A Tosa resident for almost 20 years, Karen is a mom and freelance writer, addicted to playing tennis. When not on the tennis court, she spends the fall and winter in the stands at Green Bay Packer and Marquette basketball games.
Karen is the author of “Grab a Bite,” a dining out column and the former community columnist for the Wauwatosa NOW newspaper.
Sunday afternoon, while many of us were watching the Packer game, an incident occurred at Mayfair Mall. Depending on the reports you've heard or read, it's been called a "melee" and even "mayhem." Based on the little I know, it does sound somewhat scary. Apparently, a gun was fired in the parking lot, there was some chaos and confusion inside the mall and Mayfair ended up closing 20 minutes early. Here is the most recent report that I could find on the incident.
Needless to say, neither the mall nor the citizens of Wauwatosa are happy about this. Mayfair has become a gathering place, a social destination, an entertainment venue, an exercise venue and, of course, a place to shop.
Back in 2007, there were several incidents in the mall, Back then, I wrote an editorial asking Mayfair management not to ignore a trend and do something about the problems. To my great surprise, General Manager Steve Smith invited me in for a face-to-face chat to tell me about the PGR (Parental Guidance Required) Program which they were about to implement. This program essentially banned kids under 18 from the mall unless accompanied by an adult. I was impressed with Smith's response and for quite a while, it seemed like things improved.
The PGR program can only do so much. Anyone 18 and over who wants to cause trouble can still roam freely...until they are asked to leave. But think about it, isn't that true of every public place? Until we know more about what happened, I think it's important that we NOT do several things:
- We should NOT jump to conclusions.
- We should NOT stereotype the people that we assume were involved in the situation.
- We should NOT make broad generalizations about people based on their age, race or mailing address.
I too am concerned that a major gathering place in Wauwatosa might become unsafe, but I'm going to trust that General Growth Properties (owner of Mayfair), Wauwatosa Police and Mayor Jill Didier share those same concerns and want to keep Mayfair safe for all of us.
In the meantime, we'll get closer to a solution if cooler heads prevail.