So, what do we do now?
Ask for vigilante justice, like a guy who called The Herald this week asking to bring back public executions, or hole up with six-shooters and wait for some jerk to try and rip us off?
Or do we remember that Phillip Fleming Watts Jr., 20 years old and charged with shooting four people in three recent robberies, is in jail?
Police said Watts confessed to seven robberies in all, dating back to October. The past month was different from other crime sprees. People were terrified about where, or who, would be next.
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Watts is alleged to have shot a woman in a Rock Hill store robbery in late January after already getting the money. Then, police say, he got the money Feb. 5 from a Fort Mill store, then shot two people. Then, in an attempted robbery in Rock Hill last week at a check-cashing business, Watts allegedly put a customer in a headlock, then shot her twice.
The police talked of the public fear when asking for help in finding the shooter. They were right. Clerks, customers, blacks, whites, Asians, Hispanics, were scared.
The first shooting victim was an Asian woman. The second and third, at the same incident, were an Asian woman and a white man. The fourth was a black woman. Everybody could get hurt.
"My mom works out here, I was concerned for her safety," said David Locke, who owns a mobile food business.
Kimberly Mahoney, who owns a restaurant/bar, said she even considered closing "until they caught whoever it was" after the second robbery/shooting. Then after the third incident last week, where a customer was shot, she and her customers were paranoid, leery of almost anyone who walked through the door.
"People were asking, 'Do you know him?' of any stranger," Mahoney said. "I was on pins and needles."
York County Sheriff Bruce Bryant has been a cop for more than 35 years. Same for Rock Hill Police Chief John Gregory. Fort Mill Police Chief Jeff Helms has been helping people as a policeman almost as long. All have worked murder cases, sex assaults, everything that man can do to maim, hurt or kill.
The cases, unsolved for days that turned into weeks, "brought more terror to this community" than any he has ever seen, Bryant said.
Gregory called what happened "terrorizing" to the community because there was no rationale or pattern.
"Were people scared? Sure they were," Bryant said.
It would be easy now for the some of us to call for swift punishment as severe as can be meted out, for the public to blame the sprawl of big-city Charlotte next door and wait for the next guy to rob and hope to be there to give him his just reward of a bullet in the head.
That cannot be our response.
Watts is from York County. From Rock Hill.
This was our own fear, bullets and blood and terror, not Charlotte's.
Police tell clerks or anybody that if a robber has a gun, cooperate and give up the money. Statistically, Gregory said, that has shown to be the best way to avoid injury. But these last three incidents, where the victims were shot, did not conform to patterns, Gregory and Helms said.
"This was violence that was random and unnecessary," Gregory said.
Charlie Powers, Yen Nguyen, Ping Chen and Ida Neal Lord all know that. Each was shot.
As York County zooms toward a quarter-million people -- thousands move in here every year -- crime comes with it. All cops know it. Bryant has more than doubled police presence in the Fort Mill Township, the fastest- growing area. When 10,000 people are added to York County every few years, it is adding another population larger than the city of York or town of Fort Mill.
The Fort Mill incident came in a town that had fewer than a dozen armed robberies in 2005 and 2006, Helms said. Fewer than a half-dozen last year, he said.
After former Fort Mill Mayor Charlie Powers -- a customer at the store that was robbed -- and clerk Yen Nguyen were shot, there was no immediate arrest. Fort Mill worried that Charlotte had finally come to the little town near the state line.
"The town was scared, no question," Helms said.
Turns out the guy arrested was a 20-year-old from Rock Hill, recently released from prison after other armed robberies.
Gregory and Helms said their communities are as safe as before these cases and really more safe now that an arrest has been made. Bryant said an aware public is key.
Businesspeople such as Locke and Mahoney, whom I met when they were customers at a convenience store, know that already and don't believe there is an epidemic of violence to be solved by more violence.
"You don't know when somebody will flip like that," Locke said.
However, Locke said he has more security for his food business and another business now. Mahoney said, "You can't fight fire with fire with a gun or a pistol. You don't have to be fearful, but you have to keep your guard up."
Maybe the days of stopping at a store at 2 a.m. are over. But we cannot be afraid to buy coffee at convenience stores during business hours, or to go to a check-cashing store if we need to, or stop for a drink with friends, because police say one man among more than 200,000 of us acted like a maniac.
More gunshots will not stop anybody.
More violence is not the solution.
Police caught Watts. If he is guilty and stays locked up, he can't shoot anybody else.