Thursday, October 16, 2014

It's Been a Long Month

Life Goes On … In Spite of Eric Frein

     Here in the Pocono Mountains in Northeastern Pennsylvania, law enforcement officers (LEOs for short) have been searching for Eric Frein, the accused assassin of one state trooper and attempted murderer of another, since the ambush on September 12, over a month ago. We are told the search is concentrated on the line between two townships in the northern part of our county. I’m sure most people are surprised Frein is still evading the LEOs; however, unless you’ve been in our woods, it’s hard to imagine how difficult it is to try to track down someone in underbrush so thick a person standing three feet away can be completely concealed. Also, the terrain is extremely difficult. Huge boulders, rock walls thirty or more feet high with many nooks and crannies in them, and fallen trees make moving through the woods incredibly challenging.
     People living in the “hot zone” have become accustomed to the sound of helicopters, planes, and I believe I’ve read even drones have been employed at this point. Since the area where Frein is believed to be hiding has become much smaller, the number of active LEOs at any given time has been reduced. However, they continue to seek him with caution, which is fine with us. We do not want to see more bloodshed if it can possibly be avoided.
     “Eric Frein” has become part of our consciousness. Most people have a hard time even beginning to understand why he would have undertaken such a deed. The trooper who was killed left behind a family that included two young sons. The wounded trooper, to the best of my knowledge, is still hospitalized. When … or if … he will return to duty is unknown. The first thought on everyone’s mind in the morning is “will today be the day he’s finally apprehended?” Morale continues to be good in our community. But we’ll all breathe a sigh of relief when this is over. There has been a briefing by the PSP every week, I believe, until this week. Why there was not one this week no one seems to know.
     I’d like to get Eric Frein out of my head. We all would, but he’ll be there until this is resolved. I don’t know how the people who live in the “hot zone” manage, but they do. We read posts on Facebook from many of them, who generously keep us updated on the activity … as best as they understand what is going on.
     We had heavy rain last night, and many people posted thoughts and prayers for the law enforcement officers who were out all night continuing the hunt. What drives a person to do what Frein has done and continues to do? It’s very difficult for me … for most people … to comprehend.
     People manage to keep their lives going, though there have been some changes throughout the community. Barrett Township, which has for a very long time had a wonderful little Halloween Parade, has cancelled it this year. But all schools are in full session. People continue to be vigilant. “PSP Strong” tee-shirts were sold over the past week in several locations. The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre hockey team, the Penguins, dedicated a game last week to the Pennsylvania State Police and there was an abundance of those tee-shirts visible in the stands. The two little boys who lost their father just over a month ago dropped a puck on the ice. An honor guard of troopers presented the colors. It was very moving.
     In the meantime, elsewhere in the world, very bad events are occurring. I’ve read The Hot Zone. Having even one case of Ebola in the United States I find very disturbing, regardless of the assurances of the administration that an epidemic in this country is highly unlikely. I hope they are correct. I’m not too sure.
     I’d much rather write about people whose lives are filled with music and love.