Knupp Tragedy Reflections
I’m a local to Ocean Pines. I’m a mother of four. I’m a teacher. I’m a coach. I’m a Girl Scout leader. And I created the Do It For Gavin — Justice For Gavin Facebook page.
Gavin Knupp went to school with my oldest daughter. They had some classes together and some mutual friends. They followed each other on social media, but they weren’t great friends. In fact, until the morning of July 12, 2022, I had never heard the name Gavin Knupp. Late the night before, on my daughter’s 14th birthday, I had seen a post on Facebook about a 14-year-old being involved in a hit-and-run accident. By the time I woke up for work the next morning it had been reported that the boy had died. My husband and I knew that if a 14-year-old had been involved, then our daughter would know him and that she would be impacted by his death. We made the decision to wake her up hours before she would have woken up on her own and tell her what we had read. It took her less than 30 seconds to log onto her social media and identify Gavin Knupp as the name of the boy who passed. That was hours before his name was released by the media, and she immediately started tearing up and telling me that while she had hoped to not know the person at all, if it had to be someone she knew why couldn’t it have been someone who wasn’t so nice? Why couldn’t it have been someone else?
On that morning in July, I had no answers for my own 14-year-old. As the weeks, and now months, have gone on and she has asked what kind of person could just leave him there or why can’t those responsible just do the right thing and turn themselves in, I have less answers still. How can I explain the inexplicable, the inexcusable, the incomprehensible?
To the person(s) responsible for the death of innocent 14 year-old Gavin Knupp, I beg of you: come forward. Do the right thing. Every single day, every hour, every minute of your silence you are tearing apart a family that did nothing to deserve the pain that you have caused. I have had the honor and privilege of meeting and speaking to both Ray and Tiffany over the past several weeks. These are two wonderful humans who I had never met until after the passing of their son. When I started the Do It For Gavin — Justice For Gavin Facebook page, I did so with two goals in mind: organize all of the thoughts and ideas from people in the community who wanted to help and support the Knupps, and show the Knupps that their community was ready to rally for and support them in their desperate time of need.
I am honored to say that I do feel like I have been able to accomplish those goals already. Honestly, I truly am blown away by the support of the amazing community that we live in. So many have shown unwavering support for Ray, Tiffany, and Summer. Merchandise is being sold for the Gavin Knupp Foundation, donations are being made in his name, local businesses are offering constant support; all in Gavin’s honor. The goal in all of this is to remember Gavin Knupp not for his death, but for the life he led and the person that he was. As Tiffany and Ray have said many times over, he was so much more than just the way he died. I want to thank everyone for the support that they’ve shown the page and the Knupps. It has restored my faith in humanity and assured me that I live in a community worth raising my children in.
My final thoughts are simple, and they are again directed to the person(s) responsible for Gavin‘s death. Had you come forward in the days that followed, rest assured that I and several other people within our community would have understood. I could have wrapped my brain around someone freaking out in the middle of the night after such a shocking and severe accident. I could have wrapped my brain around wanting to get some affairs in order before turning yourself/yourselves in. I could have wrapped my brain around a lot of different things. And had that been the case, had there just been a delay in justice because of someone wanting to get things in order, someone wanting to prepare a statement, someone wanting to strategize on how they could take accountability and not entirely ruin their own lives, I would have understood. And so would so many others.
I wouldn’t be outraged. I wouldn’t be calling for boycotts. I wouldn’t be doing everything in my power to make sure that justice is seen in this case. And please know and understand that when I say justice, I don’t simply mean justice for Gavin’s death. Gavin will get his justice. What I’m calling for, what I’m begging for, is justice for the entire Knupp family. For the agony that they have experienced in these weeks of silence. For the injustice that you continue to give daily. For the resources being used by my tax money to go find you and find the evidence instead of having it offered. For every ounce of unnecessary insult to injury that you have continued to cause through your silence.
I along with many others in this community will not rest until that justice is served. While I may have asked for leniency had you done the right thing from the beginning, I no longer want to ask for leniency. In fact, I will write however many letters I need to and send them to whoever needs to read them begging for you to have the maximum sentence imposed. Again, you did not just rob this family of their 14-year-old. You did not simply take away an entire human life. Every single action (and inaction) that you have chosen in the last several weeks that have followed have added layers of pain to an injury you could already never repay.
