In article <rt4ns0$fsf$8...@neodome.net
Social media has once again established their role in mass
shootings by failing to monitor and report anti-social behavior
by mentally ill users.
A year from now, the good people of Highland Park will be
wondering whether to hold a parade.
There will be a school of thought believing the town must get
back to something approaching Independence Day normalcy, if only
for the sake of its children; others will worry that a parade
will trigger the trauma of 2022, when a hidden assailant fired
his assault-style rifle in the direction of grandparents and
kids, community stalwarts and hardworking parents. He killed six
and sent 30 more to hospitals that were expecting nothing more
of the day than a few minor injuries from fireworks.
There will be kids who remember the sounds and the fears and who
won’t want to go next year. Mothers will fear copycats. There
will be public officials determined to not let evil win and
those who won’t want to retraumatize the town.
And these worries won’t be confined to Highland Park. Public
safety officials in neighboring towns will start to worry not
about which new squad car or ambulance to put in the parade — a
time-honored July Fourth concern — but whether there is a
vantage point for a shooter in one of the tall buildings in
communities that have almost no tall buildings, but rather
homes, parks, low-rise apartment buildings and quiet-loving
families, not a few of whom had moved there to escape the
cacophony of the big city of their youth.
This is what, according to authorities, one cowardly young man,
the scion of a well-known and now stained Highland Park family,
wrought with the aid of his high-powered weapon.
Little yet is known of the shooter’s motivation, but Americans
have by now seen enough to know that these disillusioned,
nihilistic killers often want to go for maximum shock value, be
that an elementary school in Texas or a small-town celebration
on an iconic day on the calendar, when people’s guards are down.
The scale of the horror clearly is part of the symbolic weight
of their heinous acts. In an era obsessed with personal
narratives, they want the internet to blow up over what they’ve
done. It feels as if they want the most brutal kind of revenge
for their own inadequacies.
Do we have to live like this?
Once Highland Park has mourned its dead and tended to its
wounded, that’s really the only salient question. Do we?
As we wave at marching bands, are we all supposed to keep
watching our backs and looking for a dumpster as a place where
we might hide our children if shots ring out?
Are security forces going to have to sweep every building as if
the parade were a presidential walkabout, bankrupting the public
safety budget? Is this where we have arrived, together? Do we no
longer believe there is an alternative?
Clearly, easy access to the kind of high-powered weapons that
can kill scores of people has to be drastically curtailed. Only
a fool cannot see this now, given the weight of the evidence. It
takes guts to change position in the face of new proof, but
being optimists, we believe some politicians are capable of that
transformation. We are looking forward to the announcements and
will respect them when they come.
For whatever right some believe an amendment to the Constitution
grants to their purchase is in the process of shredding a yet
more crucial tenet of life in the United States of America, our
shared foundational right to life, liberty and the pursuit of
happiness. Especially on the Fourth of July.
[ In painful, chilling detail, witnesses recount deadly mass
shooting at Highland Park Fourth of July parade ]
In Highland Park, that date brought death, confinement and the
arrival of sorrow. Action is needed, far beyond the baby steps
already taken in Congress.
Then there is the matter of the person behind the gun, of the
likelihood of psychosis, of how a young person can become so
alienated and angry that they do such a thing without anyone
around them being able to anticipate the event in such a way as
to stop it. Some young American men are in profound and often
unspoken crisis; already, there have been media reports of the
shooting suspect headed down the kind of disturbing path of
videos and dark corners of the internet that is now familiar
from so many previous incidents, each one building on the one
that came before.
Thanks to the heroic efforts of the North Shore’s police
departments, the suspect was apprehended alive and without
further incident. His state of mind will need to be studied so
we all can learn. For the only solution here is many-pronged and
requires a level of common-sense unity that this country appears
to have forgotten how to come together and achieve. Instead, we
rage on our laptops, even as the world marvels at this all-
American nightmare (“even on their Independence Day,” the BBC
marveled) and our children wonder what world we have wrought for
For now, though, we all must cry with the people of Highland
Park and note what was likely the saddest July Fourth in the
history of Illinois.
May it also be the start of a new resolve.
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