The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


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.


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