My heart goes out to all of the shooting victims at the Westroads Mall in Omaha, Nebraska.
Those who were stylish and should be famous are the ones who took action yesterday to protect shoppers and mall employees when they realized a gunman was in the mall. The death toll could have been much higher with a gunman who clearly didn't plan to get out alive. Many of these people won't be famous, even for 15 minutes, but what they did will be valued long after the news stories about this crime are distant memories. Some of these people may have been among the 8 who were murdered.
When 19-year-old Robert Hawkins premeditated mass murder, he may have rationalized that killing innocent people was a stylish way to commit suicide, but it was nothing of the kind. It was an easy out. Any fool can pull the trigger of a gun. Any fool who goes on a killing rampage can make the national news.
Reportedly, Hawkins was troubled, but troubled is no excuse. I don't care if someone in that mall treated him horridly except to look at how he twisted the events in his life into justification for murder. So much of resilience is about perception and choices. He made rational choices and needs to be seen as a perpetrator and not a victim of a troubled life.
Many people are victims of horrific abuses by individuals and by groups, but most of them choose a better path than Hawkins did. If experts study Hawkins to see how to prevent similar crimes, they should also study those who had similar experiences to Hawkins' and who learned healthy ways to cope. They should study those who were tempted with thoughts of violence in moments of self absorption but who rejected that shortsighted temptation.
If we see how those who were at serious risk of violence turned away from that path, we can give family, friends and others tools to help someone who is at risk work toward a healthy future.