Lives lost in Highland Park shooting leave community, country shaken by grief and grief

Those who lost their lives were executed in front of their relatives.

Some of the injured share the same last name.

A boy – protected from bullets by his father’s body – was not even aware of the horror inflicted on him, too young to understand that both of his parents are now gone forever.

“Mom and dad are coming soon,” Aiden McCarthy, 2½, surmised after Robert Crimo III allegedly fired more than 80 rounds into the crowd during the July 4 parade in Highland Park last week.

Unfortunately, it will only be a matter of time before Aiden realizes that Kevin and Irina McCarthy – his mom and dad – will never come back to give him a bear hug, put him to bed and watch him. growing up.

Much of Aiden’s short life took place during the height of the pandemic, an unprecedented time when everyone around the world sheltered in place with limited human interaction outside the home. . His parents were probably his world and he theirs.

Aiden was just beginning to taste the normalcy he had never experienced with his parents by his side when they were ruthlessly sucked into the routine gun violence that has come to define America.

This shouldn’t be reality inflicted on a toddler. But in our country, this unfortunate scenario has become commonplace, regardless of the zip code.

Republican lawmakers often decry fatherlessness and collapsing “family values,” but they balk at the idea of ​​passing sensible gun regulations. These misguided leaders need to be reminded that with every shooting, someone’s family is demoralized or destroyed.

Take the case of educator Keely Roberts, who was injured in Monday’s shooting with her 8-year-old twin sons. Luke Roberts was treated for shrapnel wounds to his leg. Her brother, Cooper, remains hospitalized with a severed spine. He is believed to be paralyzed from the waist down.

Even though Crimo made violent threats against his family in the fall of 2019, he was able to get a gun owner’s identification card (FOID) a few months later after his father gave him consent. of an adult needed to get one, according to the Sun-Times.

It was therefore with the help of his father, according to authorities, that Crimo secured the Smith & Wesson M&P15 semi-automatic rifle which was used to shoot the father, mother, grandparents or model of someone else on the 4th of July.

“The gun lobby and the American cultural cult of guns is lethal,” Tobias Straus, grandson of 88-year-old victim Stephen Straus, told CNN. “It kills grandfathers.”

Stephen Straus, full-time financial adviser to investment firm Stifel, was an avid biker who loved the outdoors, the Art Institute and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, his family said.

The old man had “a lot of life in him,” Tobias Straus, 20, told CNN.

There is no doubt that the McCarthys, who were in their thirties, and the four other victims who died while trying to escape the gunfire did the same.

Preschoolers and members of North Shore Congregation Israel no longer have Jacqueline Sundheim, 63, to help them tie their shoes or organize bar and bat mitzvahs.

Nicolas Toledo Zaragoza’s family persuaded him to attend Monday’s parade because they didn’t want to leave the septuagenarian home alone. Gone are the days of trying to persuade the Morelos in Mexico to live with them permanently in Highland Park.

Like Aiden’s father, Eduardo Uvaldo’s son-in-law tried to protect the 69-year-old from Waukegan. But Uvaldo had been hit. He died at Evanston Hospital on Wednesday, leaving behind a family united with him in the parade two days earlier. Maria Uvaldo, his wife of 50 years, was one of three dozen injured, left to pick up the pieces with her children and grandchildren.

When Cassie Goldstein saw her mother collapse that morning in the northern suburbs, she knew she was dead.

But Goldstein had to keep running to escape the same fate.

“I just told him I loved him, but I couldn’t stop because he kept shooting everyone next to me,” the 22-year-old Goldstein said in an interview with NBC. Nightly News.

Minutes before, Katherine Goldstein, 64, enthusiastically saluted each float.

She was “the best mom in the world,” Cassie Goldstein said.

As Aiden awaits the return of his parents, the family and friends of the other deceased victims of the Highland Park Massacre are acutely aware that someone dear to them was shot on America’s birthday.

It’s unclear what motivated the 21-year-old alleged shooter to relentlessly pull the trigger on Independence Day. But when Crimo decided to fire on that rooftop mercilessly, as the police said, he fractured a community, breaking the hearts of so many who just wanted to celebrate the country’s strengths only to end up engulfed in its ugliness.

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About Roy B. Westling

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