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Waukesha Christmas Parade Tragedy an Act of Unconscionable Violence. Yet We Carry On

Rex Huppke, Tribune Content Agency on

We Americans seem to live, more and more, in the narrow spaces between acts of unconscionable violence.

When one erupts, as it did late Sunday at a Christmas parade in the Milwaukee suburb of Waukesha, we stop living our lives. We grimace, watch the inevitable video — horrifying, soul-quaking — read about the number of dead and injured — in Waukesha, five dead, 48 injured, among them children, grandmothers, a Catholic priest — and shake our heads at the unreal nature of this reality.

A chilly November night. Folding chairs and hot cocoa along Main Street. School kids in a marching band. Eager eyes out for Santa Claus. A group called the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies.

And then a speeding maroon SUV, and a man who kept driving, smashing and crushing person after person after person. Confusion, screams. Then sirens. A mass casualty event.

We grimace. We always do. Whether it’s a house of worship or a movie theater or a shopping mall. Or a school. A protest. Or now a Christmas parade.

Whether the weapon is a gun or a vehicle, it’s a thump of trauma. Our lives stop and we hurt for those hurting and we wonder if there’s a way to pick up the pieces of shattered innocence and glue them together again with decency and compassion.

 

And we await the facts.

On Monday, the driver of the vehicle was identified as Darrell Brooks, 39. The Associated Press reported this: “Online court records showed a person named Darrell Brooks, with a birthdate making him 39, has two open criminal cases in Milwaukee County. In one case, filed Nov. 5, he is charged with resisting or obstructing an officer, reckless homicide, disorderly conduct, bail jumping and battery. Records show $1,000 bond was posted on Friday.”

Waukesha police Chief Dan Thompson said Monday the suspect had fled the scene of a domestic disturbance before speeding on to the parade route and there is “no evidence that this is a terrorist incident.”

Brooks is charged with five counts of first-degree intentional homicide, and police officials said additional charges will come.

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