The gunshots from the roof of a store came more than 10 at once and far faster than the tempo of the band playing “You’re a Grand Old Flag” at the Fourth of July parade on the street below.
A doctor who was on site in Highland Park Monday morning later described the grisly injuries to the six dead and more than a dozen injured as straight out of a war.
This was the kind of bloodbath this small suburb north of Chicago wanted to avoid when it banned assault rifles in 2013.
“The City Council has determined that assault weapons are not traditionally used in self-defense in the City of Highland Park and that such weapons pose an unreasonable risk to public safety,” read the ordinance signed by Mayor Nancy Rotering on June 24, almost a year ago a decade.
Rotering did everything in his power to defend the ban when an IIlinois gun advocacy group joined a local gun collector in seeking legal action. The matter went all the way to the US Supreme Court, which in 2015 was so different from the current one that judges declined to even consider overturning it.
As reported by The New York Times at that time, Judge Clarence Thomas filed a dissent.
“The ordinance criminalizes modern sporting guns (eg, AR-style semi-automatic rifles) that many Americans possess for legitimate purposes such as self-defense, hunting, and target shooting,” wrote Thomas. “According to our precedents, this is all that is required for citizens to have a Second Amendment right to keep such weapons.”
Note that Thomas used gun industry terminology when referring to assault weapons as “modern sporting rifles”. Among other things, it makes the AR-15 sound a lot less like something that should be banned.
Thomas stayed exactly Thomas as the court tipped far to the right. He wrote last month’s majority opinion expanding the right to carry a firearm in public. He argued that demonstrating a special need to attend to strapping “dissuaded law-abiding citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their right to possess and bear arms”.
The Highland Park ban still applies, at least for now. But it offered little protection while so many other jurisdictions made it easy to acquire offensive weapons. Salvador Ramos of Uvalde, Texas, legally purchased two assault rifles — both advertised as “modern sporting rifles” — the day after his 18th birthday and another two days later. He murdered 19 students and two teachers at a local elementary school.
Calls for a ban on assault weapons followed, but the US Senate could come up with nothing more than improved background checks for gun buyers between the ages of 18 and 21. A child too young to drink can still do all the “modern “Sporting goods” buy weapons,” he wants.
It was apparently not a problem for the shooter, who, according to police, climbed onto a roof in Highland Park on Monday morning.
Police have named 22-year-old Robert Crimo as one person interested in the massacre, and his YouTube channel includes a video that includes a drawing of a character armed with a “modern sporting rifle” with a high-capacity magazine aimed at two figures, one stretched out on his back, the other on his knees, arms raised.
A real gunman with a real rifle was waiting as the parade began, led by a police contingent with blue lights flashing and the fire department in an antique motor. They were followed by a marching band singing “You’re a Grand Old Flag.”
In Chicago, a half-hour drive south, 57 people had been shot so far over the holiday weekend, 9 of them fatally. But that must have been worlds away from this affluent, low-crime suburb. Both sides of the Highland Park parade route were lined with people cheering and waving flags. The most American of holidays was celebrated in classic all-American style.
Then the shots came as fast as a finger can pull a trigger, turning a nation’s birthday celebration into another mass murder scene. Strollers stood empty where parents had snatched their children and fled. An abandoned picnic blanket was used to cover one of the dead. A small American flag, such as a child would wave, lay on a piece of sidewalk, the red, white, and blue joining the deeper red of a victim’s blood.
In one of the early briefings, police announced that they had seized a “powerful” rifle. Then the mayor, who had done everything to protect her city from such weapons, spoke.
“At 10:14 this morning, our community was terrorized by an act of violence that shook us to the core,” Rotering said. “On a day when we came together to celebrate community and freedom, we mourn the loss instead. the tragic loss of life and struggle with terror that has been brought upon us.”
She looked like she would be followed immediately, the look of someone who had done their best only to see the very worst happen anyway.
https://www.thedailybeast.com/highland-park-mayor-nancy-rotering-pushed-assault-weapon-ban-years-before-july-4-bloodbath?source=articles&via=rss Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering pushed through the ban on assault weapons years before the Fourth of July bloodbath