Friday, March 21, 2008

Prepared, or Paranoid?

Approximately 100 days after the shooting rampage in an Omaha Von Maur department store, another Von Maur incident occurred—this time in neighboring Lincoln, Neb.

I was in my office on Tuesday (March 18) on the phone with one of my Chain Store Age colleagues when, in the background, I heard some kind of urgent news break-in over the radio. The broadcaster said a man with a butcher knife was in my local Lincoln Von Maur—in the upscale SouthPointe Pavilions shopping center—and that the open-air center was in the process of being evacuated.

A few panicky hours later, during which time the center was successfully cleared by quick-thinking Von Maur and SouthPointe personnel and swarming Lincoln police, it was announced that the man—though not yet apprehended—was likely not a threat, but rather was apparently shopping in Von Maur before heading over to the nearby Scheel’s Sporting Goods to have his knife sharpened.

Sounds ridiculous, I know. And many a family shared a shaky laugh over dinner that night, as they discussed the events of the day.

Although it appears that the man was innocent, though not very bright, the incident shines a scary light on the state we’re in. The Dec. 5 shooting in Omaha, which left eight innocent people plus the shooter dead, has left the rest of us fearing the worst, looking over our shoulders even on a sunny Tuesday at our favorite upscale shopping spot.

—Katherine Field

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