February 13, 2007

UT: Trolley Square tragedy

My heart goes out to the families of the people who were killed and wounded last night at Trolley Square. I know the place fairly well, visiting it regularly during the summer I worked one block north, back when Utah Legal Services was on 400 South, and frequently on many trips to Salt Lake before and since. I respect the response of law enforcement, particularly that of the off-duty cop on a date with his wife, who took on the killer and probably saved several lives.

My scorn goes out to the trolls trying to score political points off this tragedy, hateful conjecture springing from nothing but the Bosniak ("Bosnian Muslim") name of the shooter, Sulejman Talović, age 18. Police have no motive in the shooting, but that doesn't stop some bloggers. I'm not going to link to the stuff - you can Google it yourself if you must.

Voices from 5th South and 7th East:

From the Salt Lake Tribune,Rebecca Walsh: When can we return to Trolley Square?

The violence we like to believe only plagues places like Tacoma and Columbine settled in Salt Lake City... In my mind, Valley Mental Health Director Debra Falvo struck the right tone as she reminded us Talovic has a horrified family too, two Bosnian immigrant parents who fled their war-torn country and settled in Utah in the hope of giving their children a peaceful life. It wasn't to be. "There is a family out there that also will need the support of the community," Falvo said, choking up...

From The Third Avenue, A generation raised by violence

The shooter was an 18-year old Bosnian immigrant, which means he was born in 1989. It also means that if he grew up in Bosnia, he lived through two
(sic) genocides... He might have seen people being brutally murdered by their neighbors for no real reason at all. I am not saying this to excuse his actions, far from it. I am speculating like this to show the consequences of allowing children to be victims of and witnesses to massive violence and war.

This is the second time in a few months that a young man from the former Yugoslavia acted out with random violent rage. The first time, Salt Lake got lucky, and no one was hurt [the SLC library bombing]. This time, obviously, was far worse...

(but see Part of the Plan, Trolley Square Shooter: Victim or Terrorist?)

From Tales of Wit and Charm, the smell of cheap bar soap, or the day i didn't die at trolley square...

if i don't smell like warm vanilla sugar tomorrow you'll have to forgive me. you see, i ran out of shower gel and lotion this morning and when i stopped by trolley square tonight to pick some up, the only thing i picked up was the feeling of terror...

Update 02/15, from the Deseret News, A child of violence: Talovic survived genocide:

As a little boy in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Sulejman Talovic hid in fear from the Serb military forces who were slaughtering Muslim men and boys as war and genocide ravaged his country. Years later, the 18-year-old slaughtered five people in Salt Lake City's Trolley Square mall before dying in a shootout with police officers...

And see Spy the News, Blogs, Radio Talkers Use Mall Killer's Muslim Affiliation for Shock Value: Ignore Youth's Traumatic Escape from Bosnian Genocide


Oldenburg said...

The two genocides I am referring to in that post are 1) the Serb-Croat-Bosnian genocide of the early 1990's (especially 1992) and 2) the Serb-Kosovar genocide of 1999 that led to NATO's intervention.

Ask anyone who has studied ethnic conflicts or anyone from the former Yugoslavia, and they will say there were two...they might say one was justified but they will admit there was massive killing based off of ethnic identity. Which of course, is the definition of a genocide.

Skelly said...

While it's generally accurate to say that there were two genocides in former Yugoslavia in the 1990's, it's accurate to say that Sulejman Talović lived through the first one only. The second took place in Kosovo / Kosova after Talović emigrated to the United States in 1998.