Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Remembering This Day: 2014


On January 25th, 2014, there was a shooting at the Mall. When it was over three were dead and five others injured. It was a sad and terrifying day for our community. 

Today I’m remembering. 

I found this article in the Baltimore Sun written on the one year anniversary of the shooting. I don’t recall reading this the first time around. 

A child, a cause: the legacy of the Columbia Mall shootings, Jean Marbella, Baltimore Sun, with contributions from Jessica Anderson and Alison Knezevich

This piece is so thorough and so carefully crafted. Marbella takes the time to tell the stories with respect, shaping the flow of the words with a tender hand. We don’t get to read a lot of local journalism like this these days. It’s too bad that the best example I can think of is rooted in a community tragedy. Is that the only time journalists are allowed the time and space to do this anymore?

Outside Zumiez, two black floor tiles — one engraved "B" and the other "T" — memorialize the co-workers who were shot just over an hour after they had opened the store that Saturday. The mall had no plans for a formal commemorative event, but issued a statement saying that "not a day goes by that we don't think of Brianna, Tyler and their families."

Zumiez is still in business at the mall. I didn’t know about the memorial tiles. Have you seen them?

I’ve never been a big mall person. The shooting didn’t influence my willingness to shop there one way or another. I know it had a huge impact on others, though. For some it was a moment that changed how they felt about the mall (and Columbia) forever.

The shootings have had a lasting impact on the quiet Howard County town. Columbia, built as a community of villages rather than a conventional suburb, was shaken by the attack on a mall that residents viewed as their town square.

For me it was a different event at the mall that deeply hurt me and challenged my faith in my community. But that’s another story for another day.

Today is January 25th, 2022. There are some complicated and contentious issues swirling around Columbia/HoCo right now. Add to that the overall challenges of the pandemic, the current omicron surge, a recent spike in inflation, and the memory of this day eight years ago might easily slip by.

Don’t let it. Take a moment to remember. Read the Baltimore Sun article. If you don’t subscribe, you can access the paper through the Howard County Library website. Do a good deed, share a kind smile, refrain from that one biting comment you probably have every right to say. 

Can we declare a truce, just for a moment - - or even a day? - -  on all battles and skirmishes that darken our thoughts and consume us, day in and day out? 

Into that moment put Brianna, who loved her son Elijah, and Tyler, who worked to help others struggling with addiction. Sit with them a moment today. 

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