“More Dead Clowns”
“I guess because my name is Bozo
I was destined to be a clown
But when I joined the traveling circus
I didn't think that it would bring me down
Make me angry like sniper in a tower”
-Sung by Jonathan Coulton
There was little sleep the rest of the night.
There were bodies to count and CPR to give; since it wasn’t a real fire alarm, it took the EMT’s and Police awhile to get there.
Saving lives was the first priority. Some were saved, some were lost.
Then there were statements, both for the police and to help suppress the press from making this a field of yellow.
I didn’t want to give any more column inches to the clown insanity, especially by telling people that it had expanded across the entire nation.
That was the kind of panic that could only harm more people than it could ever help.
There were eight dead, ages 26-67, 3 females and five men. It was an insane, sad scene.
We also had to make sure the shooters bodies didn’t vanish in the madness. We got them identified by the FBI. Both had no records, both were just run-of-the-mill citizens.
Harold Reese and Carter Hamm.
Reese was a car mechanic who lived in a suburb of Cleveland.
Hamm was a shipping clerk for a toy manufacturer named “Toyz for Kidz” in downtown Saginaw, Michigan.
We took the task of informing their families about their demise, and I was automatically glad we had done so, for the response was total bafflement.
Not one member of their families knew anything about their involvement with the Church. They were good Methodists, and had never stopped going to church every Sunday. There was a general revulsion at the idea of being involved with a “cult.”
We then discovered something important about both of them.
They had both recently lost their jobs. Actually, Hamm had been unemployed for about 4 months, but had some source of income.
Reese had been working up until a month ago, and creditors had begun to hint at upcoming problems if he didn’t get back in front of his bills.
Were they are the payroll of Simonson’s backers? How many true members still followed out of commitment to the idea?
We knew of at least four of the killers who had done the deed because they were paid to do so. Pressman had confirmed that his partner was also in the employ of the church.
This might not be as hard to crack as we had thought.
Could we just buy them off?
But that was like blackmail: once started, when would it stop? How many people would become murders without an income? The insane thought of a nation of hired assassins came to me and stayed in my mind as I tried to sleep. How mad was this whole thing?
Or was it just me who was crazy?
I don’t think I was before this case.
© C. Wayne Owens