August 19, 2014 10:43:43 AM
Sunday's early-morning shooting at Buffalo Wild Wings that left one woman dead and another facing a murder charge created a different perception among some in the community, primarily because of where it happened.
We have grown accustomed to crime being confined to certain parameters, especially violent crime.
When a shooting happens at a nightclub with a history of violence or in a poor neighborhood where poverty feeds all manner of societal ills, we are not surprised. It is not as though we are indifferent to the human suffering it produces, it's that that violence is less tangible for most of us.
There is some unspoken comfort in the idea that violence can be confined, if not controlled.
And that is precisely why Sunday's shooting is so disturbing. Sunday morning, violence escaped its preconceived barrier and landed square in the middle of a place you least expect it.
In turn, it creates a perception among some that crimes of these sorts are spreading, becoming more invasive. The idea that a Saturday night out to eat some wings, grab a beer and watch a ballgame could be interrupted with gunfire is an idea most of us don't easily shrug off.
A shooting like this happens and suddenly people are convinced that crime is on the rise.
Columbus Police Chief Tony Carleton is familiar with that sort of reaction.
"Looking back, I don't see crime as being any worse than it has been," Carleton said Monday. "I can understand why people might feel that way because (Buffalo Wild Wings) is just not a place you expect this sort of thing. That shakes people up."
Jackson Square, the busy commercial center where Buffalo Wild Wings is located, isn't a place that generally commands the attention of the police department. It's been pretty quiet there, report-wise, since the restaurant opened three months ago.
"There are some places that, given their history, we are prepared for," Carleton said, "usually nightclubs. So this doesn't fit that profile."
Carleton said it was immediately apparent Sunday's shooting was a personal matter that might have happened at the victim's home or any number of places. That it happened at the victim's place of work was simply a circumstance.
We note, too, that what happened Sunday would be tragic no matter where it transpired and that its toll on the community remains the same.
When crimes are prosecuted, they are prosecuted on behalf of the "people," not just the victims. That is because all of us are victims of crime whether we have any personal connection to the crime or not.
Sunday's shooting merely emphasizes that unpleasant fact.