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July 6, 2007

Rain on our parade


The 4th of July parade in my town, Evanston, Ill., is famous, even infamous. There’s room in the 2-hour march down Central Street for every group in town—from the expected Boy Scouts to the fun-loving oldsters in the kazoo marching band to the spectacular Jessie White Tumblers. Even the librarians get into the act, forming the book-cart drill team. This year the Chicago Miata club favored us with an appearance of dozens of the sporty two-seaters—in red, blue and white (with a few green ones mixed in). This year the weather was perfect, sunny and breeze and temps in the 80s.

There always are local chapters of issues groups, too, such as Right to Life to Amnesty International. Politicians love our parade: That’s where I first saw Barack Obama, the summer before the now-candidate for U.S. president was a U.S. Senate hopeful.

Less impressive, but no less wonderful, are all the school groups. But the cheering changed into utter silence Wednesday as the high school varsity football team came into view, several players holding up a hastily made banner bearing the name of Darryl Shannon Pickett, the letters painted by hand in the school colors of the orange-and-blue. Pickett was killed June 28, shot dead by a handgun. And a fellow student had just been charged with his murder.

The follow-up story in today’s Chicago Tribune storyquotes the half-brother of the accused 17-year-old about the fight that led up to the incident: “It’s just boys doing boys things, and somebody had a gun.”

Were it not for that gun, there would have been one more marcher with the football team.

That got me thinking about who wasn’t in the parade: a group against gun violence. At least I didn’t see any. But just now I checked the Brady Campaign. That’s one place to start for anyone concerned about the tragedy that can come from “just boys doing boys things” when a handgun is handy.

 

Comments

John

John

Posted at 3:36 pm (U.S. Eastern) 7/7/2007

When are we going to hold people accountable for their actions?  You stated that Pickett was shot dead by a handgun and in an after thought stated that a student had been charged with the murder.  Pickett was killed by a person who was armed with a gun.  A person did the murder!  Some people would have us believe that if we passed a law banning all guns that it would solve the problem.  Do we believe that the criminals who ignore a laundry list of laws would then just hand over their guns and all would be well?  If so then maybe we should eradicate our drug problem by passing laws banning illegal drugs.....OH...we already did that, so we must not have a drug problem anymore.  But at least we would prevent good people from defending themselves.  It's about time the church began to teach values according to Schripture again, but we dare not tell little Johnny that something is wrong.  It might hurt his self esteem.  God help us all!!!!

Kathy

Kathy

Posted at 10:14 am (U.S. Eastern) 7/9/2007

It's still not known yet, John,  who the gun belonged to or how the boy charged got it. All that we do know is that the boys were having a fight...a fight that might have ended with a black eye or a bloody lip, were their fists their only weapons. A fight that might have even ended with a reconciliation and new life, instead of death.


John

John

Posted at 1:06 pm (U.S. Eastern) 7/10/2007

Kathy - I just wanted to make the point that it is NOT "gun violence" as much as people killing people.  The gun is just a machine just as an automobile is (and kills many more people). It does not matter who owned the gun or how he obtained the gun.  In all 50 states it is a felony for anyone under 21 years of age to obtain a handgun. ALREADY ILLEGAL!  I have some experience in this as I have been a Philadelphia Police Officer for the past 37+ years, the last 26 years assigned to the homicide division.  I can assure you that criminals will obtain guns.  We can ban all guns and create a "black market" in firearms that will make the criminals a fortune.  All the while only prohibiting law abiding good people from defending their famlies. I can assure you that in almost 100% of the murders the doers would NOT be found in church on Sunday mornings. I don't pretend to have all the answers, if I did I could write my own paycheck.  It's NOT about passing more laws.  It's about loving your neighbor as Christ has loved us!  THATS the message to get out. If that happened maybe the fight would not have started in the first place!  I think that is what the Great Commandment is all about. But that would be politically incorrect to advocate anything along religious lines.  May God help us all!  John (from 7-7-07)

John K.

John K.

Posted at 2:04 pm (U.S. Eastern) 7/10/2007

I am a proud Graduate of ETHS and in my time there yes there were drugs and also a riot that took place on Dodge avenue but no one was killed by any means. I no longer live in Evanston but I do watch the news from home, via both WGN TV Superstation and The Chicago Tribune web site. Over 300 kids lost their lives in violence using guns within the city of Chicago and then we also have this young man from Evanston to add to that litany. This is totally unacceptable. Saying guns don't kill people, people kill people is an excuse. To me this excuse is not acceptable! The Second Amendment guarentees that ordinary citizens can own guns, but it does not prohibit reasonable laws regulating the sale and ownership of guns. The first thing we need to do is if you own a gun you must posess a licence that shows that the owner has passed a safety course and knows how to properly care and keep the gun.

Phil

Phil

Posted at 2:56 pm (U.S. Eastern) 7/10/2007

As a physician and a lawyer, I am appalled at those who come up with excuses why we should not strengthen our gun laws. Most murders occur because someone gets mad at their neighbor, or a couple of teenagers get in a fight over a girl, or "turf" or whatever, or between a husband and wife, or other people who know each other. People get killed because guns are too freely available. Any law that would reduce the number of guns in this society will reduce the number of murders significantly. It is easy to simply walk away from someone with a knife or a baseball bat, but guns harm from a distance. The 17 year old kid from Skokie was not some hardened criminal, but a kid. He got the gun from a parent or grandparent, someone he knew who legally owned the gun. If that gun was not where he could get at it, there would have been no murder. And even hardened criminals get their guns from so-called law-abiding citizens. The idea that these law-abiding citizens are going to get the drop on some burglar is also baloney. What usually happens is that at best another gun is in the hands of criminals and at worst, the so-called law-abiding citizen ends up dead having been shot by his own weapon. We need more and stronger laws that reduce the number of guns in this society!

Kathy

Kathy

Posted at 2:54 pm (U.S. Eastern) 7/13/2007

I'm grateful to all of you for your passion about this issue. Clearly we all care that our children have the opportunity to grow up—safely and with love and instruction from the adults who are responsible for them.

Guns are absolutely not the only issue, John, but in this case and in so many others they come into play in tragic ways.

We'll explore this matter of our responsibility—as parents, as Christians and as a society — to our children in an upcoming issue.

John

John

Posted at 2:11 pm (U.S. Eastern) 7/14/2007

I just can't believe that people think that criminals will obey the "NEW" gun laws we pass.  Why?  Why is it wrong to teach our children that it is wrong to kill?  I don't hear anyone saying anything about correcting morals.

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