This is going to sound psychotic but sometimes when I’m sitting in a crowded arena or walking through the mall I think to myself, “The person in front of me could easily have a gun.” It’s usually only a flash of paranoid terror, but the fact that anyone could be having a perfectly normal day and in one second their entire life is different, or even over, is something that’s tough to shake. Yesterday in Florida the news was dominated by the story about a gunman on a turnpike who tried carjacking a woman and eventually shot two police officers before killing himself. For that woman, those cops, and everyone else on the turnpike my paranoid fear was a reality.
Most of the time that would just be a news story to anyone outside the Miami-Dade area, as well as to many people in it. It’s not at all rare to hear about someone with a gun taking out their frustration on innocent people who happened to have gone grocery shopping that day. It’s not right that we think that way, but it’s true. What makes about yesterday’s story especially crazy is that the catcher on the Florida Marlins, Brett Hayes, was sitting in traffic with his wife when the gunman walked by. Before the guy shot the two police officers, Hayes tweeted this:
After the incident, Hayes said this to the Miami Herald:
“He and I made eye contact, and he looked like he was up to no good,” Hayes said. “Something was very wrong. I just had a very bad feeling. My wife and I were in shock. I told her ‘Do not look at him.’ He was walking like he was walking down the street. It was really creepy. But his face….it was pretty scary to be honest with you.”
Luckily, the injured policemen both survived. The woman who was originally carjacked? She described herself as a huge Marlins fan.