Are There Monsters on Maple Street?

The following letter was published in this week’s issue of the Gazette.

To the editor:
This week in Croton began with a candidate handing out campaign literature at a shopping center. Although this particular candidate is a former Croton-Harmon High School student, the likelihood of winning MegaMillions is greater than winning election. Given the Croton connection and lack of viability, a bit of polite small talk would be expected. Instead some folks took the opportunity to launch their shopping carts into the candidate’s parked car.

Seriously? You don’t have to support somebody’s political views in order to refrain from banging up their car—especially when there is virtually no chance of the person getting into office.

The week in Croton continued with public calls to shoot another resident with a shotgun. This involved a person on the sex offender registry who lives in Croton. There is a legitimate argument for not releasing high-risk offenders back into the community, but to call for murder on Furnace Dock Road is not the way to handle this.

Croton residents are getting more comfortable with violence and more accepting of neighbors who call for violence.

Scene from the Twilight Zone episode “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street.”

Scene from the Twilight Zone episode “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street.”

A year ago, this climate was initiated by one of our leading citizens inviting people to Private Message her to get the name and address of a Croton resident displaying an offensive flag. We all knew exactly what was being sought by the person soliciting the PMs and by those who would contact her. Since that incident, there have been others.

Calling for violence—however subtly done—is a slippery slope. It creates a civic climate that takes on a life of its own. What was once implied and winked at becomes explicit and applauded; there is an increase in the scope of acceptable reasons to initiate action.

On Friday and Saturday, local students will perform Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery and also The Monsters are Due on Maple Street. A fitting coda to this week in Croton-on-Hudson.

Paul Steinberg