This past Saturday as Nancy and I returned from my parents grave site which is located about 7 miles east of Sutherland Springs there was nothing special about rolling through the small Texas town on Hwy 87.
Slow down – ease on through – and head to La Vernia.
The place looked the same as it has for most of my life.
No flash. No rock stars. Just everyday people enjoying their quiet lives in rural Texas.
Good people. Salt-of-the-earth people. The people who make this country work.
I returned to Sutherland Springs yesterday not as a media guy, but as a friend. I wanted to hug a few necks of some friends, and say a few prayers.
Satellite news trucks lined Hwy 87 for miles. Reporters were scurrying about with their notebooks in hand and camera photogs trying to keep up.
Reporters covered in make-up awaiting their next “live” shot on the network gathered under their pop-up tents.
Look – there’s so and so.
Is that? Yep that’s him.
And the police presence was intense too.
FBI, ATF, Texas Rangers, DPS, and more.
Then there are the folks who are there just to see the place that is all over the news.
The First Baptist Church Sutherland Springs.
Once quiet and unassuming is now ringed with yellow police tape – the center of everyone’s attention.
While standing in front of the VP gas station talking to some friends from the area, I was struck by how busy the store was.
Ding Ding Ding – the bell over the door was on constant ring.
Reporters running in and out with Gatorade and water headed to their vehicle to catch a cat-nap before the 11:30 news briefing.
Anyone who looked like a resident was stopped by the media and asked if they would grant an interview.
One of the major networks approached my friend and asked him to talk. He asked her to wait a few minutes so we could visit. She stood 5 feet away until he and I hugged goodbye. She immediately stepped in to ask questions as I walked away.
The media has a job to do. American society has an insatiable appetite to know more about these types of events. The media is there to get the info to them.
My friends in Sutherland Springs know this.
The day will soon come when the satellite trucks will drive away. On to the next big breaking story.
That’s when my friends in Sutherland Springs will emerge from their homes and return to what they do best.
Work the land, take care of each other, and worship the God who loves them all.