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Safety shouldn't be taken for granted

It's happened again.

There has been another mall shooting - the latest occurring last Wednesday at a crowded shopping mall in Omaha, Nebraska. It's the fourth such mall shooting this year in the United States.

Last week's deadly rampage by a young gunman, distraught with his life and his recent firing from a popular hamburger restaurant, seemingly fired upon would-be shoppers at random. The shootings left eight people dead, including the 19-year-old gunman, identified by police as Robert H. Hawkins, of Bellevue, Nebraska. Police said he took his own life.

The fatal shootings, which occurred inside a department store, should never have happened. And neither should the other mall shootings. It's tragic.

What can be done about such senseless shootings? That's the big question now being asked around the country.

Personally, I'm not sure anything can prevent such tragedies. I know for sure there are a lot of people walking around America, who either own guns or have easy access to them. Anyone of them could become a potential sniper or serial killer.

More security guards are not the answer, necessarily. Granted, the more visible security personnel are at malls the less chances of such a tragedy taking place, perhaps. But many security firms hire guards that aren't certified to carry weapons. So what's that person going to do against someone brandishing a gun or worse - firing it at a crowd of shoppers. There's little he or she could do as a security officer if such resulted.

I honestly believe we, the public, are safer when we see armed officers walking around the mall like the deputies we all see when we shop at Augusta Mall. As a private citizen, I feel more of a sense of being safe and secure when I see deputies from the Richmond County Sheriff's Department patrolling there. I know that if something were to happen, they are trained to know how to handle situations, if a real shooting incident erupted.

Additionally, they could call for backup from the SWAT team and other deputies in the event that the emergency situation warranted such.

I hope such a shooting rampage never happens again anywhere in our country. I'm not so naïve, however, to believe that such may never happen again. It could. And it could be anywhere at any time.

That's why I believe we have to live our lives to the fullest everyday. After all, none of us have any guarantee whether we'll even be here tomorrow. We need to live each day being the best people we can be to ourselves and especially to others - family, friends, co-workers and even strangers.

God, I believe, wants us to live that way - each and everyday.

Web posted on Thursday, December 13, 2007

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