Target: Portland mayor-elect Charlie Hales
Goal: Increase funding for security positions for Portland-area shopping malls.
The Clackamas Town Center mall, located just a few miles outside of the greater Portland area, will now live in infamy as the place where one disturbed man tore apart lives during a shooting rampage. The shooting, which left two dead and several others wounded (and could have turned out much worse), was all over the national news and sparked gun control debates across the country. But it is far from the only such event to strike a Portland mall; there have been fatal or near-fatal shootings at Lloyd Center mall in 2010 and 2011 (and even a gun-related incident at the mall the weekend before the Clackamas tragedy).
The possibility of gun control becoming a major national debate is irretrievable in the wake of such tragedies, and given the events of the Clackamas Town Center shooting as well as the events of the Newtown, Connecticut school shooting, the debate will likely reach a fervor in the coming months. But it will be awhile before any serious legislation is pushed through and enforced.
In the meantime, Portland malls could stand to hire more officers to help keep such shootings from becoming regular news events. Or, alternately, the state government could increase funding into spending for mall security.
By all accounts, the action taken by law enforcement to handle the Clackamas situation was pristine; the over 10,000 shopping patrons in the mall were evacuated in a timely fashion, and the town center security were said to have excellent response time. But prevention is the final goal for law enforcement, rather than incident response.
Currently, the Clackamas Town Center has increased security in the wake of the tragedy. Other shopping centers in Portland would be wise to follow their example; if they do, it is likely that incidents such as these can be avoided entirely, rather than just dealt with impressively.
Dear Portland mayor-elect Charlie Hales,
You will be taking office very shortly. You have lived in this city. You know this city. You have to protect this city by any means necessary. You know what has taken place at the Clackamas Town Center. This was an unspeakable tragedy, and one that should never have been allowed to happen. It is true that the response time of the law enforcement involved was excellent, and that the people in the mall were evacuated quickly. But this does not solve the problem; not by a long shot.
The problem will not be solved until mall security is increased, and through whatever means needed to increase it. More funding could be provided for increased security officers at malls, or even for stricter security measures.
There have been gun-related incidents at Lloyd Center and the area around it for years; who’s to say that there couldn’t be a comparable incident to Clackamas happening there next? You need to step up, provide the funding needed to increase mall security and safety in the city, and do it soon. The city needs your help, and you have the means to provide it.
[Your Name Here]