Everytime you read a story of some tragedy that happens somewhere, you feel it, but because it was somewhere else, you somehow feel somewhat isolated from it. You read about Columbine, you hear about Virginia Tech, and while you feel it, you don't really feel it.
Until it hits your town, about 50 blocks from your own home. Earlier this afternoon, a troubled 19 year old dropout decided to go down in infamy at an Omaha department store, murdering eight innocent people before cowardly taking his own life. Five others were injured, a couple of which critically.
Suddenly it's real. Do I know any of those victims, or their families? Don't know; the names haven't been released yet. Three weeks ago I passed through that very store near the area where these people were murdered. A couple of hours earlier, my mother was in another store in that mall; a clerk she saw was interviewed on television this evening. Tonight, I saw the Von Maur department store as I drove home, but suddenly it meant something completely different tonight than it did when I passed it that morning.
It's a shopping mall. It's Christmas time. It's supposed to be a time of joy.
Then suddenly one punk takes an AK-47 assault weapon into a store and changes the lives of thousands of people forever. Eight innocent people are gone. Others are badly injured. Their families are suddenly torn apart. Hundreds (thousands, perhaps?) of people who were working or shopping at that mall suddenly found themselves diving for cover and being locked up, not sure what was happening or whether they were going to get out alive.
Say a prayer for those people. Remember them in your thoughts.