The shooting at the Garden State Plaza in Paramus, NJ, had everyone buzzing yesterday. A question about our safety when shopping or even leaving your own home, led to a discussion over gun control. Now let me make myself clear. I have no problem with people who choose to own or carry a gun, under the proper laws (permits, training, etc). That being said, several gun owners came out in defense of their 2nd Amendment rights. But this wasn’t really about gun control, other than the fact that his brother allegedly owned the gun, so questions were raised as to where it was kept and how the shooter was able to get hold of it. No, this was about 20 year old Richard Shoop, of Teaneck, NJ, a young man who couldn’t cope with whatever was happening in his life, eventually taking his own life in a secluded area of the mall.
We can be grateful that his intention was to harm only himself and no one else. He fired off shots at the ceiling, escalator, but never directly at anyone. Nevertheless, he caused a major panic among hundreds of people and he got law enforcement officials and the media to take notice.
This young man had a history of drug use but he also held a job at a local pizza parlor. Interviews with his boss depict him as a “nice kid”. What was also brought up during the conversation on my Facebook wall was mental illness. This has not been mentioned in the media, nor has his family made any statement regarding the matter. His brother, Kevin, had this to say, “”We’re not sure exactly what caused him to do this, and we’re all devastated. My brother intended to harm nobody else but himself. He just, sadly, decided to make … an act of self-indulgence by taking his own life publicly. And it’s a tragedy to us all,” he said. Kevin denies the gun belonged to him. When asked he replied, “no comment” <regarding drugs & the gun>.
Drug use among young adults has skyrocketed. In the past year, my daughter has lost high school friends to overdoses. The heroin epidemic is horrific. In the coming weeks, I’ll be meeting with some of the people who have been directly affected by this. I know it won’t stop the rampage but at least others will know there really is help out there. Stay tuned.
All Rights Reserved