I wrote the below thoughts on Friday, June 29, 2018. It has taken me this long to post them, simply because I haven’t wanted to believe that something like this could happen here. But, in fact, it did. And sadly, I have mostly avoided that area since (I have now driven by there once). Not because I am scared, but because I don’t want to see a constant reminder of what happened. But it did happen, and now a memorial sits across from the mall that I take my children to on most cold or rainy days.
I also want my blog to be positive and uplifting, but I think it is important to hear views of those in the communities directly affected, even people like me, who didn’t personally know any of the innocent people killed. My heart goes out to everyone affected by this, and other, senseless shootings in our country.
“At 2:30 pm on Thursday (June 28), my family was on our way to a baseball game. As we traveled north toward Baltimore, we saw several police vehicles go by in the opposite direction. Then a few more. At least 8 passed us before we saw the fire department bus – I didn’t know such a thing existed, but there it went, lights on. My son squealed with excitement – he likes the lights. I remember saying to my husband, “Good thing we aren’t going that way,” thinking it must be a bad accident. I also commented that with all those vehicles, it could only be one other thing. I was thinking it might be an officer down. Even in the current climate of our country, even with the almost weekly occurrences, a mass shooting didn’t enter my mind. I quickly forgot about the police cars, as I was driving and was focused on getting us to the ballgame. We were meeting friends at the game, and fairly early on, they told us something was happening by the mall. Details weren’t really available, but we were told there had been a shooting there.
My husband and I regularly take our sons to the mall, and have even discussed what we’d do if a shooting occurred there, so it almost seemed expected. Maybe a fight in the food court got out of hand – that had happened before. It wasn’t long before we found out it was across the street from the mall, at 888 Bestgate, that the shooting happened. We know that building. We drive by it regularly. I saw a doctor in that building during both of my pregnancies. My husband had professional interactions with people in some of the suites there. A neighbor of mine had worked in the past for The Capital Gazette. It had happened… the violence seeping through our country had hit our mostly peaceful little corner of Maryland. It felt as if it was only a matter of time, yet it was still hard to stomach.
Five innocent people died yesterday. Another shooting waking another community up to the reality that it can happen anywhere. Right now, I’m trying to process it, unable yet to drive down that stretch of road, unable to enter the mall that I say I go to too often. I don’t want to go to the place that tenants and patrons from the building were evacuated to, to the parking lot where National news reporters were camped out until this morning. I don’t want to look up as I unload my children from the car to see the memorial that has formed across the street. One more community has been robbed of its sense of security and that community is mine.”