Everything that I have done for the Knupp family has been not only to show them that there are people there who will remember their son for the person he was and will fight for the justice that they deserve but has also been a plea to you to do the right thing. An outward appeal to you to be a human, to find grace and acceptance for the actions that you took that resulted in the death of a child, to realize that your inaction continues to add layers of hurt to this family. I pray every single day that one of the many screenshots sent to you of posts and comments from myself and others in this community will eventually hit home with you, that something that one of us says will hit you so hard that it allows you to finally, finally do the right thing.
Please, come forward and give this family some peace. Peace is not something that they should be fighting for.
‘Take Those Jobs and Shove ‘Em’
It’s been a long time since I heard the old country classic Take This Job and Shove It, but I was reminded of it recently when I read yet another letter touting all the benefits of bringing jobs to the area to build giant wind machines in the ocean.
I went to Youtube and listened to it again, and now, with a tip of the hat to the great Johnny Paycheck, I offer a new version. It goes like this:
Take those jobs and shove ‘em
We don’t need them on the Shore.
Killing birds and trashing views
Ain’t what we’re paying for.
Billions of our tax dollars
Will be poured into the sea,
But there are many cheaper ways
To make clean energy
We know that there are better paths
To keep the planet healthy,
And we know that your agenda
Is simply to get wealthy.
You say this junk will last for 20 years,
But all that rare-earth metal ore
Is mined in distant third-world lands
Where nobody’s keeping score.
You’ll fool the well-intentioned folks
With talk of being green.
They know not all the hidden things
That makes it far from clean.
The clutter of our daytime views
May get even worse at night.
Is there no place left on earth
To be free of blinking lights?
So take those jobs and shove ‘em
We don’t need them on the Shore
Killing birds and trashing views
Ain’t what I’m paying for.
Vote Against Question A
We have all heard the expression, “the devil is in the details”. Now and until Nov. 8 Worcester County residents are going to be asked a ballot question. Question A will appear on the Nov. 8 ballot as well as the mail-in ballots people started to receive Oct. 4. Question A titled “Local Referendum by Petition Bond Issuance for Design and Construction Costs of a Worcester County Sports Complex.” It will read, “The purpose of this question is to determine whether the County Commissioners may finance a portion of the costs of designing and constructing a Worcester County Sports Complex by issuing a bond.” Then, for or against.
Doesn’t this sound so reasonable? Why not some will ask, we need a sports complex in our county, a place where our children can safely play. Well let’s look at some of the details surrounding this sports complex.
- Our children will not be allowed to go there to play at will. Its purpose is to host teams competing from out of town.
- The use of public funds to build a fantastically expensive project at the northern part of our county is wrong headed. The northern part of our county is congested enough. It should be built in the southern end whose economy needs a boost.
- The 95 acres just off Flower Street will cost taxpayers $75,000 an acre or $7.1 million. Land is available in other parts of the county far, far cheaper.
- This sports complex located next to the high school will benefit the hotels and restaurants in Ocean City and West Ocean City greatly.
- Once again, a project being considered and approved by the same four commissioners with no business plan, no total transparency reminiscent of the Black-Eyed Susan River Boat fiasco in Snow Hill.
- It is estimated that a government owned sports complex requires approximately 25% subsidy to operate, not including debt service and capital reserve funding. Where is that money coming from?? A tax hike will be probable.
- Efforts to obtain total costs for a sports complex from our County Commissioners have been unsuccessful. Why, could it be they do not know?
This is a fast-tracked sports complex that never appeared in our county capital improvement plan until less than a year ago.
Given the current economic situation, is this the right time to be building a major capital project? Vote against or “no” on question A.
Dennis W Evans
Support For Petition Effort
As a vacation property owner, but not a full-time resident of Ocean City, I fully support the attempt to get the referendum on the ballot to overturn the Margaritaville Right-of-Way Conveyance to the developers of Margaritaville.
If you are eligible to vote in Ocean City, I hope you can find the time to support this petition. The size of this project does not fit the property and will forever change the historic nature of the downtown area. The property certainly needs to be redeveloped, but not to the size and magnitude of what Margaritaville is planning. How is Margaritaville going to support their parking needs since the mayor vetoed Margaritaville’s attempt to provide tandem and stacked parking? I hope the Mayor and City Council members do the right thing and make the Margaritaville developers do what all the other developers up and down Baltimore Avenue have had to do when they developed their properties. It is not fair or just to allow this developer to come into Ocean City and the elected officials of Ocean City rewrite the rules to accommodate this development.
Why can’t Margaritaville build a property per Ocean City’s current rules and laws that support the size of the site?