Tis Still Nigh, This Eric Frein

The mountains here are not what you think. They are to be feared, they are mysterious and haunted by American rage. Eric Frein knows this too. So do those men and women who are hunting him. They find leftovers. They find movement in the shale, the moss, the places where bear normally scratch the bark have now been scrapped with an AK47 and a survivalist's mitt.

The brush, the poor fern, it's been moved too. Oh naturalists--the bullet holes to mother nature may never heal. And the bullets to mankind wont either. The hills and mountains of Penna are filled with a particular brand of American rage, a legacy. There is war here, there is feud, fracking upchuck in the fresh water well too. There are fossils dating back to before you were a species.

There is coal. A lot of energy, 4th in the nation, 5th in corruption, and there are train tracks--these have an effect on men. Fast moving water. Large timber. Rock exactly where the last ice age left it. Jutting out of the ground like butcher knives. And they are filled with snakes and death, the wrong move, the slippery rock and you go down head first.

Water usually baptizes everything, but at the moment nothing feels clean while FREIN is still nigh.

In town, nobody moves. Sirens go off. Numbers are given out. There is a kind of confusion that only confusion breeds. No one knows anything, but everyone has something to say. And the amount of xerox paper with the black and white face of ERIC FREIN is a trauma until itself. Our entire region has gone to their rocking chairs--waiting, watching, wondering when this will all be over. The ghost will never be allowed off the mountain.

And the tall case clock ticks. It's getting colder and someone mentioned a diaper in the forest. He is not that smart. He is a sociopath. He hates everyone and he is targeting innocent people. Law enforcement. Unacceptable in Penna. Unacceptable in America.

Today, I went to the forest where I work. I bring my dogs, a blind german shepherd and a smart brindle mutt. I needed to pave some stone steps. I went to work mixing the mortar and finding the right shale. And then the dogs began to bark, and I began to listen better than I usually do. I heard them do what they do all the time, only this time, I knew there was a man out there who has not been caught. A man who could live off this land in Penna; he could fish and hunt here. A man who could kill me and my dogs if he wanted to, because he is outgunning me.

I do not carry automatic weapons in the woods. I do not feel as a sportsman they are necessary for survival. Skill is necessary, civilization is also necessary if we are to live in peacetime again.

FREIN knows otherwise. He is a killer of a father, a husband, a trooper. And he gets to carry that AK47 with him for a few more days like a trophy. Where are you now, NRA? When do good men and women, both sides of the aisles, including the NRA, say enough. Automatic weapons are going to require a recall. And you can tell yourself--this is for our kids, your future, reduction in crime, our families, our communities, and leaders like CPL. Byron Dickson and Alex Douglass.

Move slowly. That's what you do in Penna. Don't bring it all down at once or there will be an all out revolt. We go slow like the Susquehanna in some places. But we now have to do something about automatic weapons and the danger they pose to innocent Americans, right here, this corner of Pike and Monroe.

They say Canadensis, Penna. It's about 20 miles from the barracks. Lonely place. More trees. State Game Lands, State Park, Up north The Promised Land State Park. They promised FREIN potatoes and he got rocks. German sayings come and go over mashed potatoes and gravy--but I don't know if he's in Canadensis, Penna. No one does.

Why would he go home to mother without a diaper? Why would anyone?

If this is all sounding crazy, it should. Because it is crazy to think we call ourselves a civilized society while a sociopath who has gunned down two officers can escape the law in Penna for days with an automatic weapon strapped to his shoulder. I don't blame Monroe County, I don't blame Pike. They're doing their best under the circumstances. This is wilderness, American.

I blame our unwillingness to take automatic weapons seriously. The generator burst out like a truck engine off the side of the cabin. It was a completely abnormal blowout, and I jumped a mile, or so it seemed. I thought of my dogs, they were barking, out of my sightline. I was not armed.

I thought it could be another worker's truck. In the end, strangely enough, it was just the new generator. In September, kicking in. And the dogs started barking louder at the blood red color coming in from the forest on the maple and the oak trees. Copper dead pine needles meant it was time to go.

Eric FREIN--tis still nigh in rural Penna and the hours are growing shorter.