business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

Maybe it isn't an Eye-Opener anymore, because these stories seem to be reported almost daily.

But here it is, from the Dallas Morning News:

"At least nine people were killed and seven others wounded in a shooting at the Allen Premium Outlets mall Saturday afternoon, and a police officer killed the shooter."

From the Associated Press:

"Federal officials are looking into whether the gunman who killed eight people at a Dallas-area mall expressed an interest in white supremacist ideology Sunday as they work to discern a motive for the attack, a law enforcement official told the Associated Press. The official cautioned the investigation is in its early stages.

"Federal agents have been reviewing social media accounts they believe were used by Mauricio Garcia, 33, and posts that expressed interest in white supremacist and neo-Nazi views, said the official, who could not discuss details of the investigation publicly and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.

"Garcia also had a patch on his chest when he was killed by police that read 'RWDS,' an acronym for the phrase 'Right Wing Death Squad,' which is popular among right-wing extremists and white supremacy groups, the official said.

Allen, Texas, is about 40 miles north of Dallas.  It is a small city of about 104,000 people.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott told Fox News that he is going to Allen to “begin the process of providing hope and healing.”  And in a prepared statement, he called the shooting an “unspeakable tragedy.”

Except, of course, that it is speakable.  We seem to speak of them all the time.

As for providing "hope and healing," good luck with that.  I think a lot of people believe that the situation, as it currently exists, is hopeless.  And the people who were killed will never be healed.

It was just a couple of weeks ago that we reported here about a Harvard Institute of Politics poll with some troubling revelations about people age 30 and younger:

"Overall, nearly half (48%) of young Americans indicate that they have felt unsafe in the past month, including 16% in a shopping mall, 15% on public transportation, 13% in their neighborhood -- and 21% somewhere else in their city or town. Twenty-one percent (21%) of college students felt unsafe at their school.

"Forty percent (40%) of young Americans are concerned about being a victim of gun violence or a mass shooting. One-in-three (33%) are concerned about someone close to them being a victim of gun violence or a mass shooting (31%)."

Which creates enormous stress on young people, putting their mental health at risk.  (Not just young people, of course.  That just happened to be the focus of the Harvard poll.)

Shooting happen at churches and concerts and schools and malls and supermarkets.

I find myself wondering what would happen, in response to this particular case, if the CEOs of major food retailers doing business in Texas - the names include H-E-B, Walmart, Kroger, Albertsons, Whole Foods, and Costco - went to the governor's office and made a simple statement:  "Whatever we are doing to keep people safe from gun violence isn't working.  Our customers are at risk.  Our employees are at risk.  We have to do more, and just adding more armed guards to our store staffs isn't the answer.  And if you want us to continue investing in Texas, you have to do more than just pray, have to do more than offering healing."

Now, that would be an Eye-Opener.

To be clear, I don't know what the answer is.  I do understand that the culture of guns in Texas is different from how it exists in Connecticut, where I live.

But people are dying.  They're being shot to death.  And I think maybe it is time for retailers - whose stores and people increasingly seem to be in the cross-hairs - to do something more.