Americans are definitely on edge…in over 12 malls across the United States on the day after Christmas there were reports of an “active shooter.”

In all cases there was none – no gun, no active shooter – just panic.

Some of the mall locations included:

  • Cleveland and Beachwood Ohio,
  • Long Island
  • Fayetteville, NC
  • Chattanooga, TN
  • Memphis, TN
  • Elizabeth New Jersey
  • Houston and Fort Worth Texas
  • Aurora Illinois
  • Aurora, Colorado
  • Phoenix, AZ
  • Indianapolis, IN

In some of the instances it was a small fight between teenagers that escalated into people running and rumors starting. In others it was firecrackers. In all cases, people became fearful, started to run, call 9-1-1 and panic.

What does this say about us? Do we hear any sound and think it is a gun? Are we poorly trained about what to do and therefore hear something and panic? Are guns so prevalent that we always assume there is one?

For those in retail, this is a very good reminder to train all staff in what to do with reports of an active shooter. For all of us, we need to think about how to respond to a possible threat.  And for all of America, we need to calm down.