Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
The Washington Post: Murder at the mall

The Washington Post

The Washington Post

First Published Jan 29 2014 01:01 am • Last Updated Jan 29 2014 01:01 am

A troubled young man armed with a shotgun took two innocent lives, and his own, at the Mall in Columbia, Md., on Saturday — an unspeakable, unbearable crime.

It occurred in a relatively affluent suburb, in the anodyne precincts of an upscale shopping mall, amid a planned community known more for its cultural diversity and harmonious race relations than for violent crime. The murders appeared inexplicable; the gunman, 19-year-old Darion Marcus Aguilar, had no obvious motive for his actions nor connection with his victims.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

That makes his crime no harder or easier to digest. It just leaves questions.

It is meager comfort to the victims’ families, or to the community, to think that the shooter’s killing spree could have been more lethal than it was. He bought his weapon, a shotgun, in Maryland, which has some of the toughest gun laws in the country. In another state, Mr. Aguilar might have laid his hands more easily on an assault weapon, the sale of which was outlawed by lawmakers in Annapolis last year.

But that doesn’t mitigate the trauma he visited on the mall or on the victims’ loved ones.

What makes a young man who works in a doughnut shop, who has no apparent history of violence and no criminal record, kill? What drives him to buy a weapon, stock up on ammunition, fashion crude explosive devices from fireworks and head to the mall?

Why does he shoot two apparent strangers, then stop shooting well before running short of ammunition? And why do these seemingly random acts of bloodletting persist in the United States even as crime rates plummet?

Many homicide victims in this country know their killers or are related to them. That’s part of what makes a shooting at the mall — a place that functions as the town square — so horrifying.

We may be inured to murderous flare-ups from drug deals gone bad; we may know how to process domestic disputes that end in rage and death. But a man walking into a skateboard shop at a mall and opening fire — it defies comprehension, no matter how often we have witnessed similar spectacles.

Local and state officials, including Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, D, went to the Mall in Columbia on Monday — to eat, to speak with shoppers, to say sensitive and curative words. They were right to do so, and maybe it will help. But any talk of closure, or moving past this tragedy, is just that: talk.


story continues below
story continues below

Some wounds, physical and psychological, may fade over time. But they never fully heal.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.