Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Thoughts from Minnesota after the Halloween Day terrorist attack in NYC October 31, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 6:36 PM
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Assorted squash in Hayfield, MN. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo, October 2016


AT THE KITCHEN COUNTER, I position the knife across the squash, pushing hard to slice through the tough skin. When that effort fails, I thwack the squash against the cutting board, splitting the garden fresh produce in half.



As I work, the television blares a news conference from the living room. I sprinkle sea salt and grind fresh pepper onto the squash, add pinches of brown sugar and dabs of butter. In between I strain to hear the words of public officials talking about the latest terrorist attack, this time in my country, in Lower Manhattan in New York City.

Far removed from Minnesota, this attack still hits home. A bike path. A school bus. The selected weapon of terror—a rental truck from The Home Depot. Ordinary. Everyday. Unexpected. People just going about their daily routines. On Halloween afternoon.

As details unfold, I hear of eight dead and a dozen or more injured, bikers and pedestrians plowed down on that bike path. And then that school bus, with two adults and two children inside also struck by the rental truck.

Now he’s in custody, a 29-year-old suspect labeled as a terrorist. Shot. Hospitalized. Under investigation.

Back in my Minnesota kitchen, I slide the pan of squash into the oven. Soon the scent of autumn permeates my home. The TV still blares. And I think of family on the East Coast, although not in NYC. I grab my cell phone and text I love you! Happy Halloween! to my son in Boston. At times like this, I want nothing more than to hold close those dearest to me.

© Copyright 2017 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


10 Responses to “Thoughts from Minnesota after the Halloween Day terrorist attack in NYC”

  1. Jackie Says:

    I posted the note below on Facebook just hours before the terrorist attack…. This newest attack once again validates my concerns, and gives reason again for us all to have a heightened sense of awareness of our surroundings….. Here’s what I wrote.

    “Does anyone else have a heightened sense of awareness of your surroundings these days? With all of the violent tragedies in recent months of shooters killing innocent people at concerts, places of employment and in schools that’s enough to cause me to look around. Not in a paranoid way but just to notice what and who’s around me. Today while out having coffee at a local business I noticed a young man drive up on his bike, dressed in black, earbuds in his ears and obviously singing or yelling something. As He got closer I could read his lips, and words like _uck, and _itch could be deciphered. He parked his bike close to the door, with backpack on his back he looked around inside the building and disappeard from my sight. I felt a little unnerved, and decided to pack up and leave (I’m going with my gut here folks) Before I could stand, there he was again heading out the door with a smirk on his face, and off he went on his bike. Yikes! My thoughts… he dropped a bomb to go off in a few minutes. Out the door I went. Am I being paranoid or do any of you ever feel this way. The world has changed, I know longer think, “oh, that stuff only happens in other towns “. I don’t live my life paranoid, looking over my shoulder, but I’m more aware of my surroundings…. that’s all I got to say…. anyone”?

    • Based on your observations, your concerns seem legitimate. You are wise to hold a heightened awareness and to trust your gut. I trust mine. Did you report this? One of the messages in NYC yesterday called for residents and others to remain vigilant and if they observed suspicious behavior to report it.

  2. Beth Ann Says:

    I totally understand those sentiments. Micah and Wendy are both traveling this week but it always gives my heart pause when I hear NYC news –especially news like this.

  3. Littlesundog Says:

    I was working away in the orchard when this attack happened. I did not learn about it until I came back to the house around 5:00. It is terrible when a person doesn’t really react anymore. I suppose I just stood there numb, saying a quiet prayer for the families that lost loved ones. This has happened so many times – all over the world, and I am never surprised when it happens in a big city. I am not paranoid or fearful. Rather, I am cautious and I am not afraid to report anything. Being politically correct means nothing to me in defending my community or my country.

  4. Missy's Crafty Mess Says:

    Yes, that’s all I want to do at times like these too. It’s just so sad 😞 and one will never understand

  5. Gunny Says:

    Everyday, I pray that some bizarre situation does not develop into a situation such as we see on TV in various places in these United States. Yet everyday, I see mothers (and fathers), talking on cell phones, ignorant abut the traffic around them shuttling their kids to and fro oblivious to the world around them

    It is good to have a sense of the time, place and conditions of where one is at. There are classes available that one can take to help one learn to be more receptive to what our environment tells us. (talk to your local police)

    If the Domestic Violence charges had been properly made or the type of discharge the individual had been given was filed with NICS – as required by law, the shooting in the Texas church would NEVER have happened. In any case, what FINALLY stopped this person was another citizen! Assailant was being held by the armed citizen and until the police could react. Drugs / mental instability or a combination of both seem to be a common denominator in these cases.

    Sadly, I can not tell anyone exactly what to do in a given situation because every situation is different and has many variables. One has to trust their instinct. Get training. May God watch over you all in your daily lives.

    • Every situation is different and has many variables is something we all need to remember.

      As far as cell phones, a new Minnesota law went into effect on August 1 banning drivers from using their cell phones. It’s basically a hands-off law. I’ve seen several violators. No surprise there.

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