By: Allan Siegel
The Columbia Mall shooting is fresh in the minds of many Marylanders. It
was a horrific reminder that mass shootings are a real possibility that
we could one day face. After many of us checked to ensure that our loves
ones were safe, some were left wondering what happens to the surviving
victims and the families of those who did not survive. How do they get help?
Police and investigators are working to provide answers and counselors
are available to offer emotional support, but victims and surviving families
may still need compensation for their injuries, possible lost wages, or
other damages. A young person could have been injured to the extent that
he will never have the ability to provide for himself financially, and
he may incur exorbitant medical expenses. A single parent, who was the
sole provider for her family, could be killed leaving behind four children.
Many victims in these situations feel helpless. The critical question becomes:
could anything have been done to prevent this tragedy?
If the answer is yes, then that party should be responsible for any compensation
necessary for these victims. If the gunman was under a doctor's supervision,
it must be determined whether he was given adequate care and whether the
appropriate mental health care procedures were followed. If the shooting
occurred at an airport or a location with similar security measures, then
possibly the weapon could have been detected. The safety policy of the
facility should also be evaluated. The facility's security should
respond in a way that does not further endanger the lives of the people
they are meant to protect. If a security guard or police officer acted
in a way that caused further injury, these actions could be found negligent
or reckless. Similarly, in a school shooting if the administration had
knowledge of potential danger it has a duty to warn or protect its students.
The facts of each case can vary dramatically, but if a third party was
negligent or reckless in the possible prevention of a mass shooting they
should be held accountable.