The Newtown tragedy has impacted each of us. We all have opinions. We all want to make sense out of the senseless. Yet we all have the burden of responsible behavior to carry.
Gene Rosen is a friend of my father's. He's also a model citizen who has served this state well. Now, however, Mr. Rosen is being vilified.
Why? Because on the day of the massacre, Mr. Rosen took several scared, would-be victims off of his front lawn and into his home. Some believe this makes Mr. Rosen part of a vast conspiracy. Others think it makes him a publicity hound.
I believe it makes him a hero. Think what Mr. Rosen did that day was self-serving and easy? Think again. I've seen Mr. Rosen since the tragedy. I've been in his house, in the same room where the children were gathered, no less.
He has been profoundly affected (as has his wife) by what happened. The brutal criticism hasn't helped matters, either. A nightmare literally showed up on Mr. Rosen's front lawn and the man did all that he could. For this he is punished by those who nitpick his every word and by those who question the validity of emotions.
The First Amendment rightly allows for us to speak our minds. A sense of responsibility, however, should go hand in hand with that precious right. To go on television or online and to accuse a traumatized grandfather of a heinous crime is a serious matter.
A decent person would present some irrefutable evidence before making such an assertion. When no such evidence exists, however...
I'll close with this: years ago I had a co-worker who was literally becoming unhinged. He spoke to myself and to others of having suicidal and homicidal thoughts. A few of us spoke up. Our supervisors did little or nothing.
Out of frustration, I turned to my father, a long time law enforcement official, for advice. My father subsequently reached out to a man he knew who was an expert on criminal behavior. So concerned was this man that he called back from vacation to offer solid and sound guidance.
That man was Gene Rosen.