Our Little Town Makes Big Time News

     Disclaimer: This is not a typical Blog, it’s my debriefing of a traumatic event.   

  A horrible event happened in Grand Marais, MN yesterday afternoon.  A friend called me to tell me there had been a shooting at the Cook County Courthouse.  When you live in a town with under 2000 people you pretty much know everyone.  Not only that but you know almost everyone who works in the courthouse.  My thoughts went to all of those folks who I know and care about who work in the courthouse and then to people who I thought may have been shot.

     Mike was in town so I quickly called to let him know there was a situation at the courthouse.  I told him he should go to check it out to see if there was anything he could do as a First Responder/Fire Chief/person who has been involved in incident command situations.  It turns out there was indeed something for him to do.

     There were law enforcement personnel and ambulance workers on the scene(all acquaintances of ours as well).  Two patients were being brought out to ambulances while a third remained standing in shock.  That’s who Mike went to help out and who was later treated and released from the local hospital. 

     The other two patients were transported to Duluth via ambulances because the weather conditions wouldn’t allow the Life Flight helicopter to land in Grand Marais.  A two hour ambulance ride must feel like an eternity especially if you are in pain. 

     It sounds like both of the patients are in stable condition.  The primary target of the shooter was our District Attorney and he suffered multiple gunshot wounds according to the news on the web.  You can read all about the incident online but I thought I would include a comment from one reader of an online article. 

Courts deeming one a "sex offender" has catastrophic consequences for the convicted. Few people realize that even petty sex offenses puts the offender on the same list as real pedophile monsters. That seems unfair to me. Legislators should find a way to separate and classify sex offenses so that those convicted of minor sex crimes are not placed on the "predator" list. I have a friend who, when only 19, was convicted of having consensual sexual relations with his high school girlfriend (she was 17). He spent 3 years in prison and had to register as a sex offender for 10 years, as if he was some sort of pedophile. The way he was treated was clearly wrong, and in reality, could have been any one of us at a younger time in our lives. We need to be rational about this sort of thing. The young man in this story was probably being prosecuted vigorously by a self-righteous DA, for probably something minor. I think he had had enough of it.

     The comments above remind me and should remind others to have compassion for not only the victims, bystanders, responders, family and friends but also for the shooter himself.  I have known him and his family for years and they are all good, kind and caring people.

      This big news in our little town will be the topic of conversation for a long time.  We will talk about our thoughts & feelings and those who were there will retell their story and debrief while doing so.  There will be emotional scars for many of the people involved but we must not be the ones to judge anyone in this situation. 

     We don’t know how we would respond ourselves unless we have walked in someone else’s shoes.  On any given day we can’t know what the last straw will be for us.  We can only hope that if that last straw comes for us and we make big news then we’ll have the love, support and compassion from the people around us who can make our lives and the lives of the people around us better.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone involved.  May your wounds heal quickly whether they are physical or emotional.