Highland Park

Highland Park Strong


Ed note: The last section of this post – The Community – was added after the video recording was completed. Scroll down and check it out. It was a most moving ceremony.


Last Wednesday evening, the 6th of July, I attended a vigil. It was just 2 days after the Highland Park massacre. Sitting next to me in the over-crowded sanctuary was a woman who had traveled from West Rogers Park in Chicago to be with her daughter who lives in Highland Park. She had a thick Eastern European accent and fear in her eyes.

She made it clear that she feels the weight of the danger and the evil that assaulted all of us on July 4th and she asked me, “Who will save us?” I thought about her profound question for a few moments and then realized the answer. I told her, “We will.”

That isn’t new or insightful. It’s simply the way it’s always been. The cavalry isn’t going to come over the hill, so we have to save ourselves.

I wrote last Wednesday about what I believe the shooter hoped to accomplish and that topic deserves more attention. It’s reasonable to assume that he saw himself as having been victimized by people in his town. We don’t know who he imagined were his victimizers, but judging by the random nature of his shooting, it didn’t matter to him. He was quite content to shoot anybody in sight. And that makes fine pathological sense, because one of the things we know about victims is that most often they victimize others, often randomly.

He wanted to stop hearts and injure people. He accomplished that. And he wanted to break your heart so that you would suffer pain as payback for whatever grievances he holds so tightly. He accomplished that, too.

And that’s the point upon which everything turns: We have it in our power to heal our hearts and take action and thereby ensure he remains the loser.

I wrote that we must never let the bad guys win and I believe that way deep down inside. The way to make sure the bad guys don’t win is to save ourselves, to hold one another in love and community. And it’s to take action. The way for us to win and make the bad guys lose is to be what the signs and T-shirts say:

Highland Park Strong

just like

Boston Strong

just like

Waukesha Strong

and Uvalde Strong

and Buffalo Strong

and Parkland Strong

and Sandy Hook Strong

and all the rest.

I’m not at a point where I can entertain forgiveness. The hurt is too close and too strong and I’m just not that evolved. But I am definitely committed to being strong in the face of this and every mass horror – strong for myself and others, strong for our community and strong for our country. I will not let the bad guys win.

From Lee Goodman, head of Peaceful Communities, Inc:

We will seek comfort and healing, and we will support one another and our communities.

The one thing we cannot do is give up.

We are in this together. We will stand strong together and we will find safety together, including for that frightened woman from West Rogers Park. We will hold vigils and we will hold hands. And we will find the way to save ourselves from those who would hurt us. Here’s how.

Activist Nancy Kohn makes it clear that our safety will come as a result of electing people who will do the will of We The People – things like enacting laws with teeth to protect us from those who would do us harm. She wrote,

Congressman Eric Swalwell reminds us that the NRA, which he rightly calls an evil terrorist organization, doesn’t cast any votes in Congress. Senators and Representatives cast votes, and they can only do that [cast the right votes] if we elect them. In the end, our votes are the most powerful weapon we can yield. We have taken small, but important steps toward sensible gun safety laws. It’s time to elect people who will do much, much more.
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Click here for a must watch explainer.
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If you want a list of the key Senate races that need your support, contact Nancy. To read her current post and to subscribe to her NKC Occasional Update (highly recommended), click here.
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We will not give up, we will not give in. We will not let the bad guys harden our hearts or continue to use our communities as shooting galleries. And we won’t let them chip away at our country. We will vote and we will encourage others to vote and we’ll support the right candidates so that we come to be represented by people who stand for America, not the gun lobby.

The Community

Just a fraction of the community who came out – for the community

Yesterday, July 9, I attended another vigil, this one in a park in Highland Park. Maybe it was a healing. Maybe it was a grieving. For sure it was a community come together to face truth. Make no mistake, there was a lot of anger over the wrong done to so many people.

Rep.Brad Schneider (D-IL 10) called out the names of the murdered and told a bit about each of them so that we would know and remember that these weren’t statistics. These were real people who lived and loved, who were unjustly killed and who continue to live in the hearts of so many.

Rep. Schneider in the black shirt

The youngest of the injured is an 8-year-old boy, now with a severed spine. This is brutal and cruel and real stuff. So, keep the injured in your heart, too.

And keep in your heart the first responders, the police and fire, the ambulance folks, the county professionals, the Chicago specialists, and the FBI and ATF people. because they were face-to-face with the horrible truth lying in blood on the street and sidewalks. I doubt if any of those folks is sleeping well. Next time you see one of them, thank them for what they did and for what they do every day.

There are so many pieces to this ongoing threat to all of us. Most of these horrific shootings are done by 18 – 21 year olds. I don’t have any idea how to deal with this, but once again I ask, “Where the hell have the killer’s parents been for the past two decades?”

Beyond that we have so much to deal with. This is not a single solution problem. The parts include over 20 million assault weapons in America and that they are easier for an 18-year-old to buy than a pack of cigarettes; the total, undeserved protection from liability of the gun industry; our sieve-like system of background checks; the red flag laws that don’t red flag much of anything; the almost nonexistent requirement for proper firearms training and so much more.

That’s why you’re going to contact your state representative and senator and your congressional representative and senators and demand action. Contact Moms Demand Action and ask what you can do to help.

One more time: We will vote and we will encourage others to vote and we’ll support the right candidates so that we come to be represented by people who stand for America, not the gun lobby.

