None of us really thinks about an “active shooter” event occurring at a mall. Due to the way the term has evolved and been primarily used, when we think “active shooter” we tend to think of a school. Mass shootings at schools have happened at every grade level from elementary to middle school, high school and in colleges. For all that, the term “going postal” was coined far before the term “active shooter” and it’s not used nearly as much anymore.
With the Trolley Square Mall shooting incident, we see an active shooter event that occurred in a public venue, commonly occupied by a high number of people, and designed in such a way as to be densely populated. When you think about it, schools are “good” targets for active shooters who wants lots of publicity for two reasons: first, due to the purpose and design of the school structure, the shooter gets lots of targets in a relatively confined space. Second, because of the age of the majority of the targets, there is a huge emotional hook attached that garners lots of air time in major media outlets. There’s a difference with a place like a mall: while some of the people MAY be children or students, the larger majority are adults and employees of the various establishments. There is a greater potential terror factor because almost everyone visits a mall at some point, but there is less of an emotional (sympathy) hook involved.
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The remainder of this article is part of the book "Active Killers and the Crimes They Perpetrated," available in print or ebook via Amazon.