Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021, was a surreal day in Warren. A day that began with gridlock on the streets and water overwhelming so many of the town’s roadways and infrastructure, ended with multiple crime scenes, a horrific murder and more questions than answers.
The day brought out some of the worst in Warren …
- Unprecedented violence not seen since the 1970s in this town;
- Despicable use of social media, highlighted by one man’s live coverage and vulgar descriptions while a victim lay bleeding from a gunshot wound;
- Wild speculation about the reasons and triggers for the violence;
- The uneasiness that settled over the town in the aftermath, with anxiety about the easy access to guns and the carnage they can create in a flash;
- The scary vulnerability of low-lying flood zones, where rising sea levels threaten to cripple areas of town in a not too distant future.
But the day also brought out some of the best in Warren …
- An outpouring of emotion and recognition for a lifelong volunteer and distinguished firefighter;
- The critical role of public safety in our lives, particularly the collaboration of police officers from multiple towns who flooded into Warren while there was still an active shooter loose in the streets;
- The professionalism and training of those officers, who quickly cordoned off areas, deftly managed both bystanders and traffic, and confronted an armed killer seemingly intent on doing more harm;
- The selflessness of Brian Remy, who dedicated much of his life to Warren and tried to make it a better place to live;
- The selflessness of neighbors, who stepped in to help with flooded homes and residents in need;
- The sense of community in this smallest of towns in the smallest of states — everyone talked about the victim in one word (“Remy”) and everyone knew who they were talking about;
- And the reminders about the fragility of life and the reasons to embrace every moment with neighbors, friends or family.
The funeral service this week will bring an outpouring of emotion and help to begin the very slow healing process. Warren should remember and celebrate the example Brian Remy set for this community.