#OTD one year ago, residents of the Chicago suburb of Highland Park gathered in their downtown for a Fourth of July parade. Many who came were excited for the parade as a return to normality after the Covid-19 lockdowns and chaos of recent years. It was not to be. A twenty-one-year-old disturbed man wearing a dress to disguise himself climbed up to store roof with the AR-15. The man had a history of violent behavior, including threatening to kill family members. Yet he still obtained a state permit to buy guns. He fired more than seventy rounds down into the crowd in minutes, then fled.
Video footage showed families with small children running from the gunfire. The man killed seven people before fleeing. Two of the dead were young parents. Their two-year-old son was found wandering and crying near their bodies. Police caught the shooter later. As McWhirter (who grew up ten minutes drive from Highland Park) and Elinson discuss in American Gun, the quintessentially American scene of a Fourth of July parade was what inventor Eugene Stoner was trying to protect when he invented his rifle for the U.S. military in the 1950s. He saw the gun as a useful innovation to help US soldiers and their allies combat Communist insurgents.