We recall a suburban police chief once telling us after a short spate of nerve-wracking murders that what his town needed was a “good old wife clocks husband with a heavy pot” murder. Then, said the chief, he could announce it was an isolated incident and no one had reason to fear.
Fast forward to 2022 and Forest Park last week experienced a single day with three shootings. No one died but bullets flying twice between cars along major streets and then toward a house on Harlem is certainly unsettling to most everyone.
In stepped Mayor Rory Hoskins with a video, both praised and panned, in which he says not to worry. All three shootings were clearly related and resulted from “a very particular dispute,” said Hoskins. A fight settled with firearms is the unspoken implication.
And since most residents of Forest Park were not part of the fight, the message from the mayor, is that they are safe.
Sort of. Maybe. But when speeding cars trade gun shots, there is trauma that goes beyond being hit by a bullet.
We don’t have a solution. Maybe the surveillance cameras approved just last week by the village council could prove to be either or both a deterrent or a crime-solving tool.
The underlying issue, and one America’s politicians refuse to solve, is the explosion of guns on our streets. We are not hopeful about progress on that front. But there is no denying that these random, but not actually random, shootings are becoming more common in suburbs, previously seen as safe from this mayhem.
So take comfort from video balm if you can. But mainly, stay safe out there.
St.Pat’s parade and omicron
It was the last gasp of normal way back in the before times of 2020 as Forest Park snuck in its annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade just before the whole world closed down as COVID set in.
Two optimistic efforts to schedule the parade in 2021 — one in March, one in September — proved ultimately too optimistic. Each was cancelled in turn as COVID held strong.
The event’s determined sponsor, the Forest Park Chamber of Commerce, did manage to stage a 2021 comeback for the giddy and ghoulish Casket Races and for a modified version of the Holiday Walk. Both were fully outdoor events which makes for a safer COVID moment.
Since then the full brunt of the omicron variant of COVID has settled like a germ-filled cloud over much of America. And while the parade is a rain or shine, sleet or snow undertaking that stretches along much of Madison Street, it is the indoor drinking aftermath of the parade that is problematic.
We’re still two months out. There are early reports that the omicron surge may dissipate as quick as it came on.
If St. Patrick drove snakes out of Ireland, perhaps he can snuff out omicron in Forest Park. Time for a prayer.