The Right Coast

Editor: Thomas A. Smith
University of San Diego
School of Law

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Loud noise 'like a gunshot' causes chaos at Utah mall | Deseret News

WEST VALLEY CITY — A falling sign that made a gunshot-like sound caused mass panic at the Valley Fair Mall on Tuesday night.

A sign fell over during a concert at the mall around 7:30 p.m., according to West Valley police spokeswoman Roxeanne Vainuku. The falling sign made a loud banging noise, Vainuku said, and someone in the crowd yelled, "Shots!"

From there, pandemonium broke out.


People should calm the heck down. This also gives me an excuse to tell the story (which like all my stories I have told many times before) of the time I was shot at. My neighbor and former landlord, now deceased, had rented his house to persons involved in selling date-rape drugs (some sort of sedatives I assume) over the internet. Early one morning, the DEA executed a search warrant on the house and arrested some or all of the tenants. Like a fool, I went down to the crowd of DEA agents and inquired what was up. I ended up getting in a conversation with one of them (to the obvious disapproval of the other DEA agents)about Gary, who owned the house. I told them that to the best of my knowledge, he was still in the Philippines, indulging his proclivities for under-age girls, an activity of which I disapprove. Then the DEA agent told me I shouldn't been seen talking to them, as some of the residents might resent my cooperation. I told them they didn't scare me, but it was food for thought. Anyway, several days later I was hiking behind the house in question. I could hear some people horsing around, then I heard the strange whooshing, sucking noise of a bullet, followed by the report of a gunshot, sailing past my head and into a bush next to me, followed then by raucous and probably drunken laughter. It is a familiar noise to those of us who live in areas blessed by the presence of persons of rednecks. So I didn't panic or run around like chicken with its head cut off. Nor did I go to confront the shooter, it being a bad idea to confront armed, drunken persons. I was soon no longer in his line of sight in any event, and he was pretty clearly just foolin' around. He probably did not mean to hit me, though he got close. He was obviously a pretty good shot, or else just lucky, as was I. The point is, you're more likely to hurt your self or someone else running off in a panic, perhaps even toward the shooter, if that is your reaction every time you think you hear a shot. So relax. Find a little coffee shop, or just a Starbucks. Order a latte. Things will get better.

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