I am writing this as I have just gotten off the air after being on four almost three hours with non-stop live coverage of the tragedy in Collier Township.
This is the second time this year I have witnessed senseless killing and violence in quiet communities in our region. What it says to me is that what many of us assume happens in the dangerous portions of urban areas can happen anywhere.
Even more disturbing for me is knowing that area. I have friends who not only belong to the fitness facility, they actually were there during the evening …. and one even left moments before the shooting started.
It’s an unsettling and terrifying feeling when someplace so common is the site of something so violent. A gym is where many go to relax, to relieve the stress of the day and to work off the tension. I commend those people who were there and helped those who had been shot and came to their aid. Their heroism comes in a situation that is completely foreign to them.
Photo Courtesy: Joe Appel/Pittsburgh Tribune Review
I’m not going to spend much time speculating since as I write this the situation continues to unfold. All I can say is that after seeing Stanton Heights up close, I hoped I would not have to cover this kind of story again. Well, once again, the region is in the spotlight and not for a very pleasant reason.
In the days to come, we will learn the stories of the victims, hear the tale of what drove this man to kill innocent people and hear tales of heroism. We will also go through the second guessing of what could have prevented this tragedy and what can be done to make gyms more secure. The truth is there is little we can do. We value our freedoms and we cannot live our lives on lockdown. There are no easy answers to what transpired in Collier township … but there will be plenty of difficult questions.
Please forgive my ramblings. I think what happened tonight is starting to sink in.