Uneasy US tries to fete a July 4 marred by parade shooting

Washington DC: A shooting that left at least six people dead at an Independence Day parade in a Chicago suburb rattled Monday’s celebrations across the U.S. and further rocked a country already awash in turmoil over high court rulings on abortion and guns as well as hearings on the Jan. 6 insurrection.

The latest mass shooting came as the nation tried to find cause to celebrate its founding and the bonds that still hold it together. It was supposed to be a day for taking off work, flocking to parades, devouring hot dogs and burgers at backyard barbecues, and gathering under a canopy of stars and exploding fireworks.

“On a day that we came together to celebrate community and freedom, we are instead mourning the tragic loss of life and struggling with the terror that was brought upon us,” Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering said.

The Highland Park parade began around 10 a.m. but was suddenly halted 10 minutes later after shots were fired. Hundreds of parade-goers — some visibly bloodied — fled the area, leaving behind chairs, baby strollers, and blankets. Authorities brought a person of interest into custody Monday evening.

As the Highland Park community mourned, fireworks began thundering in neighboring towns and across the country. Pyrotechnics bloomed shortly after nightfall in Boston and New York City, where a kaleidoscope of color exploded over the Hudson River and illuminated skyscrapers.

President Joe Biden, in remarks Monday celebrating 246 years of America’s independence, sought to reassure a nation both exhausted and unsettled by recent events. “In recent days, there’s been reason to think this country is moving backward, that freedom is being reduced, that rights we assumed were protected are no longer,” Biden said in remarks to military families and administration officials enjoying a picnic on the South Lawn of the White House.

He tweeted earlier in the day about the shooting, calling it “senseless gun violence that has yet again brought grief to an American community this Independence Day.”

Pope prays for victims of July 4 shooting

Pope Francis called Tuesday for a rejection of violence and respect for life as he mourned the dead from the “senseless shooting” during an Independence Day parade in suburban Chicago. In a telegram of condolence to Chicago’s archbishop, Francis said he was praying for the six people killed Monday and for “healing and consolation to the injured and bereaved.”

Quoting the Bible, he called for everyone to “reject violence in all its forms and respect life in all its stages.” The telegram to Cardinal Blase Cupich was signed by Francis’ secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin.

Image courtesy of (Image Courtesy: AP)

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