He is still out there--three weeks now. Hiding in a glen filled with moss and night. Or caught in that bear den. No warm fires. No shots anywhere. Just out there hugging the barrel of a cold AK47.
Nearby, at our campsite, the caretaker found a BMW wagon parked all alone. Two people, a man and a woman, had pulled in to the lodge. They were spotted by an elderly couple staying on the camp. The elderly couple called the caretaker, and the caretaker called me. Upset, and rightfully so, because we have a psychopath on the loose.
Our caretaker wanted to know: "Should I call 911?" And I told him yes. I told him: "Get a trooper out there. And get those people out of that forest." So he did this. He called the troopers, and it took about two hours (they are busy), but they came and checked it all out. And again, it was a terrible waste of their time. Like every call they must get now, for the survivalist walks among us and he has terrified the woods.
It was nothing serious. A couple. Two young lovers. Beautiful friends. Campers. Naturalists without fear. Down below the waterfalls where an AK47 can't be heard.
Our property, so I am told, is a straight shot through the mountains to Canadensis, where the police and FBI are concentrating their efforts. At night, when the full moon hits--the eclipse and the red moon--we scan the brush and the edges of the forest. We listen to the direction of the wind. There is nothing more telling, deer and dog know it too, no one whispers more secrets than the wind. We watch for moving shadows, any shadows that dance the wrong waltz.
I suspect he will be in the trees. He will be anywhere and everywhere this Halloween. Our bogeyman, Americans--pray he be captured by the time the pumpkins start to rot.
We are dealing with a very dangerous man--so remember us. This Frein is on the loose in my backyard, and in the mountains of very complicated state. Mine, and thousands of others in Penna, have no idea if a man with an automatic weapon is about to step out of those lunar shadows and gun down our families. We are dealing with death every day he is out there. And the fear permeates everything--thus far, three weeks.
The forests of Penna are like no other. They crack like an old face. They smile, but at any moment their teeth might fall out and crush you. There are trees here that defy gravity and cling to the walls of the Pocono Mountains, they fall and crush the ground and their roots are as tall as your mansion. In spring, the rocks weep and provide fresh water and an abundance of edible plants. Winter will be harder, more dangerous for us if he survives because he will have to hunt like a racoon, in the trash of man. He will come in contact, a psychopath with survival skills and the hunger to use them--he will contact people.
These walls are so old, they can withstand a killer. They can withstand a fisherman, a hunter, a gatherer, good with tools and a hatchet probably. Good with zippers, buttons, snaps, knee patches, velcro, thermal wear and spark plugs--who knows. His bag of tricks has thus far eluded his capture--and that is our horror to bear. Killer of police. Killer of a good father. Frein--he is a psychotic coward.
For the pain he left behind, for the lives of officers Bryan Dickson and Alex Douglass, their families, our America. We must find and disarm him.
He wants to kill again, Frein. They all do--this man who hates America, but thinks himself a patriot--a sniper of police, a cold-blooded killer, displays his horrible war games on Penna state troopers and gets away. He is waiting for that moment--fight or flight. Semper Fi playtime--as he was never a vet, but he liked to play one on video. And he has a vendetta--authority. Vietnam.
He leaves a letter detailing how he killed the troopers and got away with it. A trooper imagined he spotted Frein--and in flew helicopters, armoured vehicles, SWAT teams, an arsenal of weapons, the entire military process of policing in 2014. Echoes of Ferguson, MO--but in the service of humanity, and in the case of disarming a man with an AK47, very justifiable. For one man with an AK47, you do need an arsenal of vests and armour to keep an innocent cop's lungs breathing, heart pumping.
Remember this when it comes time to question your position on automatic weapons, the NRA, maybe a very small revision to our Second Amendment that strengthens mental health checks and tighter restrictions on all gun sales. The fight to save troopers like Dickson and Douglass, and all American citizens from gun violence, must shift to safety, training, and respect for the law of the land and the tools that can destroy life.
We have just lost a beautiful Pennsylvania son, one who lived and died in the service of our safety, and we've seen another critically injured by a psychotic sniper. There is an open and infected wound in Pike and Monroe Counties, Penna. I believe the scar will never heal until we practice restraint, and restore our obligation to the safety of future lives.