Saturday, December 15, 2012

The media circus in Sandy Hook Center

The national news media has descended on our little town. As you approach Sandy Hook Center, which resembles a small hamlet, it's bumper to bumper traffic, and cars with lots of out-of-state plates are lined up parked on both sides of the road.

Satellite trucks are everywhere, TV crews and reporters are interviewing people on the streets. Cops still have the road leading to the school blocked off to traffic, but they're allowing people to go to the firehouse (not sure about the school) on foot.

It's a very small and picturesque little Center. Historic 18th century homes line Church Hill Road as it descends down a gentle slope toward the single traffic light. There's a liquor store, Figs Restaurant, a Subway, a diner, St. John's Episcopal Church, the Demitassee coffee shop and a few other shops. The Pootatuck River meanders through the Center, behind all the stores. You can enjoy a lovely view of it if you sit on the back deck of the coffee shop. The sidewalks are brick, and the merchants have worked hard for years to revitalize the area and make it more of a destination.

Today, it surely is a destination, for all the wrong reasons. People are out walking with bouquets of flowers and impromptu memorials filled with votive candles are all over town: on a bench by Edmond Town Hall, at the flagpole, in front of the Virgin Mary statue at St. Rose, and of course, at the Sandy Hook School. Someone bought 20 Christmas trees, 1 for each child, and set them up. Saturday mass at St. Rose is packed right now.

A man was standing just off the interstate exit holding a sign that indicated he was from some town in NJ and that they support us. Another sign simply read, "Pray for Newtown." You can tell who the press is becus for some reason they all seem to dress in all black. It's all very sad.

I heard a few reports that the shooter was some sort of troubled genius, which makes me very angry. They shouldn't be turning him into any kind of figure that others would emulate or we'll have copy cat killers who harbor sick fantasies about becoming famous before they go out. Obviously this was a sick individual. No one in their right mind would hurt an innocent child.

I am sure that most people who live near the Center are hunkering down this weekend because you cannot venture out without getting stuck in bumper to bumper traffic. We saw a few familiar news faces out there.

Now that it is dark, I'm sure the disparity of festive Christmas lights and greenery on all the shops and homes down there is going to feel so unsettling against the backdrop of what happened.

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