A deadly shooting spree in Seattle today has captured the attention of the nation. Not just because four people were killed and two are currently in critical condition, but because of its seemingly utter randomness and unexpected nature.
It began around 11 a.m. this morning, at Cafe Racer in the University District of Seattle. I lived in the Seattle area for six years, and while I never frequented that particular coffee house, I can tell you that I would have never questioned my safety in the area at that time of day on a Wednesday morning. I bet the people there today didn't either.
Then as some sat reading and others were sipping coffee, in walked a gunman and forever changed lives, ending three of them with his gunshots. Just like that. "It's the strangest place to think of a shooting," witness Evan Hill told the Associated Press.
According to reports, a man just walked in and started firing. The suspect, who subsequently shot himself in the head as police closed in on him this afternoon according to CNN, also is thought to have killed another woman in what looks like a carjacking shortly after the Cafe Racer killings. It's not known if the suspect is currently dead or alive, but the fact that he is off the street does little to ease the fears crimes like this bring to the surface.
Every time a horrific story makes headlines, the first thing we want to know is why; what was the motive; and could it potentially happen to us. The answers often make us feel better, because we don't have a crazy ex husband, or we'd never be doing business with a drug dealer, or because we're not homeless -- whatever specific we can rule out from each case. In cases like this, however, the answers simply make us feel helpless, because it could have been any of us there today, and it could be any of us wherever it happens the next time.
Seattle certainly isn't the only city to see such random violence but they have had several unfortunate cases of it lately. In one case just last week, 43-year-old Justin Ferrari was shot and killed while driving down one of the city's streets in a minivan with his family. You honestly just never know.
Of course, we can't live in fear or let such random acts of violence interfere with us living our lives, because the fortunate truth is most of us will never be in such a horrific situation. But they sure make us realize how fragile our destinies really are.
Do you worry about random acts of violence?
Image via Michael Melchiorre/Flickr