A Shot Goes Off and I Don’t Care

Garden State Plaza - site of recent shooting

Kate Betancur/Getty Images via the Examiner

I should care. I should be worked up.
I should feel something.
Yet, I don’t care.
I’m trying to care.
Earlier this week, a gunman entered the Garden State Plaza mall in New Jersey at 9:30 P.M. He fired a number of shots at the security cameras. Customers and store workers were trapped for hours as police searched for the gunman.  Police found the gunman dead at 3:20 A.M. due to a self-inflicted gunshot wound in the head from a rifle.
The 20-year-old was a known drug dealer. The news outlets have reported his goal was to die by the hand of police in a blaze of glory.
Why exactly he wanted this type of end? Well, that has not been reported or is simply unknown.
The Garden State Plaza, the biggest mall in New Jersey, is located 5 minutes from where I live.
I have seen many movies at the movie theater that anchors the Garden State Plaza. I have put my children on the carousel that dots one of the main thoroughfares of the Garden State Plaza. I have checked out clothes at the Macys located in the Garden State Plaza.
So, this madman shooting up the place should bother me – shouldn’t it?
It’s close to home. I could have been there. My wife and children could have been there. I actually know someone who was there (the boys’ babysitter).
But I can’t seem to get too worked up about it.
It’s not because no one was murdered. Thank G-d a million times that a human tragedy did not occur, other than a drugged out 20-year-old wasting his life in a terribly sad way.
No, that’s not it.
I never thought that I lived in a bubble and was safe from tragedy. I watch the news and read the newspaper. Hell, I live just outside of New York City and travel the city every day. I am not naïve.
Everyone I know, myself included, has a 9/11 story.
I shook my head and fought back tears at other such events throughout the country and beyond.
But for the Garden State Plaza shooting, I am indifferent. I don’t really feel a need to know all the details. It happened and it sucks. I get that. Okay, what’s next?
This is our world today. Random shootings in public places happen.
As much as it sickens me to think, read, and write that, I know it’s true.
And there ain’t a damn thing that I or anyone can else do about it.
Maybe, I am becoming desensitized. What choice do I have?
Details of the event were gleaned from the Newark Star Ledger

17 thoughts on “A Shot Goes Off and I Don’t Care

  1. I feel the same way! We haven’t watched much regular TV since we moved to the new house and refused to get any regular television channels (we only have Netflix and Amazon Prime). I don’t catch the news often, but when we do it’s always the same thing. Nothing ever seems to get better or worse.

    But I suppose I would feel very differently if the violence directly impacted my life.

    • I would feel uninformed if I did not keep up with the news. I have a strange sense that I must but I am finding it harder to get worked up. There are so many terrible things going on.

  2. Sometimes I’m worried because I don’t care more… Have we become desensitized? Does it happen so often that we’ve accepted it? Or, am I more in touch with the world than I thought and recognize that these things are going to happen, and when my time is up, it’s up?

    Whatever the answer is – I’m very glad that your family wasn’t there and that you guys are okay. Including the babysitter! She seems like such a part of your lives!

    • Based on your response, I suppose I am not the only one thinking this.
      Maybe, in a way it’s actually healthy. How else would you get out of the house with all the crap that can and sometimes does occur.

  3. I wish I could feel the same way. While I would agree that we have become desensitized to the issue of random gun violence in this country, I can’t help but think that my daughter, who works at the movie theater, could have been there. I can’t help but worry that just because something terrible didn’t happen to innocent people last week, doesn’t mean it can’t happen in the future. Worse, I feel like it’s bound to happen — if not here, then elsewhere.

    The more these types of things happen, the less we care about them. We do become desensitized to the violence. I can’t help but think that’s a bad thing. A very bad thing.

    I have no idea what the solution is — and while I’m not a fan of guns, I don’t know that gun control is at the heart of the issue here — I think we have to change the mindset. I don’t know how to do that, though. Do you? Does anybody? How do we teach people that other people are not expendable?

    • First, I am very glad your daughter is okay (I may have bought tickets from her in the past) and that no injuries occurred.
      It will happen in the future. I have no doubt of that. And it’s rotten.
      Maybe you are right about the desensitizing thing – I don’t know at this point.
      I do believe that our value of life is skewed and that people want to be on tv, have their moment of fame, etc. I wish I had an answer.

  4. I think I would probably be worked up about it. But you’re right, it’s becoming all too common these days and it’s sad. I think it just becomes too much for us. Several years ago there was a robbery at a store I go to only occasionally. It happened at a time of day when I would have been there. I felt really sick about it.

    In any case, glad you and your family weren’t there and that no bystanders died.

  5. OK I gotta step in here … I do think it’s sad that we’ve become so desensitized to these shootings. IF I lived so close, I’d be freaking out. While I’m glad that no one other then the shooter was hurt, I think it hurts us as a country and for you, a local community when we can’t be concerned about these constant shootings. We get more worked up over Miley Cyrus than we do about gun control — come on, people … wake up!

    I’m going to step down off my soapbox before I start sounding too preachy.

  6. I am so glad I am not the only one who felt that way Wednesday night. I was at Garden State Plaza that Friday morning. The alarm went off and the way people were strolling towards the exit so casually you almost forgot that this crazy violence is, sadly, our new normal.

  7. Me too. And I’ve been wondering why. Is it my changing perspective with age and experience? Was it always this way or have things changed in the last 25 years? Or is it that we have access to so much more news that we now hear about things like this more often? Either way, I am also largely desensitized to events especially occurring outside my immediate circle. I almost feel like this is the way of the world. Like the Warlocks from the H.G. Wells tale coming up to take a sacrifice every so often. And the fact that I can even think of things in such terms makes me feel jaded. But I guess that’s how I’ve come to see it to make it make sense, because I don’t feel we can do much about it. Gun control might help, but really how much? Anyway, thanks for the honesty in your post.

    • I think it’s a combination of all the things you mention.
      I also think we have to be desensitized to some degree or life would just be too hard.
      I don’t think gun control is the answer (though I hate guns). A better answer would be a way for people to have a greater appreciation of life. Of course, how we find a way to make people have such an appreciation is the billion dollar question.

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