No one knows why 18-year-old Sulejman Talovic went on a killing spree at Trolley Square. Even if a motive is established, few could comprehend why someone would perpetrate such unspeakable violence.
We can, however, wrap our minds around how we will respond to these tragic events. Above all, we need to remember the victims of this senseless violence. We must, as a community, find meaningful ways to embrace the friends and families of the victims. This includes Talovic's family.
To that end, a ceremony of community support and gratitude will be held at 6:30 p.m. today on the plaza at Library Square, 210 E. 400 South. We encourage Utahns to take part.
This also will be an opportunity to express appreciation to police and emergency personnel who responded so professionally and ably to the rampage. Although first responders are trained to handle such events, they, too, were witnesses to a massacre to which this community is unaccustomed.
Utahns also could demonstrate their unity by returning to Trolley Square as patrons. The mall, which is perhaps like no other in the country, is an important community gathering place. It needs to be reclaimed as such. The store owners and employees of restaurants and shops need the support of the community because they, too, were terrorized by these events.
Many in our community are thinking about how such events might be prevented in the future. Without being able to ask Talovic why he perpetrated this crime, this page is at loss to present solutions.
The few things we know about Talovic are that he was a Bosnian refugee who came to the United States in 1998. He attended Salt Lake public schools but did not graduate. His mother, also a refugee, does not speak English. Talovic, it appears, never fully engaged with the larger community.
Salt Lake Mayor Rocky Anderson, at a press conference Wednesday at Trolley Square, said the community needs to do more to serve refugees, considering the extraordinary challenges they face. He's right, particularly when it comes to meeting the unique mental health and social service needs of people who have witnessed atrocities in their home countries. Most do not speak English and may have little understanding of Western culture.
Enhancing our existing efforts with refugee populations would, perhaps, be a good opportunity to start the healing and to embrace people who, for whatever reason, feel disenfranchised.
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