Friday, December 4, 2015

Soft Targets

As I entered the gym this morning for my Pilates class, I thought of how easily someone could shoot up the place.

I feel secure in my own home, but as soon as I arrive at a place where many people gather, thoughts of possible shooters enter my mind.

These two young residents of Redlands have succeeded in planting terror.

At 11 am I arrived at the DMV to renew my driver's license, wondering if any irate person might select this government office as a target.  It is certainly soft: open doors, 100-200 people standing in lines and sitting in chairs.

When I saw two babies being pushed in strollers, the baby left with her grandmother in San Bernardino came to mind.  How do you kiss a baby goodbye and pick up an AR-15 assault rifle?

A few weeks ago in Telluride, after the shooting in Paris, I had joked, "Well, at least we're safe here.  No terrorist would select this area as a target."  

Today, I'm not so sure.  No one would have predicted the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino as a place to watch out for violence.  Disrupting ski tourism seems a more likely event than killing at that unknown building filled with county offices.

I lived in San Bernardino for a year and gave birth in the Redlands Community Hospital.  Was that where the gunwoman had her baby?

Two and a half years ago, the same assault rifle was used to kill seven people in Santa Monica, at the college a half-block from my house.

In 2003 Santa Monica hosted the driving-error killing of ten people by an 86-year-old who stepped on the wrong pedal of his Buick LeSabre.

All these places are what we now call soft targets.  No care had been taken to insure killers would not enter, whether armed with guns or with an automobile.

Do we need guards at the door of every gym, football field, and state or county government office?  (Federal buildings now have armed security guards and gun detectors.)

It's not hard to plant terror.  It's hard to grow peace.

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