Keeping it in perspective

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Law enforcement officials, other government officials and business owners will be pondering how to improve security in public places in light of the mass killings at a shopping mall in Omaha.

That is certainly a worthwhile goal but people need to bear in mind and convey to children who have some knowledge of the shooting, that such acts of random killing are rare. It is still more likely that a person will die in a traffic accident on the way to the mall than be killed by a stranger at the mall.

We don't want people to be terrified of car travel but terror of car accidents would be more so than terror of the latest bizarre act of violence to make the news. There are thousands of traffic fatalities each year. There is a long list of causes of death that take many times the number of lives than random shootings.

We don't mean to diminish the significance of the grief experienced by the families of the shooting victims but we should not exaggerate the tragedy beyond what it is.