The Midwest: conservative, family-friendly, safe.
Westroads Mall: upscale, buzzing with activity, smiling people.
Not two days ago.
Stuff like this isn't supposed to happen in Omaha. It shouldn't happen anywhere. But here? It's such an unlikely place. But I suppose everyone feels that way, no matter where you live: why here?
It's been plastered on CNN since it happened early Wednesday afternoon. The killer had said to a friend, "Now I'll be famous". Is he getting his wish? His name and face are everywhere: on every new site and every news channel.
Shouldn't we be giving more attention to the victims and their families?
Eight people, out for a day of Christmas shopping.
One of them the sister-in-law of Matt's co-worker. He went running out of work on Wednesday, saying "my sister-in-law works there!".
He hasn't been back to work since. I wonder if he'll come back at all.
My brother-in-law was at the mall with my niece and nephew, 3 and 5 years old. They had decided to shop for Mom's Christmas present. They could've been there. Thankfully, they were across the mall. They're pretty shaken - who wouldn't be?
I was in tears again this morning, reading profiles of the victims that friends and families had contribued to (Way to go, MSNBC.com!). It's hard to accept that it happened - and that it happened about a mile from where I live and where I work.
What state does a man's heart have to be in to commit such an act? How does he justify it in his own mind? If he wanted to die, why did he have to drag other families into it? Especially just a few weeks before Christmas?
My heart goes out to those dealing with such a tragic loss.
My heart goes out to our city - it seems everyone is in a state of grieving, even those who weren't intimately involved.
Father, have mercy on us.