Essays taken from a weekly newspaper column published in the Washington County News, Washington, Kansas. Look for my book, "Dispatches From Kansas," available from Amazon.com, or from the author.
Good grief. I've read all about it - is the woman who was taken hostage doing ok?On some page I saw a photo of the shooter - a somehow strange image. He didn't look 43 - or maybe I'm just getting so old 43 looks like a kid.Hope things are settling down a bit. Are you in town or out? Meaning: were you locked down? That's scary enough in itself.
Linda -- The woman taken hostage is okay. We were in town when the lockdown occurred but I spent much of the evening and early morning at a roadblock in the middle of town talking with witnesses and the KBI. The rest of the night I was listening on the scanner to the police transmission and so followed the action minute by minute. The next day I was back on the scene. We're doing fine but I suspect quite a few natives have lost their belief that serious crime doesn't happen in rural America. What disturbed me most, I think, was the dozens of comments posted to Facebook about how "freaked out" and terrified a lot of locals were. Freaked out? I don't understand that mentality. I loaded the riot gun and kept the Glock on the couch next to us until I left, and then I made sure Lori had it in sight all the time. By then the guy was contained, though, so it didn't really matter. It's just a matter of preparation and attitude.
Believe it or not, I see a direct relationship between your town's experience and the Deepwater Horizon incident.It's always tempting to believe something can't happen because it hasn't happened. Even worse, of course, is believing something hasn't happened because it shouldn't have happened. Both attitude work against that preparation you rightly advise.
Tom, I immediately thought of you when Blue Rapids was mentioned as location for these unfortunate events. Nice photos.
As the KBI case agent of this investigation I want to thank all of the citizens of Blue Rapids for their understanding and support as we worked through the night to restore peace within their community without further injury to anyone. Nothing defines a community like tryng times and as I often see thoughout small Kansas towns the people of Blue Rapids rallied to support, care for and care for one another.
And as a resident of Blue Rapids I want to thank all the many law enforcement officers who responded so quickly and professionally. Each and every one of you placed your lives in the line of fire to protect us and to bring a peaceful resolution to a terrible situation. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you.
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