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Highland Park shooting, 2 others reminders of need for stricter gun laws, federal and state

Rabbi Gordon: “America must wake up and end this evil”

With three mass shootings happening on the Fourth of July including the killing of six people and wounding of 24 others in the Highland Park, 5 at the Parkway Gardens in Chicago and 4 in Kansas, Missouri should be a wakeup call to end the pandemic of gun violence and “the evil” and carnage it is causing innocent people including children and the elderly, black and Jewish leaders said Monday.

On the 246th birthday of America’s celebration of its independence so far there have been three mass shootings, Kansas, Missouri, 2 people were shot in separate shootings and 4 wounded, Highland Park, 6 killed, 24 wounded, and Chicago with the shooting of five men including a 17-year-old at the Parkway Gardens, 65th and King Drive bringing the total of those shot over the holiday in Chicago so far to 51, according to police.

The shootings should be a “wake up call” to America that it is time for stricter gun laws, according to Bishop Tavis Grant, national field director for the Rainbow PUSH Coalition. It’s also a time to remove the “evil” in this system that allows a steady flow of guns, Rabbi Simon Gordon said, and a need for prayer called for by Rev. Paul Jakes.

BISHOP TAVIS GRANT THIS PHOTO
Bishop Tavis Grant

The shocker of these July 4th mass shootings happened Monday morning in Highland Park, a wealthy community during the July 4th parade allegedly by a white man between the ages of 18 and 20 with black, long hair who fired a high-capacity rifle from a rooftop.

The Highland Park mass shooting left Bishop Grant, Rabbi Gordon, who is on sabbatical from Congregation Sukkat Shalom, and Rev. Jakes, pastor of the New Tabernacle of Faith Baptist Church, stunned and angry that once again innocent people are the victims of easy access to guns.

“This shooting demonstrates what we must have strict laws banning access to guns and automatic weapons. These cases become more horrendous in that the perpetrators are given license and landscape to continue this carnage of violence in areas that once were believed to be immune if not out of the range of these kinds of violent acts,” Bishop Grant stated.

Bishop Grant called for stricter laws banning access to guns both state and federal and the rendering appropriate sentences “for persons who engage in these kinds of acts where vulnerable seniors and children are at risk who become victims of this degree of violence.”

“We hope this will serve as another reminder that we will either learn to live together or die apart,” Bishop Grant said.

RABBI SAMUEL N. GORDON
Rabbi Samuel N. Gordon

Rabbi Gordon told the Chicago Crusader, “This is a great tragedy for the community of Highland Park and the Chicago area and our nation. Our nation has been ripped apart through senseless acts of violence on a day when we should be celebrating a national unity of independence and freedom.

“We are not free from violence. We are not free from hatred, and we are not free from the scourge of the pandemic of gun violence and death. We can only hope that America will wake up to this evil in our system that must end,” said Rabbi Gordon.

Rev. Paul Jakes was equally upset telling the Chicago Crusader, “It’s a very sad day on this 4th of July to know that in Highland Park during a parade there have been several killed and injured due to a shooter who on this day caused a lot of dread, fear, anxiety, anger and grief to many who are devastated because of the shooting.

“I believe it is now time for many of us who are faith leaders to take time and pray and to call on God as a community to be with these families who are grieving at this time,” said Jakes.

Officials from nearby Evanston and Deerfield canceled their Fourth of July events due to the Highland Park mass shooting.

Highland Park Police Cmdr. Chris O’Neill told the media a rifle had been located and that a massive search for the shooter is underway. He described the shooter as being white, between the ages of 18 and 20, with long black hair.

PAUL JAKES
Rev. Paul Jakes

Police called on residents to “shelter in place” during the search for “an active shooter incident.” Deputy Chief Christopher Covelli told reporters, “It does appear that he was shooting from a roof.” Police have cordoned off Highland Park in hopes of capturing the shooter.

Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering said, “Our community has been terrorized by an act of violence that’s shaken us to our core.” Both Illinois State Police and the Lake County Sheriff’s office responded to the shooting, according to their Twitter posts.

 

 

 

 

Leaders release statements on Highland Park shooting

Statement by Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. on Highland Park Shooting

 

Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. and the Rainbow PUSH Coalition extend our condolences to the families of those who lost their lives and were injured in yesterday’s deadly mass shooting during the Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Illinois.

We are also praying for the suburban City of Highland Park and all who have been affected by this horrific tragedy, of all religions, races, ethnicities, and cultures.

Our earnest prayers are for comfort and healing for the families and the Highland Park community.

Especially in times like these, we must turn toward each other and not on one another. We are all in this together and stand with the people of Highland Park as we continue the fight against deadly gun violence and domestic terrorism in communities across the country.

There must be a Rainbow Coalition of resistance to the access to military grade weapons and a renewed demand for an assault weapon ban in America. We must not allow this heinous act to break our collective will and spirit. We must keep hope alive!

