I went to Target yesterday to drop off my prescriptions for the typhoid vaccination and malaria pills I’ll need in India, and when I walked in the store, there were 2 cops standing around the cart corral. To the right, towards the produce department and the Starbucks, I noticed a smallish floral wreath. A ribbon that read “Lupe, You Are In Our Hearts” hung across the wilted red and white carnations. On Sunday morning, a 67-year-old man came to the Target, shot and killed his ex-girlfriend, 59-year-old Target employee Guadalupe Rosas, and then shot and killed himself. (See the story here).
This happened in Apex, the town just next to Cary. WHAT?! This kind of stuff happens all the time—just a few weeks ago, something very similar happened at an Old Navy store in downtown Chicago. It’s surprising to me that these men would hunt down former girlfriends at their (very public!) places of work to exact revenge, but I think I am more taken aback by the Target shooting simply because of its suburban setting. Apex, the “peak of good living”, is a really nice little town…not at all the kind of place where you feel anxious walking in to a department store. As for the case in Chicago, I suppose it’s only slightly less shocking because Chicago is a big city and crime follows population.
I was curious about the gun laws in Apex vs. Chicago, so I did some research. As it turns out, North Carolina has relatively relaxed concealed carry laws. If a person decides to carry a gun, he or she must also have a concealed carry permit. Even with the permit, concealed carry is not allowed on public or private school property, in an assembly where an admission fee is charged, in a financial institution, or any place where alcohol is sold and consumed. So, a Target store would be an acceptable place to have a gun, provided you have a valid concealed carry permit with it. On the other hand, Chicago has a city-wide handgun ban, so the Old Navy shooter shouldn’t have even had a gun in the first place. As it turns out, the legality of Chicago’s handgun ban is being examined by the Supreme Court as a potential violation of the Second Amendment.
Now that I’ve examined the gun laws more closely, the circumstances surrounding the Old Navy incident and the Target incident get more complicated. Politically, I’m so moderate it hurts, so I’m not going to take a position on gun control here. Rather, I’ll leave you with one final thought—I can’t walk out of Target with a new DVD without the door sensors going crazy, but a guy can walk in with a gun and nothing happens?