HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – If you define a mass shooting as the shooting of 4 or more people, the United States has had more than 350 of them in the past 336 days, according to a Reddit-based tracker.
The frequency has people asking whether this is the new normal. It has others concerned about their safety in public places.
Just in the past few weeks, in the Tampa Bay area, we’ve seen active shooter incidents at a mall and at a hospital.
Early last month, deputies from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s office trained after hours at the Westfield Brandon. The deputies learned what to do when a shooter is on the loose.
Since the Columbine High School massacre in 1999, all 1,500 Hillsborough patrol deputies have gone through similar training.
“We are going to respond very fast, very heavy, and we’re gonna stop whatever the violent crime is ongoing on these types of shooting,” Detective Larry Kckinnon said.
8 On Your Side asked if this is the new norm in society. “You know it seems to be a trend, and you obviously get a lot of copycats and that’s what happens when you start seeing this stuff,” McKinnon said.
The game plan in Hillsborough County is to first get the shooter and then tend to the injured later, even law enforcement.
The violent scenes, repeated so many times in the past weeks and months, are a concern for Melissa Sarell, a mother of three. ”It’s a little scary, ya know? To think that this, a lot of these shootings happen at schools,” Sarell said.
“In any emergency situation, just get to the safest place or be in the safest place and I guess that’s all you can do,” she tells her children..
“There is no safety, nowhere, anywhere,” Michael Palmieri said.
Lenard Feacher, a father of 4, doesn’t have a concealed weapons permit, now. “But I will be though. Trust me” he said. “(Because) this world is very crazy. All the stuff that’s going on.”