I was going to meet my friend at a mall recently. As I drove up I felt like there was an unusal amount of traffic heading the other way but I figured if something was happening I would find out soon enough. I pulled up to a surprisingly easy to find parking place.
As I walked up to the food court entrance I noticed there were cops all over and a bunch of tape forming a perimeter. "Do you want to try a smoothie sample?" a guy outside of Jamba Juice asked.
"No, but what's going on with all the police?"
"Oh, I think someone just got stabbed."
I called out to the police to see if I could good inside the mall, he told me to walk around to the other side. I entered the food court and found a group people at a table. I asked what was going on and they said a stabbing happened about 20 minutes earlier. They didn't see it happen.
All around the food court, all but two stores were open. One was belonging to the employee who got stabbed I would later find out. I was assuming the manager at the other one was freakout out enough to close shop. But all the other stores stayed open. I asked the guy working at the Indian restaurant if he saw anything. He says he was working, and didn't see much but a bunch of people starting running either towards or away from the incident. Or both. He was conveniently located right accross from where the incident took place.
I posted on Facebook that I stabbing had just occured at the mall. I got some replies saying a bunch of people were freaking out on the Facebook group full of locals. It was very interesting to me to hear that. I wasn't freaking out. No one around me was freaking out either. Except for the store closing, if you took away the police and tape, you'd never guessed anything had happened at all by the way people were acting. Just sitting and eating their food.
It made me wonder if the news and social media makes people react different to things happening. Perhaps not being there, and just hearing about the event there is less certainty. Less certainty seems to make people nervous. I feel like as more and more people use online news, soscial media, etc, there is more of a sense of fear than there used to be. The news used to be on once a night. Now you can populate input with all the scariest things on the internet all the time.