While the Connecticut tragedy affects people in different ways, it has convinced a Metairie man to pay tribute to the victims in his front yard.
Christian Bayer used 20 small crosses, paint, and plywood donated by Home Depot to create his memorial. It also includes stuffed animals and news clippings.
“My mom wasn’t here. I said, ‘You know what, I gotta do something for the families’,” Bayer said Wednesday while standing next to one of his plywood signs.
Bayer has his own struggles that include the death of his older brother in a car crash. Following the Connecticut shootings, his emotions are all about his appreciation of life. He’s created similar front yard statements after the 9-11 attacks and Saints winning streaks.
Earlier this year, Bayer also created one of his memorials following a shooting at a movie theater in Colorado. That attack was especially difficult for him, he says, because he was visiting family in Colorado and had an invitation to go to the same theater that night.
“I cheated death, and thank God I’m still here.”
Much of the fallout from Sandy Hook focuses on mental illness. Bayer says the shooter’s mental state is no excuse for the killing spree.
“If I need help, I go cry out to my mom and say, ‘Look, I need help.’ But no, this cat knew what he was doing. He planned it.”
As Bayer hugs his mother, he wipes away tears and thinks about the parents who lost children in Sandy Hook.
“I love my mom. She’s beautiful,” he says. “I see little birds up in the sky. It’s those little kids up in heaven.”