The Greenwood Park Mall shooting claimed three lives, but could have been so much worse. Were it not for an armed citizen who pulled off an amazing feat of shooting, all things considered, it probably would have been.
But in addition to the three fatalities, two people were injured.
The family of one of those injured are now filing a lawsuit against both Greenwood Park Mall and the company responsible for providing security for the mall.
According to the lawsuit, the girls’ mother, Eumeka Stewart, said she was walking toward the food court to meet the girls when she heard gunshots. She ran from the mall with a crowd of people and pulled her car up near an entrance, but could not reach her daughters by phone.
A first responder later told Stewart her daughter had been shot, but she did not know if the girl was still alive. Stewart eventually heard from her other daughter, who was hiding inside a movie theater. Stewart’s son, Samuel Stewart IV, went into the theater to get his sister – who had fainted – and her friend out of the mall.
Both girls survived, but the family alleges Simon should have known the risk of active shooters and had better security. The lawsuit claims the shooter walked from his home through the mall’s parking lot past “multiple security patrols and video cameras” before entering the mall. The suit says the gunman was carrying “a long, black backpack consistent with those used to tote rifles and other assault weapons” as he walked through the lot and the mall.
I get where they’re coming from, but at the above link, there’s a picture of the backpack in question. Yes, it’s consistent with the kind someone might carry a rifle in. It’s also consistent with a big backpack someone might carry for a number of other reasons, too. There’s nothing there that would distinctly identify it as carrying a gun.
If anything, most folks looking at that picture might well have figured the individual who later turned out to be the shooter was actually a bigger risk for shoplifting. At least, that’s the take I’d probably have based on the image available.
While mass shootings are a risk, there’s little reason to believe any particular mall will be the target of such an attack.
This is probably more likely to be a case of looking for someone to blame, someone to punish after something awful. In this case, it’s suing Greenwood Park Mall and their security provider. In other cases, it’s blaming guns and demanding gun control.
In either case, it’s simply a matter of wanting someone to blame and, at least in this case, the person actually responsible is dead. You can’t demand a corpse pay for hospital expenses, now can you?
Don’t get me wrong, I do think it’s entirely possible security missed something they should have noticed, but we also need to ask how often they saw similar things that turned out to be nothing. It’s easy to look at what happened after the fact and figure that everyone should have seen what was coming. I think we all do that at some point or another–I know I have, unfortunately.
But I can’t escape the feeling that, like with gun control, this is simply a case of wanting to blame someone else for what happened than anything else.