Special Maryland edition of this feature!
In Baltimore last week there was a mass shooting in a shopping mall:
Howard County police on Sunday identified 19-year-old Darion Marcus Aguilar of College Park as the man who entered a store at The Mall in Columbia and fatally shot two employees before apparently killing himself.
Officials said Aguilar was reported missing on the day of the shooting and that authorities had reviewed his journal, which depicted a “general unhappiness with his life . . . .”
In an effort to quickly restore a sense of normality, mall officials announced that the shopping center would reopen at 1 p.m. today. Zumiez skate shop, where the killings occurred, will remain closed indefinitely, however.
“We may never be quite back to 100 percent normal, but we are a resilient community,” County Executive Ken Ulman told a bank of news cameras Sunday evening. He said he plans to eat lunch today at the food court, which erupted into pandemonium when the shotgun blasts rang out.
As an aside: while gun rights enthusiasts correctly point out that rifles and shotguns are used in comparatively few murders overall, they do seem to be much more common in this kind of public mass shooting. (See, e.g., this table compiled by Mother Jones, under the “Weapon Categories” tab.) I think that’s why things like the assault weapons ban tend to re-emerge as policy solutions after public shootings. Of course, “assault weapons” likely can be banned under Heller/McDonald, while handguns emphatically cannot. I’m sure that plays a role, too.
From White Marsh, Maryland, an accidental shooting:
A 17-year-old boy was shot in the neck Saturday night while a group of friends were handing [sic] a weapon in White Marsh, Baltimore County police said . . . .
Around 9:45 p.m. Saturday, police responded to the 6000 block of St. Regis Road after a report of shooting. Officers found that a group of juveniles had been handling a gun in a basement when the weapon discharged and wounded the 17-year-old, police said.
When I saw that headline, it sounded familiar, and at first I thought it was an old story. But nope — there was another accidental shooting of a teenager in White Marsh in October:
A 16-year-old from Montgomery County is being detained in connection with the accidental shooting of his friend . . . .
Police say a 15-year-old boy was showing off a gun to the 16-year-old and the weapon went off.
Fortunately, the 15-year-old only suffered a graze wound. He was treated and released.
WTF, White Marsh?
Now back to Baltimore, for a story showing why guns are so useful:
A woman pepper sprayed more than two dozen people after being confronted trying to steal a pair of boots at Arundel Mills Mall Sunday afternoon, Anne Arundel police said.
The woman . . . ran with the boots after spraying the pepper spray in the store. She then pulled a knife on a security guard who stopped her outside Off Broadway Shoes in the mall around 3:45 p.m., police said.
The security guard took the knife from her, and she sprayed him with the pepper spray, police said. The guard managed to take the pepper spray and turn it on [her] before she was taken into custody, police said.
See, ladies? This is exactly why you need a gun. Pepper spray and a knife just won’t get the job done if your opponent is determined enough.
Of course, sometimes a knife is all you need:
A man was fatally stabbed early Saturday morning after getting into an argument with two men on a street in West Baltimore, police said . . . .
Baltimore went a week without a homicide until Saturday after a rash of slayings in the first couple of weeks in the year. Saturday’s fatal stabbing is the 19th homicide in Baltimore in 2014.
Sometimes a knife is even more effective than a gun:
A man was shot in the head early Monday near the Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower and other attractions on the west side of downtown Baltimore.
Baltimore City police discovered the man with a gunshot to the back of the head at 1:47 a.m in the first block of South Eutaw Street, according to a news release.
The man was taken to a nearby hospital, where he was listed in stable condition, police said . . . .
Also Monday, police identified the victim in an unrelated stabbing.
Arrington Michael Sydnor, 29 . . . died from his wounds early Saturday. Police had discovered him in the 2000 block of Wheeler Ave. in Northwest Baltimore around 5 a.m. Saturday with stab wounds to his neck and face.
The case dated to 2011, when Moore’s nephew, former high school wrestling star Darian Kess, was fatally stabbed . . . .
That set off a series of shootings, prosecutors said, with Venable killed and five others wounded . . . .
After the sentencing, Moore’s relatives said he couldn’t get a fair trial . . . . “I’m not saying he was in the right way of living, but violence was never in his record,” said an aunt, Doris Talley. “He’s no kingpin.”