Random Violence Strikes Again

Article excerpt

Remember when Johnny Cash's inmate narrator confessed that he was in Folsom Prison because "I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die"? That kind of mindless violence, meant to be a shocker, has become sickeningly commonplace today, but familiarity must not breed indifference or acceptance. Efforts to prevent more deaths should be spurred by the memories of 12-year-old Tequilla Woods in north St. Louis, killed in a spray of gunfire; of Peggy Thompson, shot in her quiet antique shop on Cherokee Street; and of James Jordan, murdered by two teens who were just out looking for trouble.

Mr. Jordan's death prompted the most publicity because his son is a world-famous basketball player. But authorities say the two young men charged with shooting him in the chest didn't know his connection with Michael Jordan. They were just on the prowl, having plotted to go out and rob someone. They spotted a car in a parking lot off Interstate 95 near Lumberton, N.C., where James Jordan was unlucky enough to have pulled off to take a nap. An investigator called it "the kind of random violence that all the public are concerned about and afraid of."

That fear can come true anywhere, as shoppers and store owners along Antique Row found out on Saturday. …