JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. - In recent months, tragedy has been felt all across our country. Events such as the movie theatre massacre in Colorado, the deaths at Sandy Hook Elementary School, and just Friday, closer to home, two people were shot at a mall near Roanoke, Virginia. It has some people asking: "Could it happen here?"
East Tennessee State University student, Casey Owenby, says, "It's one of those things where you feel like, it won't happen to me." But many public place are stepping up security in the wake of recent violence, just in case it happens here.
At ETSU, a place where thousands of college students call home, safety is a priority. ETSU spokesperson Joe Smith advises, "Awareness of safety is something that should be present all the times, especially when we hear these national incidents."
The same is true at the Mall at Johnson City, a public place where people are always coming and going.
"Does it concern me, the direction our world is going and how people are just targeting places like malls and schools to kill people? Yes, it definitely does," says Tembra Aldridge, the General Manager at the mall.
Leaders over public places in our area, are taking steps to make sure tragedy doesn't happen in our area. ETSU has added checkpoints and cameras around campus and at apartments like Buccaneer Ridge. Meanwhile, the Mall at Johnson City says they are planning an active shooter training class for their security guards and staff.
"The thing is, we just have to keep our eyes open and safety has got to be the first and foremost thing for us," adds Tembra. Both ETSU and the Mall at Johnson City have plans in place to alert the public in case of emergency. And while many public places plan for the worst, they're still holding out hope for the best.