I was dismayed to read of the shooting at a Giant grocery store this week (”Baltimore grocery store security guard shoots and kills a man, wounds a woman after altercation, police say,” July 13). I recognize that there are still scant details on the altercation that led to an armed security guard taking a man’s life. It has, however, caused me to reflect on my own long-standing discomfort with the security presence at the grocery store that I frequent in Baltimore.
As I shop for groceries, there is typically a hired security guard standing at the entrance to the store wearing a bulletproof vest and conspicuously carrying a hand gun. The visual of an individual seemingly outfitted for combat patrolling the fruit aisle is patently absurd, but I fear that it is illustrative of our society’s pathological belief that we are at our safest when firearms are always within reach. As our city and nation grapple with how best to foster an ethos of de-escalation among police, we should recognize that positioning armed guards in low risk settings is inherently provocative.
We will learn more about the details of this week’s tragedy in the coming days, but I suspect that had there been no armed security at the Giant grocery store in question, there would have been no loss of life there on Tuesday. I will be even more uneasy as I shop this week, monitored by a superfluous armed security presence ostensibly there to reassure me.
Scott Butler, Baltimore
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