How can this be happening in this quiet, mostly all-white, well-educated community of about 30,000, with a median income currently about $175,000. It is a pleasant, friendly suburban town, a great place to live and work, with tree-lined streets and lakefront estates. Highland Park has experienced only two murders in two decades. My home was in Deerfield, “the next town over” from Lake Michigan.
On the Fourth, my sons, who lived there in their teens, called, very upset aboutwhat happened in the area they knew so well. How could it happen? Why?
But it did happen because one young man, who lived there, got absorbed in several social media sites focusing on guns, previous massacres, etc. He evidently decided to join their ranks and rant – he also posted several alarming messages on his blogs. He bought two rifles, legally, went downtown, climbed up a fire escape ladder on a building, and rifle in hand, shot 70 rounds of continuous bullets into the crowd on the street, killing seven and causing 30 to be taken to nearby hospitals, while 40 others had less serious injuries.
Is this just another demented young man that we can soon forget about? So far, we’ve had several such men fire with assault weapons into a crowd of people. We’ve had more than 309 mass shootings in the U.S. so far this year. Killing people with high-powered rifles and AR 15s has become the new thing to do – and is having a contagious effect on others.
I am scared about these continuing massacres. It now feels that a gun massacre could happen to any one of us, any day, anywhere. What is this country coming to? No other western country is experiencing such killings. No other country has more guns than people within its borders. I feel almost desperate that we have become a gun-toting nation, and that is just fine with many. How can it be? How can killing innocent people on the streets possibly be okay?
The solution, is not, as Sen. Mitch McConnell said Tuesday, to provide more mental health facilities. The solution is to get rid of rapid-fire military-style guns in our country – totally.
This is not a Second Amendment issue, which talked about the militia and muskets. This is not about sport shooting. This is about 70 rounds of cartridges in one gun that can obliterate the faces and bodies of individuals.
The partial solution is to have all of us who are fearful come together and insist Congress take action --do something! --way beyond that gesture of a gun control bill adopted the other day.
But I now have a glimmer of hope. Why? Because the massacre happened in a white, fairly wealthy town – unlike Buffalo or Uvalde. I’ve heard many GOP senators, who come from communities like Highland Park, often imply that some cities are just safer – like white suburbs.
Are they? Ask Highland Parkers.
Many Republicans must realize we have a giant gun problem in America. People in these white suburbs are now scared. New Yorkers are frightened that concealed guns can be legally carried outside on their streets. Deep inside, I think Palo Altans are scared.
Soon, Congress is going to take a summer break when they will hear from their fearful constituents. Will they listen to what their constituents are saying? If so, can we finally crack down on military-type weapons? Can we get Congress to pass laws forbidding the sale of any rapid-fired military weapon?
We must restore the American values we once lived by not so long ago. Do you think we can do it?