Omaha Mall Reopens With “Increased Security”

Westroads Mall, the Omaha, Nebraska mall where 19-year-old Robert Hawkins murdered eight people Wednesday (and then took his own life) reopened today under what was called “increased security.”

Nobody specified what this “increased security” entailed; but realistically, what can really be done — and what would customers be willing to put up with — to make malls absolutely safe? Malls can limit the number of entrances and set up metal detectors at each one: inconvenient, but we’ve ready learned to accept greater inconvenience at airports and everybody accepts the need for heightened mall security in Israel. In many ways, the United States over the past six years has become the new Israel.

As for mall security personnel themselves… Reportedly, Westroads Mall security had their eye on Hawkins when he entered the mall for the second time Wednesday. Should they have been armed (and appropriately trained) and ready to take him out the moment he made a threatening move? Very likely this would have saved seven or eight innocent lives — but does anybody doubt this policy would lead to considerably more deaths in the long run?

Any suggestions? What inconveniences would you accept for the sake of safer shopping malls? Or… Is this not actually a problem?

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And He Can Probably Expect Coal in His Stocking

Clint Westwood, a 22-year-old University of Montana drama major, appeared to be surprised when he was changed with misdemeanor assault after shoving a pit into the face of a shopping-mall Santa and shouting,”What do you think of that, Santa?” He’d videotaped the incident, intending to use it as part of a school project, and apparently just sort of assumed Santa would be okay with it.

I’m thinking fifteen years ago, young Clint was probably the kid who thought it was funny to kick Chuck E. Cheese every time he walked by.