Fort Mill Times

Opinion: This madness is hitting way too close to home here in Fort Mill

Karson Whitesell
Karson Whitesell

Tragic, senseless, avoidable. All words that instantly come to mind when looking at recent events in Fort Mill and York.

The madness is hitting way too close to home. I don’t want to get into overarching issues like gun control and mental health. I instead would like to ask a more basic question – what drives a person to snuff out the life of someone else? Someone who has done that person no harm?

Maybe I’m an outlier, but if I look at the angriest I’ve been, even in that moment, the thought of doing fatal harm to somebody never crossed my mind.

What makes it worse from the reports of the two recent murders in York County is that the assailants didn’t even know their victims. A man is accused of intentionally firing on several officers called for a domestic disturbance, and, in another incident that is really difficult for me to both process and comprehend, a lone gunman simply walked up to a counter and shot a cashier, killing her. That cashier was only 19 years old and already had multiple overseas mission trips among her accomplishments.

While part of me is relieved nobody else at The Peach Stand was hurt, it is inconceivable to me that a person would just walk in and ruthlessly take a life. Not out of anger. Not for robbing them. But just for the sake of pulling a trigger?

As a parent, it shakes me to the core that you can prepare for many things in life and that simply isn’t one of them. A teenager’s life has ended for what appears to be no other reason than being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

When life is treated so haphazardly, what can be done? I don’t want to sound overly dramatic, but that is a terrifying concept. Some people are killed after they put themselves in harm’s way. That’s what happened to Det. Mike Doty, one of the police officers shot in York by a suspect. But what about those who are in what always seemd like a safe place – where they work, or school or a house of worship. Home, even.

As I watched the news reports about the Kentucky school shooting the morning I wrote this column, I thought to myself that the only thing separating the national news covering that event and The Peach Stand shooting was the number of people killed. It’s both a sad commentary on coverage, but also society.

I tend to see reports of killings as being too far away to have an impact. Las Vegas. Paris. New York. It just doesn’t seem like it can happen here. It can and it did and I don’t think there are any answers that can make sense of what happened. That is perhaps the hardest part.