Violence erupted at a Memphis bowling alley near the area where customers check-in on Jan. 31. As the fight grew, an 18-year-old man left the business, retrieved a gun from his car and opened fire through the front door into the crowd, hitting three people. While the incident may have been isolated for the bowling alley, violence in Memphis is increasingly spilling over into public places and spaces, reports the Memphis Commercial Appeal. In recent months, police have responded to shootings and other violence on highways, at malls, in store parking lots, community centers and stores.
Eric Lambert, a professor in the legal studies department at the University of Mississippi, said the incidents highlight a disturbing trend. “We know that violence has its roots in different causes, like the inequality of power or material well-being, stress, drugs, but when it is spilling into the public, people now are allowing their emotions, their anger to control them rather than rational thoughts because when you do things in public it is going to be observed by others and there seems to be no concern about that.” The U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics surveyed victims between 2004 and 2008 and found that almost 1 in 5 violent crimes took place in open areas such as yards, playgrounds, fields, on the street or in other similar locations.