ROCKLAND, Maine — The sidewalks were bustling Saturday evening with holiday shoppers who bundled up against the cold in search of the perfect present, walking in the glow of the brightly lit shop windows.
Many of them passed a different kind of light — a small knot of people standing on Main Street who used chilly fingers to hold onto candles and their voices to speak out during a vigil against gun violence.
Rep. Elizabeth Dickerson, D-Rockland, who also is a Rockland city councilor, said she wanted to give her constituents a chance to join in a concerted nationwide effort taking place at 5 p.m. that evening in the wake of the horrific school shootings Friday in Newtown, Conn.
“To talk about gun violence, to share their thoughts, their grief, their rage, their ideas for how we can prevent these acts,” she said.
Greg Marley of Rockland, one of the dozen or so people holding candles on the sidewalk near Planet Toys, was succinct when asked why he came to the vigil.
“Outrage kind of says it all,” he said. “It’s time. It’s time.”
Though the group was small, it was a start, he said.
“Everything’s got to start someplace. If you read the newspapers, you can see the outrage,” he said. “I hope that the NRA council is shaking in their boots.”
Marie Paschke of Rockland had a different take.
“Those poor little children — they’re six and seven years old,” she said of the victims of the shootings. “And I think we need to talk about mental health funding. We keep trying to protect ourselves and protect ourselves, but we’re not getting to the core issue. People are hurting, and we’re getting violent.”
Kyle Reniche of Rockland said that Americans may be getting desensitized to violence.
“There’s a personal responsibility element,” he said.