Gov. Pritzker Addresses Mass Shooting in Highland Park
   

Good afternoon. I want to begin by honoring the heroic actions of law enforcement who ran toward the gunshots they heard today. In particular, lives were saved because the Highland Park Police courageously protected and served their community.

I also want to thank our Illinois State Police who have been coordinating on the ground since this morning with Highland Park PD, neighboring police forces, the County Task force, FBI and ATF. Our troopers will continue the investigation and search until the job is done.

To the residents of Highland Park and surrounding communities: This murderer will be brought to justice. But until that happens, please follow instructions from local authorities on how best to keep you and your family safe. And please know that every resource at the state’s disposal will be available to you in the days and weeks ahead as you recover from this horrific tragedy.

A little while ago, I spoke with President Biden who pledged all support the White House can provide. The President agrees with me: This madness must stop.

This morning a gunman opened fire on a July Fourth parade in Highland Park, taking 6 innocent lives, leaving 24 people in the hospital, traumatizing countless children and families, and shattering the peace of this community.

The families of 6 individuals woke up today to join a community celebration of our nation’s independence. They will go to bed tonight less than whole.

There are no words for the kind of evil that shows up at a public celebration of freedom, hides on a roof and shoots innocent people with an assault rifle. There are no words I can offer to lessen the pain of those families who will no longer associate the 4th of July with celebration, but instead with grief. Please know that our state grieves with you, that MK and I and our family grieve with you.

It is devastating that a celebration of America was ripped apart by our uniquely American plague. A day dedicated to freedom has put into stark relief the one freedom we as a nation refuse to uphold – the freedom of our fellow citizens to live without the daily fear of gun violence.

You know what I love about the 4th of July?  We celebrate the founding of this wonderful nation by gathering with family and friends, and enjoying parades and fireworks.  Our cameras on days like this are filled with messy faces and reckless smiles and pretty sunsets – an effort to bottle up that unique feeling of sun-filled joy.

That’s what evil took from us today.  That’s what gun violence robs us of — no matter the neighborhood or city it erupts in.

If you are angry today, I’m here to tell you to be angry.  I’m furious.  I’m furious that yet more innocent lives were taken by gun violence. I’m furious that their loved ones are forever broken by what took place today.  I’m furious that children and their families have been traumatized. I’m furious that this is happening in communities all across Illinois and America. I’m furious because it does not have to be this way and yet we as a nation, well, we continue to allow this to happen. While we celebrate the 4th of July just once a year, mass shootings have become our weekly – yes, weekly – American tradition.

There are going to be people who say that today is not the day, that now is not the time, to talk about guns.  I’m telling you there is no better day and no better time than right here and right now.

It’s the 4th of July – a day for reflection on our freedoms. Our founders carried muskets, not assault weapons.  And I don’t think a single one of them would have said you have a constitutional right to an assault weapon with a high capacity magazine — or that that is more important than the right of the people who attended this parade today to live.

So yes, I’m angry.  We as a nation deserve better.

May the memory of those we lost today be a blessing – and a call to action.

Kelly Statement on Mass Shooting in Highland Park 

 

Following the mass shooting at an Independence Day parade in Highland Park, Ill., state Rep. Michael Kelly, D-Chicago, issued this statement:

“Yesterday’s unspeakable tragedy in Highland Park yet again highlights the ongoing crisis of gun violence sweeping our country. I am saddened by the terrible impact I know that this is having on the families there, and the community as a whole. As a first responder, I know from experience about the hard work and preparation that goes into a response like what we saw yesterday from local officers along with their state and federal partners. Our communities are safer because of the dedicated people whose full time job it is to foresee the unforeseeable and to respond. That said, however, our goal must be more than response. We must set the bar higher—tragedies like this are, and should be regarded as, preventable. Unlike those whose first priority is political expediency—who would have us “move on” before the victims’ blood has dried and before the suspect is even in custody—I stand with those of my colleagues who believe in taking action rather than grandstanding. We have not been idle, but we must do more to protect our communities and to prevent another such calamity.” 

ATTORNEY GENERAL RAOUL ISSUES STATEMENT ON HIGHLAND PARK PARADE SHOOTING

 

Attorney General Kwame Raoul today issued a statement on the mass shooting that occurred at an Independence Day parade in Highland Park, Illinois.

“Our country is once again rocked by another devastating mass shooting, this time at what should have been a joyous event. My heart is broken for the families and community that came together today in Highland Park to celebrate the birth of our nation. I am praying for those who lost loved ones today and for the survivors who experienced unimaginable trauma.

“Statements like these are becoming too frequent, which is why I remain committed to working with our law enforcement partners to prevent the mass tragedies that have devastated too many families. I will continue to collaborate with federal law enforcement, such as the U.S. Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center to ensure that community and faith leaders have access to training that can help prevent these horrific mass casualty events.

