Tuesday's shootings in a Portland mall are a sad reflection of humanity during a season supposed to be filled with joy. Actually, they are a sad commentary on humanity any time of the year.
Late Tuesday, the Clackamas County Sheriff's office said three people were dead, including the shooter himself, who died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Can you even imagine the horror when something like this happens? Could it happen to you while you are walking through your local mall doing your Christmas or Hanukkah shopping?
I've heard people say that shootings like this are "senseless" but, obviously, the shooter in the Clackamas Town Center Tuesday night planned the shooting.
His own "sense" had him dress for the assault -- either in camouflage or a bulletproof vest -- and wear a hockey mask and bring a military-style rifle into a mall.
It's too early to know or tell if he targetted the two people he shot and killed for a specific reason or just shot them at random in the crowd. But he likely figured in advance that he'd kill himself as well.
Clackamas Town Center has 185 stores, including a Nordstrom, Macy's and a 20-screen theater. This is a huge mall and it likely had thousands of people there Tuesday night. The shooter began firing on the second floor near the food court, right outside Macy's.
I couldn't help but think back to this summer in July in Aurora, Colorado, when accused suspect James Eagan Holmes entered the Century 16 multiplex theater during a midnight showing of "The Dark Knight" and opened fire, killing 12 people and wounding 59 others.
He had attack-type weapons and handguns and tossed tear gas grenades into the theater before he started shooting. He, too, was dressed in tactical clothing.
Coincidentally, earlier Tuesday, Geauga County Judge David Fuhry ruled that statements made by T.J. Lane to law enforcement officers will be admitted during his upcoming trial in January.
Lane, now 18, is accused of walking into the Chardon High School cafeteria early Feb. 27 and shooting five students, three of whom died.
He is being tried as an adult and has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
In a hearing held last week, his defense attorneys had argued the statements should be excluded because Lane was not properly advised of his Miranda rights.
Prosecutors argued that a deputy had read Lane his Miranda rights when he was taken into custody. Lane admitted shooting the students.
It was during his cruiser ride to the Geauga County Safety Center that day that Lane reportedly told the deputy that he had "shot people."
It's no stretch of the imagination that there's something wrong with anyone who takes a gun and shoots other people. Whether there is a reason or a perceived reason is different in each case.
But are these type of shootings becoming way too commonplace? Malls, theaters, schools -- all venues where guns are not allowed and where people assume they are safe from violence.
This all seems to be a sad commentary on the state of humanity in the U.S.