Daily Herald Opinion: Whenever there is tragedy, take heart in knowing there will always be heroes

  • Flowers and messages were placed in downtown Highland Park Wednesday as a memorial to victims of a mass shooting at the Fourth of July parade.

      Flowers and messages were placed in downtown Highland Park Wednesday as a memorial to victims of a mass shooting at the Fourth of July parade. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

 
The Daily Herald Editorial Board
Updated 7/8/2022 8:45 AM
This editorial is the consensus opinon of the Daily Herald Editorial Board

It's impossible to make sense of what happened in Highland Park during its Fourth of July parade.

It's so easy to fall into despair, whether you witnessed the assault in person or on the TV news or social media or whether you know someone who was injured or killed.

 

We're all struggling with questions: When will I know I am safe? Can I ever attend a public event?

It's easy to fall into despair amid the inhumanity of it all. But if you look closely you'll find signs of humanity -- even of heroism -- everywhere you look.

Our Christopher Placek talked to Wendy Binstock Rush, an anesthesiologist from Highland Park, who was attending the parade when shots rang out from atop the building behind her.

She described being among a variety of medical personnel who were watching the parade and jumped into action to treat the wounded -- in the open at a time when the shooter was on the loose.

"It makes you think with all this badness in humanity -- these evil people out there that senselessly take other people's lives -- there's still good people in this world," she said. "There were dozens of people who jumped and identified themselves as a nurse, as an EMT, as a physician, and said, 'What can I do to help? What can I do to help?'"

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There were cops on bicycles who rode toward the action as the crowd ran in the other direction.

And, of course, there was Kevin McCarthy, who died shielding his 2-year-old son Aiden from the gunfire. Tragically, McCarthy and his wife Irina died. And McCarthy's mother was injured.

In Monday's newspaper, our Rick West wrote about an Aurora man receiving a Carnegie Medal for rescuing a man who was unresponsive in his SUV stuck on railroad tracks with a train barreling toward it.

Lewis Medina, 60, a construction worker, pulled the man out of the SUV and then flung his body away from the tracks and down the hill.

"As soon as I get down the hill, bam, it was over," Medina said. "I looked up to the right, and the train smashed the car. It was a matter of seconds."

Medina is one of three suburbanites to receive the honor this year.

Antonio Raul Rivera of Bolingbrook received a medal for risking his life to tackle and disarm a man who was stabbing his neighbor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

About 20% of the Carnegie awards are handed out posthumously.

Sadly, that is the case for Pete Rosengren, the Daily Herald's then advertising director, who drowned while saving children, including his own, from a rip current while on vacation in Florida in March 2021.

His family will receive the honor in his absence next Tuesday at a Kane County Board meeting.

In a world in which terrible things happen, there will always be those who put themselves in harm's way to try to stop them.

Take comfort in that.

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