Update: This story is starting to go viral. Thank you to everyone for your support for the Portland and Clackamas, Oregon, Community in their time of need. I hope we fill the Clackamas Mall, and every mall, with as many people as possible to let all terrorists, domestic and international, know that we will not let them win. I was just interviewed by KOIN-TV Channel 6 about the following post and my plea for people to not let fear win. Thanks again to everyone for helping to spread the word.
I have a favor. No. A demand.
My community has been rocked by a deadly shooting in a shopping mall. It’s made international news so you may have heard of a masked man in camouflage shooting shoppers yesterday at the Clackamas Mall. As of the latest news, two are dead, one in critical condition, others harmed, and the shooter killed himself.
This is a community in shock, and in terror. We all know the next steps in the stereotypical events. People will want to know more. They want to know why. The media will dig into the past of the shooter and he will become another sicko celebrity. Pictures and stories from friends, family, and neighbors will become legends and covers on tabloids. The families of the victims will be sensationalized for a while, then fade into obscurity as the killer attains fame he might not have ever have achieved in life.
The mall, stuffed with over 10,000 people at the time of the incident, will become a frightening place. Gawkers will visit to look at the place where the terrifying assaults took place. The joy of a commercialized and capitalistic Christmas in America will be gone as others stay away in fear.
Let’s change that story.
I urge all bloggers, all social media experts, all of you in the web publishing and social media industry, especially the WordPress Community, to help change the story.
This is my dream. This is my demand.
When the mall reopens on Thursday or Friday, I dream of thousands, tens of thousands of people waiting at the doors of the Clackamas Town Center, southeast of Portland, Oregon. Enter the doors and fill the place with sound, with laughter, joy, and shopping. Spend $10, maybe $20. Buy some food or a gift for someone in your life, or better yet, buy a gift and give it to someone else in the mall, someone randomly passing by. Let’s give gifts instead of bullets.
I dream of these people eagerly awaiting entrance and flooding the mall not because of the sensationalism but with love, compassion, and determination in their hearts to cleanse the mall of all fear, all doubt, all loss of income from this tragedy. These merchants have survived the worse of economics in living memory. Let them suffer no more.
This is an act of terrorism. That word has been distorted by politicians and world leaders, and the ridiculous notion that one country’s terrorists are another’s freedom fighters. This is an act of terror. It is no less. In the face of terror we must be brave and tell terror it has no place here.
In Israel, when a night club, mall, restaurant, or café is bombed, when it re-opens, everyone comes from around the country to enter the doors, restoring confidence to the owners but also to the community. They tell the world that this is a safe place. They rejoice in the phoenix rising from the ashes.
The community of Clackamas has been shattered. It is a time to come together not move apart. In the United States, we tend to move away instead of come together. This is a chance to unite in peace, security, and hope for the future, not fear of the past and random acts of violence.
Come on, my community. I will travel the 40 miles from my home on the other side of the city to spend my ten dollars when the mall reopens. I urge all of you this weekend and in the weeks to come as you move around the city, come join me at the Clackamas Town Center. Dress up in your finest, your most colorful, your most sparkliest for the holidays. Bring life and color back to the world!
For those returning to the Portland area this holiday to visit friends and family, make your trip from the airport or train station include a swing out to the mall.
Show the world that together we will push back fear. The terrorists, domestic or international, will NOT win.
For my international audience, do the same in your region. Where there has been terror, gather. If it was in the past, throw a party. Invite everyone to bring laughter, music, and joy. We must remember the horrors of the past but we must not let them consume us. We must fight for our rights, and those include freedom from terror, whatever it looks like.
Let this be your message this year when you say “Peace on Earth.”
Show you mean it.