Firearms and Fireworks on the Fourth of July


Following the Highland Park shooting, on a day meant for celebration, proves we need action now more than ever.




After an evening of cognitive and emotional dissonance watching spectacular and safe fireworks, I awoke early today and took the elevator down to the fourth floor buffet breakfast at our hotel on Broadway. I look out the glass window and saw a store named Bad Boy Worldwide. In front, on the sidewalk, are a group of homeless men huddled together. I get goosebumps with the apparent serendipitous connections with the weekend firearms shootings before and after the fireworks.

As you probably know by now with all the media coverage, there was a mass shooting as a parade began in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park yesterday afternoon. One of the 6 killed by the rooftop shooter was a 76-year-old grandfather in a wheelchair. Highland Park is the home of my Rabbi son’s synagogue.

The shooter was caught, with some usual historical connections of increasing anger emerging on social media, though the mayor once knew him as a Cub Scout. We do not yet know of a specific motive, nor much else yet of his family history and father. I am left right now with a mental image of a sniper at war with the world.

After the notorious Buffalo and Uvalde mass shootings, as well as the ongoing daily gun violence that is not publicized, I wrote several of these columns recommending that we start a new social movement: DIGS, Dads Into Gun Safery. This weekend adds an undesired exclamation point to that acronym.

The glass window I looked through reminded me of a proverb I usually used in clinical psychiatry in an initial evaluation: People in Glass Houses Shouldn’t Throw Stones. One interpretation is that we all have some similar tendencies, so we should all take some responsibility for bad boys and others who do not feel valued enough in our society.

Dr Moffic is an award-winning psychiatrist who has specialized in the cultural and ethical aspects of psychiatry. A prolific writer and speaker, he received the one-time designation of Hero of Public Psychiatry from the Assembly of the American Psychiatric Association in 2002. He is an advocate for mental health issues related to climate instability, burnout, Islamophobia, and anti-Semitism for a better world. He serves on the Editorial Board of Psychiatric Times™.

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