Tragedies such as what occurred in Orlando, Fla., over the weekend have a sobering impact on all of us.
We’re all on edge. The nation has been shaken.
Then something happens closer to home — a lot closer to home, in fact — and your hair stands straight up in a manner it otherwise might not had the earlier tragedy not occurred.
This morning I was driving home from an assignment in Pampa, Texas. My phone rang; I answered it using the Bluetooth device in my truck. It’s my wife.
“Where are you?” she asked. I tell her I’m on Amarillo Boulevard about to turn south onto Loop 335.
“Don’t go near Interstate 27 and Georgia Street,” she instructed me. “The police have it blocked off. There’s a shooter.”
It turns out that someone was holding someone else hostage inside the Walmart store at that intersection. Police had cordoned off the area. They were negotiating with the gunman.
I got home and watched the news. Not much time after returning home came word that law enforcement officers had shot the gunman to death. The hostage is OK.
The crisis is over. Now comes the investigation into what happened and why.
Then it occurred to me. This is what acts of terror do to people. The gunman in Orlando might have committed that horrific act for any number of reasons.
The bottom line is this: He terrorized that community and in the process put the rest of this very large and powerful nation on edge.
Suffering the symptoms of fear as a result of a terrorist act is no fun at all.
Quite obviously, I’m glad the crisis is over and that the Amarillo Police Department, the Randall County Sheriff’s Office and the Texas Department of Public Safety, which I know to be run by dedicated professionals, did their jobs.
Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for keeping us safe.
We all can breathe again.