WE STAND HIGHLAND PARK STRONG!
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Our governance and electoral corruption and dysfunction and our ongoing mass murders are all of a piece, all the same problem with the same solution:
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Fire the bastards!
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The days are dwindling for us to take action. Get up! Do something to make things better.

Did someone forward this to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!)

And add your comments below to help us all to be better informed.

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
  3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
  5. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town vibrant.

JA


Copyright 2022 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

This Is OUR Country


In the aftermath of the shooting at the 4th of July parade in Highland Park, IL the reports are that 7 people are dead and 47 have serious injuries. Please explain to me what an un-serious gunshot injury is. If the hole is in you, believe me, you’ll be certain that it’s serious.

There were more than 80 shots fired in 22 seconds, so while you’re in explaining mode, tell me why private citizens should be allowed to possess weapons capable of such carnage.

Highland Park shooter captured. Click for more.

The local fire & police, the Lake County Major Crimes Task Force, the Chicago Police aerial unit, the staties, the ATF and the FBI were all over this massacre almost instantly. They sifted through eyewitness reports, surveillance videos, every tip and every bit of information they could find and they got the 21-year-old bad guy in about 7 hours. Massive kudos to all of these professionals. My frightened family and neighbors all over the area very much appreciate the massive, instantaneous response of these dedicated folks.

We don’t know the motivation of the shooter yet. We can reasonably guess that he is angry. And we can reasonably guess that he believes he’s been victimized and thinks that lashing out at those he hates is justified. He wants to disrupt our lives, to punish us for whatever it is that he thinks is wrong. He wants to take from us our sense of safety and our trust in one another. He wants to take away our country and replace it with some macho, wild west cartoon. How else to explain his killing innocents on the 4th of July?

This shooting, while horrid, is not surprising. We are a country that quickly goes to violence when we feel wronged. Think: 9/11.

John Lewis had a lifetime of working for Americans and America and he refused to succumb to hatred for those who attacked him. He was a force for good in a world that wished him anything but. When terrible things were done by Americans to Americans he would rail, “This is not who we are. We’re better than this.”

As much as I honor and appreciate John Lewis, I disagree.

The January 6 insurrectionists and seditionists were absolutely certain that they were true patriots. They believed they had been wronged and were carrying the spirit of 1776 in their veins. They hysterically shouted The Lord’s Prayer in the Senate Chamber, letting the world know that they were certain that their Christian God was on their side as they did their violence, intending to kill yet more Americans.

Click for the Onion story

They came with spears and brass knuckles, AR-15s and Glocks, body armor and sharpened flagpoles and inspiration and intel from the Oval Office itself. There was little difference between them and Bull Connor, the Selma police and the Alabama National Guard, the people who proudly cracked open John Lewis’ head.

Something like 30% of the citizens of this country think violence like that of the insurrectionists is justified. So, it should come as no surprise that our extreme haters do things like hunkering down on a roof in a suburban  town, snuggling with a high power rifle and shooting people in a 4th of July parade.

THIS IS EXACTLY WHO WE ARE.

With all of our mass murders, so many of us are feeling hopeless, frustrated, furious and even ashamed  of our country. That’s understandable. We may feel like quitting and succumbing to distrusting others, but that lets the bad guys win. That lets the bad guys claim to have made more Americans give up and drop out. That hurts all of us.

That’s why we must not allow distrust of one another to creep into our lives. We must not let any bad guy take away our courage and our sense of patriotism. We must not let bad guys divide us into hate camps.

WE MUST NEVER LET THE BAD GUYS WIN

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Our violence dates back to before we were a nation, so I have no illusion that we can make that go away any time soon. What must happen instead is to overpower the violence junkies and the haters – not with guns and brass knuckles, but with votes. Last election 110 million people didn’t vote. Never again.

Do not give up.

Do not give in.

Do not let that Highland Park son of a bitch or any other bad guy win.

This is OUR country.

Final Comment

The Highland Park shooter lived 20 minutes from my house. His killing spree happened 12 minutes from my house. And there’s more.

Trump rally, Northbrook, IL – 2020. The Highland Park shooter is in the Where’s Waldo striped shirt. Yet another angry teen preparing for violence.*

In 2020 there was a Trump rally in my town. They came from as far away as the Carolinas in oversized pickup trucks with oversized engines and oversize tires and oversized American and Trump flags. I was unable to not think the words “over-compensating” and “temper tantrums.” They circled through town over and over, honking horns, blocking traffic, being disruptive and eliciting cheers from the Trumpies on the sidewalk.

I had organized a counter protest across the street from the Trumpies. My family was there. What I learned today is that the Highland Park shooter was at that rally, too, across the street from us, spewing hate (see the pic above). Very freaky.

Our national bullying and mobocracy shootings are personal whether they’re in Uvalde or Buffalo or in Chicago’s affluent, very low crime rate North Shore. If you’re a person, this is personal.

From Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s address to Harrow School on October 29, 1941:

“Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty–never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”

This is OUR country.
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Never, never, never, never give in.
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*  Many thanks to super-sleuth Maureen McCabe Nowak for the pic of the shooter at the Trump rally and for the Twitter link.

————————————

Our governance and electoral corruption and dysfunction and our ongoing mass murders are all of a piece, all the same problem with the same solution:
.
Fire the bastards!
.
The days are dwindling for us to take action. Get up! Do something to make things better.

Did someone forward this to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!)

And add your comments below to help us all to be better informed.

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. There are lots of smart, well-informed people. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t. Search for others’ views and decide for yourself.
  3. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  4. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
  5. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town vibrant.

JA


Copyright 2022 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

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