Still, a mall was used to attack citizens who were innocents.  They weren’t there as political pawns in some game of power.  They were eating at the food court, or shopping for clothing.  They shouldn’t be murdered for going about their lives!  And yet, that is what happened.

Some people are now discussing whether or not malls should have tighter security.  You know, they want to outfit them with metal detectors or better staff them with trained guards with weapons and permission to shoot to kill terrorists, but who wants to shop in a place that you have to strip before entering, or leave your purse or bookbag at a front desk before you can walk around inside.  I don’t want to get blown up while looking for a book or a toy.  It’s despicable that people would hurt other people like that, and so maybe we should protect ourselves.

I hate to be harsh, but I don’t think we are there yet.  I think this is a horrible situation and I’m dreadfully sorry for all of the families that were harmed, or disrupted, or just frightened by this attack on regular people.  But how many malls are there?  How many patrons do malls have?  How many terrorists have killed people in them?   It is very sad that it happened, but I don’t think we need to turn our malls into fortresses.

My heart goes out to all the folks who have been personally touched by the madness in Kenya.  I am so sorry.

I hope we’ll think about things like “soft targets” or places where there are a lot of people without a lot of protection.  I don’t necessarily want to invest in drastic countermeasures for something that might never occur, but I think it would serve us well if we thought a bit about it.  What do you think?




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