And It Continues
September 23, 2014 ─ The media tells us the manhunt for Eric Frein, alleged shooter of two PA State Troopers on September 12 – one fatally – is now in its eleventh day. We’ve learned that along with PA State Police and members of local law enforcement agencies, there are also agents from the FBI, ATF, U.S. Marshals Service, as well as LEO from nearby New York and New Jersey. This information was reported yesterday during a press conference by the Governor of the State, Tom Corbett, on his second visit to the region and the second time he has addressed the situation; the first was a couple of days ago. No intent to disrespect the office, but the Governor seemed much better prepared on his second visit than on his first. He is in the midst of a campaign for re-election.
It’s autumn in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, my favorite time of year and a time for visits by tourists to view our “Flaming Foliage.” “Mountains” is perhaps a misnomer, as these are more high hills than true mountains, but it’s beautiful here. The hillsides slowly turn to brilliant displays of red, yellow, purple, and gold, many hues of each color, contrasting to the variety of the different shades of green of evergreen trees. Vistas become breathtakingly beautiful and it’s a wonderful time to drive the back roads and enjoy nature’s display.
We’ll have to wait a while to do that in some parts of Monroe County, because there are some roads that are currently filled with law enforcement vehicles of every kind, and hundreds of law enforcement officers attempting to locate and arrest this man, considered armed and dangerous, and listed on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted at Number Two. It has been stressful for the LEOs and the residents alike. The hillsides of the Poconos are thick with trees and undergrowth and covered with rugged boulders of all shapes and sizes, sometimes as big as a house. It’s not a tranquil stroll through the woods. It’s Eric Frein’s backyard, and he apparently has stashed a great many items in those woods, preparing for this event. Exactly what those items are we haven’t been told, we assume food, possibly clothing, possibly more guns and ammunition.
I found it especially distressing to see a Facebook post this morning from a legal office, not in our area, suggesting the people in Price and Barrett Townships were having their civil rights violated because of the efforts the LEOs are making to uphold their sworn duty to “protect and serve” the citizens. It’s disconcerting to see the many videos posted on FB taken from people’s living room windows as they watch a group of armed men, often dressed in camouflage, cross their front lawn. They have been asked to stay in their homes for their own protection, and the LEOs are understandably attempting to limit the auto traffic in and out of these two townships. That an attorney, before there is any resolution to what is a dangerous situation is laying the groundwork for a class action suit against the PA State Police, I find at the very least disturbing.
It’s surreal to view other videos posted by residents of a drive down a back road with a law enforcement vehicle as an escort either leaving or entering one of the townships. These back roads are generally quiet and little traveled. Currently, such a drive is past numerous vehicles with law enforcement logos on them, sometimes on both sides of an already narrow two-lane road.
The school district that had suspended classes for four days was open this morning but did not provide bus service in the “hot spot” … the two previously named townships. Children who were unable to get to school will not be marked absent. The district is holding all sports practices indoors. I am told via Facebook that administration and law enforcement officers were very visible at every school as students arrived.
It’s a tricky juggling act, trying to find a fugitive in a populated area, albeit sparsely populated, and be sensitive to the concerns and needs of the residents. The local police in particular have to be exhausted by this point, and everyone is wondering how much longer this will go on. All indications are this effort will continue until Frein is caught. Most people who live in this area are supportive. It has certainly been at least an inconvenience for some.
There are many stories that will eventually be told about all of this. Of course, numerous rumors are flying – in this high-tech world mostly via social media – but only the people directly involved know the truth. Many questions remain unanswered. How long can Frein, a self-styled survivalist, manage to elude police in our hills and valleys? That’s a question we’d all like to have an answer to. Hopefully, not too much longer.
We would all like to enjoy the beauty and serenity of these hills again.