Jeff Jacobs: Jimmy McGrath’s memory needs to be honored, but after the grieving process

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A tribute is planned to honor the memory of James McGrath is planned during Wednesday’s lacrosse game between Fairfield Prep and Shelton.

A tribute is planned to honor the memory of James McGrath is planned during Wednesday’s lacrosse game between Fairfield Prep and Shelton.

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Emotion has overcome sensibility.

For those too close, grief has overwhelmed logic.

The Shelton lacrosse team should not be playing Fairfield Prep on Wednesday at Shelton High.

A planned tribute during the game for Fairfield Prep junior and Shelton resident James McGrath, stabbed to death during an altercation Saturday night, should not take place yet.

It is too soon.

We know too little.

The pain and suffering for the McGrath family and Jimmy’s closest friends is mighty.

The mental blow to so many young people from a number of nearby high schools is substantial.

This is a tragedy of unimaginable consequence.

What happened also is the result of senseless violence and an apparent homicide.

Shelton police have yet to make public its report and in that vacuum unsubstantiated narratives have emerged. There have been no arrests yet, but there is every indication there will be. And when the arrests happen, it likely will rock our sensibilities and involve multiple high schools and athletes.

It is a time to absorb all what happened and allow our grief to follow the complete truth.

It is a time for reflection. Not a time for games.

It is a time for mourning, not cheering.

More than 1,000 people gathered at a private prayer service for McGrath, a member of the Fairfield Prep football and lacrosse teams, on campus Sunday. It was followed by a schoolwide service Monday morning.

This is right. This is righteous. At his funeral services there will be more time to mourn and reflect.

Yes, there is also a need to return to normalcy. To allow people, especially young people, to return to a safe place, a place they know. And that will arrive in the coming weeks. Not yet. No. Not yet.

The games can wait.

With nothing more than the thinnest of details, we don’t know who initiated the altercation or altercations. We don’t know how many people were involved.

What we know is police arrived on the scene shortly before midnight Saturday to find several teenagers gathered outside the residence and four victims who were stabbed. Four!

One died.

Who are the victims? Where are they from? Should they be part of the tribute as they recover?

Who are the perpetrators? Where are they from? What were the circumstances that brought them to the corner of Laurel Glen Drive and Adams Drive? Or did the altercation break out among the already welcomed?

This is not meant to be cold or insensitive and there is no possible excuse for stabbings. Yet if there was a fight that means two sides were swinging and who is to say who was 100 percent in the right or wrong? Chances are neither were.

Were other boys from the Fairfield Prep and Shelton High lacrosse at the get-together? What was their role, if any, in the altercation? Are there any mixed allegiances with the alleged combatants — possibly from a third school?

This was a crime scene. This was not an accident scene. There could be other charges coming.

It was frantic. It was ugly. And for the kids who apparently took videos and shared them, it will be a wound from their youth that never quite will heal.

Tributes have been pouring in for the 17-year-old McGrath. By all accounts, he was a good young man. What happened to him should happen to no one anywhere.

This altercation took place in a neighborhood of nice homes near the Trumbull border. I’m going to go out on a limb here and predict that most of the kids involved in the altercation will be described as good young men.

The Shelton lacrosse team, according to the Shelton Herald, is purchasing and wearing baby blue shirts — McGrath’s favorite color — and his lacrosse No. 7.

Families have bought more than 100 T-shirts to distribute at the game. One family is donating No. 7 stickers Shelton can wear on their helmets. The game reportedly will also include a special recognition of McGrath.

The McGrath family said on Twitter Wednesday morning it requested the game be played “To honor Jimmy, with his brothers who love the sport. If you love lacrosse and you love Jimmy, Please support a wonderful night of life long friends playing a game they love.”

Still, without all the facts, I worry. We don’t know the facts. We don’t know the truth. We know grief and grief without facts can lead to misplaced emotion. Quickly taking sides, or assigning blame can lead to years of problems between towns and schools.

“This game shows the community coming together to pay tribute to what (McGrath) meant to all of us,” Amy Romano, a member of the Shelton Board of Education and a close friend of the McGrath family, told the Shelton Herald.

And that is a wonderful sentiment.

Just not as soon as Wednesday.; @jeffjacobs123