“The Glorious 4th of July Dies”


Coronado is a small city across San Diego Bay from the 1.3 million-person San Diego, CA. Most of the “island — (it is not an island, it is a peninsula attached to the mainland 10 miles south) is the North Island Naval Air Station with huge docksides for American nuclear aircraft carriers and thousands of working people who refurbish many of the U.S. Navy’s fleet of jet planes.

On July 4th every year, Coronado sponsors what has turned out in recent years to be the largest 4th of July parade west of the Mississippii. And so it was this 4th of July on Monday, the 4th.

Americans all over the world celebrate Independence Day, the 4th of July, with fireworks, great barbecues, and parades. Major and minor league baseball teams play afternoon games all over the U.S. The American Society in Mexico City puts on a huge picnic with thousands of people attending.

Once, when my 45 year old daughter was five, we spent the 4th at a resort hotel in Loreto, Baja California del Sur, on the Gulf of California. The hotel put on a fireworks show, mariachis, folklorico dancers and free margaritas all to celebrate the 4th of July, Independence Day of America and Americans.

This year’s 4th of July was different. The holiday’s special place in our minds and hearts was changed by a young man in Highland Park, Illinois, a prosperous Chicago suburb.

He murdered six, seriously wounded over 30 parade watching people. Victims ranged from 78 years old to a child of six. He used a military-style semi-automatic rifle he legally bought locally. To make his escape easier, he wore women’s clothing in order to blend in with a panic stricken crowd. He left the murder weapon, the rifle, on the roof from where he shot everyone. That allowed federal officers to track the weapon within minutes once it was recovered.

The “alleged” shooter was arrested minutes later because they knew his name — from the rifle purchase — and police were familiar with him and his vehicle.

Kudos to the local, state and federal law enforcement officers who had the twentysomething in custody face down on a street in short order.

What those officers did reminds us of how sloppy, cowardly and stupid a gaggle of Texas law enforcement officers shamed themselves by standing around doing nothing while children were being slaughtered by another teenage shooter who also bought guns legally and used them to murder children and adults at his leisure.

We can put drones on Mars, we can walk on the moon, we can hunt down huge Burmese pythons in Florida one by one but we can’t stop teenage or twentysomething young killers from buying guns legally or illegally and slaughtering people in bad neighborhoods, in good neighborhoods or among people watching U.S. Marines marching on our streets on the 4th of July.