Earlier, The Inquisitr covered the Sandy Hook “truther” movement, as well as a troubling development — Gene Rosen, the kindly Newtown resident who sheltered six children after the massacre, and subsequent harassment he had received by those who believe Sandy Hook conspiracy theories.
Vis a vis an article in Salon, we learned of the treatment of Gene Rosen in the wake of the Sandy Hook shootings, and were quite unobjectively stunned — how could anyone believe so thoroughly in such bunk they’d go so far as to engage in such behavior? It was galling.
In case you missed it, Rosen found six children — Sandy Hook students who had escaped the shooting — in his driveway, before news of the event spread. Gene welcomed the kids into his home, gave them juice and snacks, comforted them and shared stuffed animals with them as they waited to be picked up. He later admitted that a fraught parent had shown up later looking for her child, one of the massacre’s 20 child victims.
[Redacted] was one of the people who read our piece on Rosen and what had happened to him after the incident, and [redacted] was about as bothered as anyone who had been moved by Rosen’s actions and stunned by the update.
[Redacted] was not necessarily in a position to reach out and thank Gene personally, so she did the next best thing — she set up a Facebook page titled “Gene Rosen is a Hero and We Support Him.”
At current count, the page has 2,819 fans, and messages of love, support and thanks from people all over the country to Rosen. [Redacted] was kind enough to tell us about the story, why she came to create the page and how Rosen has been affected by it. Here are her replies to our questions.
Can you tell us a bit about your Facebook page for Gene Rosen?
A friend of mine posted a link to your article in The Inquisitr which I read and led me also to the story in Salon. I read a few more stories and was discussing with a group of Facebook friends how it sickened me for Mr. Rosen that he was being treated this way. One of my friends said, “Someone should start a facebook page about this.” And I thought, you know what? They should. So I did.
It initially started out as a way for me to feel like I was doing something for him, albeit in a small way, but at the time, it was the only thing I knew to do. When I went to bed that night it had 45 likes I think and when I woke up that next morning it had over 500 and there were tons of messages in the inbox.
I enlisted the help of a few people to help admin the page. Keeping the naysayers and “trolls” off has been almost a full time job in itself!
The page evolved into a way for people to get messages of support, hope and love to Gene from Newton and all over the world and is over 2,800 “likes.”
Had you heard of Rosen’s actions in Newtown the day of the shooting prior to the events that inspired the page?
I had. There is a television right around the corner of my office and I listened to/watched the story unfold and the interviews afterwards.
What was your reaction when you first heard about how Rosen had been treated in the wake of the Sandy Hook incident?
My initial reaction was shock and then just disgust. I know there are things out there that are covered up. I know the government plays a role in that. It’s not like I choose to swallow the “blue pill” instead of the red, you know?
I’m not in a state of blissful ignorance that there are things out there that need to be exposed. But this, this is NOT one of them. There was this man, who could be my grandfather, being attacked for just doing the right thing. These “truthers” think Newtown is an insane version of “The Truman Show” – it just baffles my mind.
How have people reacted — was it mostly positive? Have you gotten any or many negative comments?
The reaction has been mostly positive. Mostly people just wanting to let Gene and Newton know that they care and that they support them. We have had questions from well-meaning people asking to explain inconsistencies or what they saw in one of the videos and we direct them to one of the sites that have “debunked” the videos.
The negative comes and we delete it as soon as possible. Very early on in the page and our description we let people know that we know they are entitled to their opinion, but if it disagrees with what we’re doing, “go start your own page.”
It’s not nearly as frequent when it first when up, but they still come in. Mostly about how blind we are – hear the term sheeple a lot – also lots of words not printable in mixed company.
Since the story was published, have you heard any updates about Mr. Rosen, and do you know if things have improved for him?
One of the most awesome things about starting this page is that I have heard from him, his friends, his family members, people whose children he cared for and their friends and relatives, and people who lost children, friends or relatives that day. They have all been so thankful for the support and while the naysayers haven’t stopped, the support they are getting makes it easier for them to deal with.
Does Gene know about the page? Has he contacted you?
He does know about the page and he and his wife visit it often. He reached out to me through one of the animal rescue groups that I contacted in Newtown. We spoke on the phone and, well, it was very affirming that I had done the right thing and that he was a very good, kind, and honorable person.
Do you think the page has inspired people in Newtown to reach out to him and thank him or offer support?
Oh, definitely! We’ve received messages of support from all over the place. And people have sent messages that he went to school with, old colleagues, old neighbors – all wanting him to know that they had his back. [Editor’s note: will the reader who is cutting onions in here please stop?]
Is there anything people wishing to show gratitude can do if they are supporters of Mr. Rosen?
With the help of two of the animal rescue groups he volunteers with in Newtown, we set up an “In Honor of Gene” donation options. Kitten Associates and The Animal Center (are two places accepting donations in honor of Rosen.)
We also have a group that is helping us take down the harassing videos offline. (I did not set this up, but they asked us to ‘rally the troops’ and the response has been huge – 5 videos taken down already!)
As sad as the Sandy Hook shootings were, it’s pretty great to see that Rosen and his kindness and grief were not forgotten or overlooked on that horrible day — and we are heartened that [redacted] managed to turn around what would have been a larger trauma for Gene otherwise.
If you have not already liked it and wish to show Gene Rosen support or send a kind message, head on over to “Gene Rosen is a Hero and We Support Him,” and throw them a Like.
[Editor’s note: At the interviewee’s request, we’ve removed all identifying information from this post.]