Our world in northeastern Illinois was rocked this week by the tragedy in Highland Park. So many in our community are suffering. Our hearts go out to the families of those who lost their lives or were injured, to everyone walking in or watching the parade, to the people of Highland Park, to everyone throughout Lake County and to all survivors of gun violence. Lake County Democrats walked in parades all over Lake County this 4th of July weekend including Antioch, Barrington, Fox Lake, Lake Bluff, Mundelein, Vernon Hills, and Waukegan prior to the Highland Park parade. Now, instead of remembering a celebration of liberty, we mourn the further loss of life and our sense of safety.
Lake Dems Chair Lauren Beth Gash posted the following on Facebook and here’s a link:
The mass shooting at the Highland Park parade today was just so awful. Democrats had a large entry in the parade – lots of volunteers, interns, candidates and elected officials/maybe 60-ish people. We’re all physically OK. I was in my decorated car. Banners for Tenth Dems, Lake Dems, Moraine Dems, and many candidates and elected officials were lined up and ready to start. Volunteers had bags of pencils and candy to give out. We were about to move (we were toward the middle of the parade) when we saw tons of folks running and heard what many described as pops. And folks started shouting, “Active shooter!” People started running away from the sounds and for shelter, like you see in the movies, only it was real life. While folks were fleeing the gunfire, our own Lake County Sheriff John D. Idleburg left us and ran in the other direction — heroically running toward the danger.
I turned my car around, which was decorated with flags, Dem logos, and stars for the festive day ahead, and drove back to my house (a few blocks away) to drop off volunteers and interns. And I went back to shuttle more interns to the house so all were safe. Interns, parents, and volunteers sheltered together through the afternoon. What a day. So sad. Such a nightmare. It’s unacceptable that our society would allow this type of tragedy to traumatize our communities over and over again. Gun violence prevention isn’t partisan and isn’t just a talking point. We need stronger gun laws. VOTE as if our lives depend on it. Because they do. #EnoughIsEnough #HighlandParkStrong