Newtown Nice Guys Finish Last

Gene Rosen is being punished for helping kids (courtesy of the National Post)

On December 14, Adam Lanza marched into the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut and murdered 26 people, including 20 young children. The rampage ended when he took his own life.

That same morning, 69-year-old retired psychologist Gene Rosen was feeding his cats and noticed six small children “sitting in a neat semicircle” in his driveway. A school bus driver was also there and when Rosen approached, he could hear the driver comforting the children and telling them that everything would be okay.

That’s when Rosen heard about the shooting from one of the young boys. “We can’t go back to school,” the boy told him. “Our teacher is dead.”

Their teacher was Victoria Soto, one of the adults killed in the massacre. And Rosen could tell that her students had been traumatized. So he took the four girls and two boys inside, gave them so toys to play with, comforted them as best he could and started contacting their parents.

Rosen also made the mistake of sharing his story with the news media, and his life has been a nightmare ever since.

For whatever reason, Rosen has been flooded with phone calls and emails, most of which have been hostile and accusatory. Apparently there are people who think the Sandy Hook massacre was staged in a political move to bring gun control back into the national conversation. Some of them even believe that Rosen is an actor who was paid to play the role of sympathetic grandfather figure.

“The quantity of the material is overwhelming,” Rosen said recently. “I wanted to speak about the bravery of the children. I guess I kind of opened myself up to this.”

Some of the victims of Sandy Hook (courtesy of ABC News)

Here’s a little sample of one of the “conspiracy” emails that Rosen received: “How are all those little students doing? You know, the ones that showed up at your house after the ‘shooting’. What is the going rate for getting involved in a government sponsored hoax anyway?”

I must say that this and the other “hate mail/calls” that Rosen has been subjected to are incredibly disturbing, but I’m not surprised. What does surprise me is that people think Rosen was involved at all.

Pretend for a moment that this was a staged attack and that people were enlisted to help with the ruse. Aside from sharing a heartwarming story with the media that could gain sympathy for stricter gun legislation, which is a stretch, mind you, how might a retiree helping some children further the cause? Would this role really be that important in maintaining the facade?

People never cease to amaze me. And this story convinces me further that nice guys do indeed finish last. As if I needed more convincing…

Posted on January 16, 2013, in Perspectives and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Sadly as everyone tries to make sense out of senselessness the nuts find a voice. I found in my career over the years that people will accuse you of everything under sun, If your confident that you did your best and could have done nothing else then don’t worry what others say, some will praise your actions. Last summer I worked a detail guarding a park in an area where gang activity and conflicts between the gangs had number of shootings way up. The town the park was located in asked for our help with extra protection in the park to help stem the violence (fortunately there had been no violence in the park this was a preventive step) so myself and fellow officers spent hours everyday on foot patrols in the parks in sweltering heat we created a visible presence that slowed down the activities of people in the age range that are most active in gangs. It also had another side effect it brought back young children and parents/grandparents to the parks to play on the equipment and in parks. Families were able to enjoy the parks as they were intended even though there was the threat of violence all around them. We did this with 1 or 2 officers walking around park at a time. The most rewarding part was the number of these adults who took the time to thank us for being there and giving them back a valuable opportunity to spend quality time with their kids. However, the older kids and gang bangers thought we were infringing upon their civil rights…

    • Go figure. It’s funny how criminals can do anything they like, but start acting like they’re being mistreated once they get caught or someone tries to stop them from behaving badly. You guys did the right thing and it’s great that people could enjoy the park again. Lately, they seem like nothing more than havens for junkies, gang members, sexual predators and other weirdos…

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