Oak Creek Mayor Steve Scaffidi has come up with a book ‘Six Minutes in August: A Story of Tragedy, Healing and Community’ based on the aftermath of the August 5, 2012 shootings at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin, which is now available on Amazon.
Scaffidi, who had joined the job only for four months then, was engaged in on-the-fly crisis management along with the long process of healing a shattered community at that time. He had written the first few chapters as therapy as he was deeply affected by the incident and later the project expanded.
The book is dedicated to the six Sikh worshippers who were killed at Wisconsin Sikh temple on August 5, 2012. It details the violent events that erupted and 6 crucial minutes, from the arrival of Oak Creek Police Lt. Brian Murphy, who took on and was badly wounded by the gunman, a white supremacist named Wade Michael Page, to the final moments. Officer Sam Lenda wounded Page, who then committed suicide by shooting himself in the head.
The book also accounts personal stories of those affected by the tragedy and of a community coming together, people reaching out to neighbors most had never met. Scaffidi also writes about attending a U.S. Conference of Mayors and forming a bond with mayors from four other cities that endured similar tragedies.
He writes that on the night of the violence in the city, he had received two important phone calls, one from President Barack Obama, who was calm and reassuring, and the other from Steve Hogan, the mayor of Aurora. Only two weeks earlier, that city had endured a mass shooting inside a movie theater that left 12 people dead and 70 injured.
Scaffidi writes of the need for communities to have emergency preparedness plans in place, not just for first responders, but also for those who will be communicating with the public. He said local governments should also have a presence on social media so that information can be spread quickly.
“As I sat there that day and listened to the questions and the calm that was displayed in spite of the extreme brutality that was enacted upon them just hours earlier, it was hard not to want to follow that lead,” he writes.
In the days and months after the tragedy, Scaffidi and others formed bonds with Sikh temple members.
In 2014, a documentary “Waking in Oak Creek” was also made which was appreciated by Scaffidi who had said that the film brings the emotions flooding back.