The Mall of America was officially threatened by Somali terrorist group Al-Shabab. I’m not surprised by this and I doubt Homeland Security is either. I have to assume the MOA has had a large target on it since 9/11, if not before. It epitomizes everything about western culture that groups like Al-Shabab despise.
In the winter I am a mall walker. I usually go to the Mall of America before the shops open to walk around each level of the Bloomington, MN mall, which ends up being a couple of miles. Yesterday I stopped by the mall later in the afternoon thinking it would be less crowded. I rarely go to the mall on weekends because it is so packed with people, it’s difficult to find parking, there are too many people and yeah, because I am keenly aware of what a target it is.
If someone is going to try to attack the MOA I would assume they would do it when it was filled to rafters with shoppers and employees rather than when the morning mall walkers were there but no one else is.
Still, there are no metal detectors to walk through when entering one of the many entrances to the MOA. There is a strong security presence which includes dogs being led around the mall on a fairly regular basis. I usually leave when I see the dogs.
If you haven’t been inside the mall it’s difficult to imagine how big it is. For the first time visitor it is overwhelming how massive the structure is (and they’re making it even bigger!).
This is a picture of the Mall of America I took from 24th Avenue and just off I494, about two city blocks away. I still can’t get it all in the frame.
It would be very easy for anyone who wished harm on Americans to do something involving the mall. At least from what I can see, which admittedly is probably what security wants me to see.
There are people in the mall wearing backpacks, there are people pushing strollers, there are people wearing all kinds of different heavy clothing in the winter (though I tend to leave my coat in the car because it gets too hot otherwise) and there are many people wearing full burqas and most of the people in the mall are carrying large packages.
In addition to the regular weekend shoppers I encountered on my short visit yesterday, there were also the various school dance team competitors that seem to be there every weekend during the winter and the girl scouts selling cookies, there was also a large event at the mall, an annual diabetes walk for charity. So the mall was probably at full capacity yesterday. It was so full I completed my errand and left as soon as I could make my way to the doors through all the screaming babies and toddler meltdowns.
I’m glad we’re being told to be vigilant but I’m sad this is what our world has come to. If you can’t spend your Saturday shopping for kicks, riding a roller coaster or two, maybe taking in a movie, eating all kinds of great food or really unhealthy crap, getting strange parts of your body pierced or having your eyebrows yanked out with a string what kind of a world do we live in? Not one I look forward to.