If you are a family member of a missing person needing assistance, please contact me. If you know something about a missing person, please call your nearest law enforcement agency.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Tinley Park Illinois Shootings

It was just another Saturday morning. At least it started out that way, but it didn't end that way. Especially not for five women and their families. Not for me either.

Every Saturday morning we've been taking our newest family member to Pet Smart for puppy classes at the Brookside Shopping Center in Tinley Park. I was planning today to drop off my daughter and granddaughter and puppy and go shopping while they did the class. We were running later than usual and as I came off the expressway ramp I could see ambulances and police cars and flashing lights throughout the parking lot.

I told my daughter that something big must have happened. I assumed that perhaps the Bank located in the shopping center had been robbed or perhaps a bomb scare. When we got to the mall entrance, it was blocked by police cars waving us away. We continued down to the next entrance, which was also blocked. My daughter dug out a Pet Smart receipt and called the store to see what we were supposed to do and was told that ther had been a shooting at Lane Bryant.

We turned around and went home. An hour later we saw the news - 5 women shot to death. I was stunned. I stood staring at the TV, trying to comprehend what I was hearing. It didn't make sense. Why would anyone be shot at Lane Bryant?

As the day progressed, my granddaughter, who is 6, and who had been with us as we watched the police cars was struggling to understand the bits and pieces of conversation she was hearing. Finally she just came out and asked. Why would someone get shot at a store? She didn't understand it. I don't understand it. What could I possibly say to her that wouldn't make her have nightmares forever? What could I tell myself so that I wouldn't have nightmares forever?

The news reports indicate that this was a robbery. A robbery. At Lane Bryant. How much money could they have started the day with? My daughter, who has worked in retails doesn't think more than $150.00. Maybe less. Maybe $100.00. Five lives. Maybe a hundred dollars. Five famiies.

As part of my work for the missing, I am horrified almost every day by something that comes across my desk. I've learned to expect to be horrified when I open an email or research a case. I don't expect to be horrified when I take my granddaughter and her Christmas puppy to the local mall on a Saturday morning.

They haven't caught the shooter yet. Lane Bryant didn't have video cameras. I don't suppose they ever really thought they needed them? Who robs a Lane Bryant store? I hope they catch him. I hope they convict him. I hope he stays in jail for the rest of his life - which is so much more of a chance than he gave his victims.

I am sad. Saturday morning shopping trips will never be the same. I lost a piece of me at the mall today. Another piece of me that wants to believe that the world isn't so bad. But I didn't lose as much as the families of those victims who lost their mother or daughter or sister or niece or granddaughter or wife or co-worker or friend. And the victims who lost their lives. I am sad.