Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Outrage: Newton Hero Getting Harassed, But Grace and Kindness Emerge, Too.

Some bad outsiders are invading the grace and strength of Newtown, Connecticut a month after a gunman killed 27 people there, including 20 sweet first graders. 

The outrageously bad here is  made worse because it's happening to a very good man. 
Newtown, Ct. hero Gene Rosen

In the news reports right after the Newtown shooting, you might have seen a kindly man named Gene Rosen in interviews. He lives very near the school. Six kids and a bus driver fled the shooting and wound up on his lawn. Rosen hustled the kids inside his house, and kept them safe, comforted them, gave them juice and toys and called their parents so they could come get them.  

The interviews showed him to be a generous, good man, the kind of guy that any community would be proud to have in their town.

So what does Rosen get for his grace and warmth? Lots of harassment from conspiracy theorists, according to Salon.  

These conspiracy theorists insist the Newtown massacre was a hoax, a way to take away our guns, establish a dictatorship or something. Who knows? 

From  the Salon article:

“I don’t know what to do,” sighed Gene Rosen. “I’m getting hang-up calls, I’m getting some calls, I’m getting emails with, not direct threats, but accusations that I’m lying, that I’m a crisis actor, ‘how much am I being paid?’” Someone posted a photo of his house online. There have been phony Google+ and YouTube accounts created in his name, messages on white supremacist message boards ridiculing the “emotional Jewish guy,” and dozens of blog posts and videos “exposing” him as a fraud. 

Salon writer Alex Seitz-Wald went on to quote Rosen:

"Here’s my fear: If I start talking like this, will one of these truthers read this and will it embolden them? Will they say, screw that guy, how dare he impugn our credibility or question our intellect, I’m going to go one step farther? Am I being stupid?” he asked.

After thinking about it, Rosen decided that he had to speak out: “I talk to you about this because I feel that there has to be some moral push-back on this.” Rosen said he’s a staunch believer in free speech, and realizes there is little legal recourse possible unless he gets direct threats, so he had a different idea.

“There must be some way to morally shame these people, because there were 20 dead children lying an eighth of a mile from my window all night long,” he said, choking back tears. “And I sat there with my wife, because they couldn’t take the bodies out that night so the medical examiner could come. And I thought of an expression, that this ‘adds insult to injury,’ but that’s a stupid expression, because this is not an injury, this is an abomination.”

Rosen has the right idea, but good luck shaming the conspiracy theorists harassing him. Many of them have no shame.

On the bright side, Rosen said he's also gotten a large number of messages and emails praising him for his actions. I don't know his email address, but if he were to read this, I totally agree with those positive messages.

Hang in there Mr. Rosen!

Now on to some undeniably heartwarming news our of Newtown:

In an incredibly nice gesture, Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz, known more widely as members of the Talking Heads and the Tom Tom Club, invited a group of child singers from Newtown, Conn. to their home studio to record a version of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."

Proceeds from the recording, which went on sale Tuesday, will go to the Newtown Youth Academy and United Way of Western Connecticut, which are helping Newtown recover from that tragic December massacre. 

The singers also got help from Sabrina Post, a Newtown-based vocal coach and Tim Hayes of the famed New York nighclub CBGB.

The video of the group recording the song, below, really tugs at your heart. Bring the tissue. 

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