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HomeOpinionColumnHighland Park didn’t look anything like a shooting gallery the day before

Highland Park didn’t look anything like a shooting gallery the day before

By: Keith Kappes
Carter County Times

We were about 10 hours into our vacation trip to Northern Wisconsin and Michigan as we passed through the Chicago suburb of Highland Park.

It was July 3, and we were leading four carloads of family members on what we had hoped would be a happy and healing outing in the aftermath of the death of the world’s best wife, mother, grandmother, sister and daughter.

The busy but peaceful community was preparing for its annual Fourth of July Parade the next day, as were hundreds, perhaps thousands, of other communities in the U. S.

But a heavily-armed gunman with a personal arsenal of weapons, including two assault rifles, all apparently acquired legally and with the consent of his father, had other ideas about celebrating America’s birthday.

Perched on an office building roof overlooking the parade route, the obviously crazed shooter methodically fired 70 rounds of high velocity bullets into the crowd below. 

At last count, seven persons were killed and at least 45 others wounded, some with horrific wounds that maimed their bodies. The carnage was no surprise because assault rifles and their ammunition are designed for maximum efficiency in killing human beings.

The entire world now is aware of the two-year-old boy whose parents died in the slaughter. Witnesses said his father died while trying to shield the toddler with his own riddled body.

Like many of you, I struggle to keep myself from growing numb to the epidemic of mass shootings. 

However, as a father and grandfather, I am outraged that an adult, much less a father, would help someone with a history of mental health issues become a gun owner.

The so-called “red flag” laws won’t help anyone avoid gun violence if all of us don’t follow the advice of “if you see something, say something”. 

The 21-year-old now charged with seven counts of murder has a history of anti-social behavior going back to his middle school days.

In my opinion, the father who vouched for him to buy those frightful weapons also should face criminal charges.

Keith Kappes can be reached at keithkappes@gmail.com

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