As I’m writing this, news is coming out of the Midwest of yet another mass shooting. This one happened in Highland Park, Ill., leaving six people dead and about 20 injured as of this posting. Once again, the shooter is a white male in his early 20s. Once again, it happened at a public event where a lot of people gathered to have a great day. It happened on July 4 at a parade.
The town of Highland Park which was used for filming in a lot of movies such as Sixteen Candles, Risky Business and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is added to the long list of towns in America where a mass shooting occurred. And the irony of it happening on Independence Day can’t be lost on many people.
We’re not a free country by any means. I would love to live in a country where people don’t have to worry about going to see some community event, or school, or church or to see a movie without being gunned down. What happened today has been happening for years. We don’t want to admit it but we’re dealing with secretarian violence in this country every time someone goes on a spree killing. This kind of thing happened in Northern Ireland during the latter half of the 20th Century. It was called The Troubles.
And a similar event started in America around the mid to late 2000s. The problem in this country is we’ve always been divided. But the pendulum is swinging to the other side. About 80-90 years ago, it was almost common for people in the south (or any part of America) to be associated with the Ku Klux Klan directly or indirectly Lynchings were considered community events until the Civil Rights Era called into all that was going on.
People’s feelings changed. Following integration, the Vietnam War and the counterculture movement, the tides were swifting. Southern Democrats who wanted things to stay segregated switched to the Republican Party as it appeared Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan wanted to go after black people by changing laws that made it less sinister to the general public. And considering that Republicans saw the advantage of the New Deal, some switched over to the Democrat Party.
It was years in the making, decades really. If you were white and from an affluent town or neighborhood, you were mostly Republican. So you remained in your tight-knit community among your own people. But Democrats seemed to branch out. People said they were Reagan Republicans or turned Republican after 9/11, but it was really because they wanted to show their bigotry and hatred more. And they didn’t have to worry about being associated with the Klan or skinheads.
By the election of Barack Obama, Baby Boomers who had their formative years through the best economic period in America were in their 50s and 60s and they didn’t want a black man in the White House. They were convinced their jobs were going to BIPOC because of Affirmative Action, even though white women have benefited the most off of it. They blamed undocumented workers for stealing their manufacturing and factory jobs not the rich owners wanting to save a buck at every corner.
The TEA Party rose claiming they didn’t want more taxes, even though Reagan raised them many times. It was a cover. They were racist and bigots. There were angry middle-aged white men with mustaches who were being told “No” for the first time in their lives. They were angry, old women who had believed the stereotype that anyone who was black or brown was a rapist or a killer.
And then all the spree shootings started as the NRA and Fox News convinced conservatives Obama and Hillary Clinton were going to take their guns and steal their jobs. The violence we’ve witnessed for the past 15 years is only going to escalate and get worse. Neither the slaughter of young children at Sandy Hook in Newtown, Conn. nor Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas have convinced people that enough is enough. I unfriended someone on Facebook who always looked pissed in his profile pics like one of those TEA Partiers because Obama may have said “Newton” instead of “Newtown” and he was more upset about that. And for anyone in the fucking South to criticize how anyone else talks is pitiful.
But it’s going to get worse. The suspect in custody is Robert Crimo III. He is a rapper and his father ran for mayor of Highland Park. People like myself were always taught the druggies and dark-skinned people were dangerous when we’re younger. But what I’ve witnessed is young white men are typically the shooters. I’ve known the real bullies in schools are the preppies and the jocks, not the kids who listen to The Sex Pistols.
In a society in which women no longer need a husband’s approval to get a credit card or don’t want to have kids, men are finding themselves useless. The old tactics don’t work anymore. You can use “weaponized incompetence” to show how cute it is that you can’t dress your own toddlers correctly. Women don’t need a man. They don’t want a man. And that makes men very angry.
Maybe it’s because I’ve come to the realization that a woman working in the service industry is just being nice to me because that’s the way she is or she wants a bigger tip that I’ve realized she doesn’t want to have my babies. If someone asks you how you are, tell them. If they don’t inquire further, they’re just making chitchat. They don’t want to know your whole story.
But people can’t understand this. You take a woman smiling at you as a reason to ask her out. And when she doesn’t, you feel that she has a problem. No, she just doesn’t want to go out. There’s no ifs ands or buts about it. Accept it and move on. You’ll both be better.
Now, I’m not saying Crimo was an InCel but that has popped up in previous cases. As the Troubles was seen as a fight between Irish Catholics and Prostestants, it was a smoke screen for deeper rooted issues. We have deeper rooted issued in this country. And the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection coup attempt was one of them.
We have police brutality in this country that is out of control. Why was Crimo taken into custody without incident when Jaylan Walker was shot 60 times for a traffic violation in Akron, Ohio. In Floyd County, Ky., Lance Storz was taken into custody after suspected of fatally shooting three law officer and injuring four more people. Two years ago, George Floyd was killed on suspicion of passing a counterfeit $10 bill in Minneapolis.
And I don’t need to remind people what happened afterwards. Donald Trump did a stupid photo op in front of a church in Washington, D.C. while protestors were being hit with tear gas. They were non-violently protesting. Other events in 2020 where people were non-violently protesting were met with violence. Remember that little shit Kyle Rittenhouse?
On a day like today, we don’t have much to celebrate especially since murders will increase now that pregnant women can’t get abortions. They’ll die at their hands of their husbands and boyfriends. Don’t think it will happen? Ask Laci Peterson. Oh, yeah, that’s right, her husband, Scott, killed her and the baby inside her.
The only thing I feel worth celebrating this July 4 and those in the future is knowing this could be the point where we’re making it better than before. Sadly, people in Highland Park probably will never have a July 4 parade again. Or at least, they won’t for another while. I had a former student media colleague whose family lives in Highland Park. Thankfully, they weren’t at the event, but so many other people were. You shouldn’t have a connection to an violent incident just to feel something should be done about it.
If we’re really going to celebrate Independence Day, we really need to stop lying to ourselves. We need to move away from the simple solutons that are only temporary and don’t fix a problem. Unfortunately, I feel it’ll take another 10-15 years to accomplish. Like the Troubles, they had to go through a whole generation or so before people just got tired of it all. Step one would be voting out everyone who has been in office for too long to care anymore about the future. And I’m talking about people on both sides.
What do you think? Please comment.