I knew the "Von Maur Shooter"

December 5th, 2007. Omaha, NE.

I was off from work that day and Shawn and I had been dating for almost 2 months at the time. It was a normal day. I turned on the TV after coming home from errand-running and the news channel was on showing an horrific breaking news headline: Shooting at the Westroads Mall.

"Wow, that's awful," I said to myself. I kept watching while I unpacked the things I had bought while out.

They didn't know who the shooter was at the time I tuned in and I paid as much attention as an univolved person who is distracted and safe at home. An hour went by and my mom called to make sure I was ok, then Shawn called at break and I informed him of the goings-on.

"That's pretty crazy," he remarked.

"I know. They don't know who it is but if they say more I'll text you," I replied.

"Ok, Love you. Bye."

"Love you. Bye."

And we hung up.

Not more than 10 minutes went by when they finally said the shooters name: Robert Hawkins.That sounded familiar... for some reason. But not that familiar. Then they showed his photo.

I fell to my knees.



Robbie Hawkins. That was his name.

He sat next to me in Marketing in the High School I graduated from a little over 1 year before the shooting took place. I didn't know him very well, but just sitting next to him and talking to him casually during class activities let me in on more than I could understand at the time.

As explained by the guardians who took him in and by Channel 6 News in Omaha,

'Hawkins was kicked out by his family about a year ago and moved in with a friend's family in a house in Bellevue said Debora Maruca-Kovac, who along with her husband took in Hawkins, a friend of her sons.

"When he first came in the house, he was introverted, a troubled young man who was like a lost pound puppy that nobody wanted," Maruca-Kovac told The Associated Press.

Maruca-Kovac said Hawkins was fired from his job at a McDonald's this week and had recently broken up with a girlfriend. She said he phoned her about 1 p.m. on Wednesday, telling her that he had left a note for her in his bedroom. She tried to get him to explain. "He said, 'It's too late,"' and hung up.

She told the AP she called Hawkins' mother, went to the Maruca-Kovacs' house and retrieved the suicide note, in which Hawkins wrote that he was "sorry for everything," and he would not be a burden on his family anymore.'

He was actually born in England and wanted to go back. His birthday was May 17. He was a person. In no way is his past excuse for what he chose to do. But his story can let us better understand how our actions really affect others. This child's parents rejected him, he wasn't given guidance to make good choices, and he couldn't cope. The hurtful energy Robbie's parents spread did not end with Robbie's death; it affected 13 people directly (9 killed including Robbie, 4 injured), and then it affected those people's families. Forever.

The Law of Conservation of Energy:

Energy isn't created or destroyed but merely changed.

Love has energy that makes you feel happy and bubbly. Anger has energy that makes you feel hate. Where we direct our energy affects the object it is directed at (like a person) and then it can continue and transfer, or it becomes changed. If you don't change the anger energy into love energy, you are merely a mechanism for continuing the anger energy. Long ago a cycle just like this affected Robbie's parents, they chose to continue the cycle and passed it to him. Robbie's friend and their family who took him in tried to end the cycle for him by showing him love but he chose to stay angry and hurt. The last action he ever took was continuing the cycle of hate energy by hurting innocent people.

I can only hope that what comes of this in the approaching years is that those affected by his actions can feel compassion for him in an effort to understand this concept and change the entire world for the better. Maybe someone would even be inspired to take an interest in mentoring troubled teens.

Robbie is dead now and he does not need advocacy, so this is not my goal here.Any coming-to-terms and letting go of the pain from this situation is truly for the benefit of the victims and their families, not for him. Those who are living after this tragedy will heal when they find compassion to replace any anger and judgement about what happened.

This is just what I learned while I grieved both sides of the situation. It was a unique emotion.

Don't let hate spread. Take a stand for Love.



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