“I would like to thank the members of law enforcement and the first responders who ran selflessly toward the danger today. Investigators from my office continue to be on the scene assisting local, state and federal law enforcement. My office will also offer services to the families of those who were killed and to the survivors of this horrific incident. While a person of interest has been apprehended as a result of the collaborative work of law enforcement, it is critical that anyone with information that could help this ongoing investigation to report it immediately by calling 1-800–CALL FBI.”

Statement of Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, on the July 4 mass shooting in Highland Park

“I have been watching the news in horror as at least 6 are dead and many more were wounded after a gunman opened fire as families attended an Independence Day parade in Highland Park. What should have been a peaceful celebration of our nation’s founding ended in unspeakable tragedy.

Please join me in praying for the victims and their loved ones, who never imagined a July 4 celebration could become a killing ground. Pray too for the safety of first responders as they pursue the person responsible for this tragedy. They bravely rushed into the danger to treat victims and to protect others from harm. 

The parade reportedly had a heavy presence of police and fire vehicles, yet this shooter was able to wound at least two dozen people before he stopped, or was stopped, and fled. Victims ranged in age from 8 to 85. Weapons designed to rapidly destroy human bodies have no place in civil society. 

It is barely July, and this year the United States is already experiencing more than one mass shooting a day. Chicago Police reported at least 55 shot and 7 killed since Friday, and the holiday weekend is not yet over. Gun violence is now the leading cause of death for U.S. children. 

Whatever one makes of the right to bear arms, there is plenty of room for prudential judgment in interpreting the Second Amendment so as to enact serious, broadly popular gun-safety measures. The Senate finally passed a significant, yet modest, gun-safety bill last month. But clearly more must be done.  

The right to bear arms does not eclipse the right to life, or the right of all Americans to go about their lives free of the fear that they might be shredded by bullets at any moment. Gun violence is a life issue. We must continue to pray that all our officials, elected and unelected alike, will redouble their commitment to keeping safe the people they have sworn to serve.

Pope Francis wrote to the people of Chicagoland in 2016: “As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, humanity ‘must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.’ I urge all people, especially young men and women, to respond to Dr. King’s prophetic words and know that a culture of nonviolence is not an unattainable dream, but a path that has produced decisive results.”

‘May the Lord of mercy embrace in love those who have died, bring healing to the wounded, comfort to their loved ones, and courage to all of us, so that we may respond to this tragedy united as God’s children to build a path to safety and peace.”

Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County Iris Y. Martinez Condemns the Senseless Shootings in Highland Park 

“My heart bleeds today for the families who lost loves and seriously injured many in today’s senseless shooting at Highland Park’s 4th of July Parade, says Clerk Martinez.   The 4th of July is supposed to be a joyous day of celebration remembering those lost for our freedom. Now the nation is looking upon our state due to these random tragedies.   “How safe are we, when we cannot no longer celebrate our freedom and be imprisoned in our homes”, says Martinez

Harmon response to Highland Park parade shooting

Senate President Don Harmon issued the following statement after a gunman opened fire at a Highland Park Fourth of July parade, killing six and injuring dozens:

“It is particularly heart-wrenching to imagine a celebration of America’s freedom cut short by a deadly rampage.  My heart aches for the people who gathered in Highland Park today with every expectation of celebrating a peaceful holiday with friends, family and neighbors. This horrifying attack is a reminder that gun violence is not confined to a specific region or location. It touches us all. I offer my deepest condolences and sincerest prayers for the Highland Park community today, and I vow to continue to build on the progress we have made in the State Senate to combat gun violence.”

 

G-PAC Responds to Highland Park Mass Shooting, Calling on General Assembly to Take Immediate Action

 

The Gun Violence Prevention PAC released the following statement in response to a mass shooting at the Highland Park Fourth of July Parade which, based on most recent reports, has taken six innocent lives and injured 26 others.

 

“Today as Highland Park residents and other community members gathered to celebrate our nation’s birthday, they were victimized by another instance of our nation’s gun violence epidemic,” said Kathleen Sances, President and CEO of the Gun Violence Prevention PAC. “Our community of gun violence survivors is standing with the residents of Highland Park as they take cover from an active shooter at their Fourth of July parade. Illinois children, families and communities deserve to live free from gun violence, especially as they join together for a celebratory community event. G-PAC recognizes the role of public policy in ending mass shootings and addressing everyday gun violence and urges the Illinois legislature to take up gun safety legislation in the special session next week. Specifically, we call upon them to act quickly to regulate weapons of war that make mass shootings like today’s in Highland Park more deadly, including registration of assault rifles and semi-automatic handguns as well as limiting high capacity ammunition magazines.

“When is ‘enough’ enough? Today is supposed to be a day filled with families, friends, barbeques, love and honor – but now it is just another day on a list of many where we have to mourn and ask why these incidents continue to happen in America when we know there are solutions that can save lives. My heart breaks for the families impacted by this tragedy and with the families across Illinois where gun violence is an everyday occurrence. 

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