The news from home is terrible. Seven dead and a couple more dozen people hospitalized with gun shot wounds. That does not even begin to capture the horror of what occurred on July 4th.
It is weird to follow such tragic events from so far away. You first become aware of what’s going on via an overheard conversation. Not sure exactly what it is you heard, you frantically search out a WiFi signal. After learning the bare details you text your brother who lives near Highland Park and might have taken the family to the parade. You also text a few people you know living in Highland Park. Everyone is safe but worried. Things are still unfolding so you give stupid advice like, “stay safe.”
It is not like nothing bad ever happens in Europe. In Copenhagen two teenagers and a man where recently killed by a lone gunman without a motive. If he had an assault rifle it would have been much, much worse. Reverse that same thought for Highland Park.
We do not want to stay in Europe. We love America and its opportunities. We love driving through our great country and meeting people with different views. But our country feels a little bit less free than the day we left it. We now have less agency of our bodies, less protection from the religious viewpoints of our public school teachers and can never again take watching a parade with our families in a beautiful summer day for granted. It does not have to be or stay that way and we will do whatever we can to make our world a better place. But for now all we do is tell everyone to stay safe.