Yesterday morning I was running an errand to pick up a prescription at our neighborhood Walgreens. But when I got to the remote entrance I usually use, police and police cars and an ambulance had blocked it off and an officer shouted “Get out of here!” So I got out of there (!) and went to the other entrance. But when I walked up to the Walgreens door, the manager was putting up a sign that said the store was on lock down. As I walked back to the car, I heard more emergency vehicles coming my way. What was happening?! When I got into the car, three heavily-armed SWAT guys inspected the car then told me to move on. Now all entrances were blocked, the shopping center was on lockdown, but I thought maybe the drive-up Walgreen’s window was still open so I could get the medication. Which it was and I did, but then I needed to just sit there about 20 minutes until the Highway Patrol allowed us to leave.
So what I didn’t know at the time is the police had been chasing an armed robber, who crashed his car in a swamp, and then was thought to have run into a senior living facility. At some point, it was later discovered, he had killed a woman working in a nearby office. He escaped the area and has not yet been found.
The police handled themselves well in this dangerous, evolving situation. It wasn’t scary but I never thought I’d be in the middle of something like that. So yesterday and today I’ve been thinking a lot about what happened. A few years ago I was active in Protect Minnesota, whose mission is to work together to prevent gun violence. But I got discouraged because there is just so much violence and nothing seems to be working. But, for sure, complaining and wringing my hands doesn’t change anything. This incident yesterday re-lit my fire.