When I was 19, I lived in Salt Lake City, Utah for a few months. My plan was to establish residency in Utah and eventually pay in-state tuition at the University of Utah.
I worked at a little place called Fendall's Ice Cream. It was pretty cool-- I divided my time there working in their factory, and then as a waiter in their restaurant in front of the factory. I made ice cream. I was the envy of all my friends.
A lot happened in the few short months I lived there, before I decided to return to Illinois and go back to school. I came home one night from closing the restaurant to find my roommmates in a state of shock-- John Lennon had been shot to death in front of his own home. A few weeks later, we were nearly as stunned as the nation elected Ronald Reagan as President.
One of my jobs when I worked in the restaurant portion of Fendall's was to watch the owners' two-year-old son Ricky. I liked Ricky-- he was a sunny, friendly kid. His mother had taken him to the mall down the street, a converted trolley barn, to see the Disney film "The Song of the South." It was pretty comical-- Ricky would spend the day singing "Zippity Doo Dah."
The mall, The Trolley Square Mall, was about a ten minute walk from my house. It was a maze of kitschy little shops-- very charming. I recently alluded to a favorite memory of living in Salt Lake City on Toccata's blog-- remembering a busker in the mall singing Bob Dylan's "Desolation Row." Me and Cindy, my best friend from high school, loved to go down there to explore the shops. One time she dragged me to the movie theater there to see an awful chick flick, Somewhere in Time.
Yesterday, some 18-year-old kid with a backpack full of weapons shot the the place up, killing five people before the police gunned him down. I'm at a loss. What the fuck is wrong with our society? Why are our children turning into murderers?