And so will we.
Some of you might know and some of you might not, but on July 12, 2014, Kim’s and my son, Wil, was shot and killed as he walked down a Chicago street. He was working on a photo shoot, took a break and went for some lunch and a few items for the apartment he and his wife, Maria, had moved into two weeks previous.
A car of gang members spotted a rival walking on the same street as my son. Allegedly, the thirty-one year old (at that time) gave a handgun to a fifteen year old (at the time) passenger and told him to, “Wet his shirt!” A seventeen year old (at the time) accompanied the shooter.
Our son was between the intended victim and the shooter. Ten shots were fired, but only one hit anyone . . . our son, and Hannah’s and Emily’s brother, and Maria’s husband.
The thirty-one year old was arrested at the scene. The other two escaped, but were later apprehended in Racine, Wisconsin, and all three have been in custody ever since.
This coming Friday, May 12, 2017, exactly two years and ten months to the day Wil was shot and killed . . . murdered . . . Kim, Hannah, Emily and I, along with Wil’s wife, Maria, will appear at the hearing of the shooter. The hearing will be in juvenile court.
Yes, juvenile court.
The Illinois legislature passed a law at some point after Wil was murdered that mandates juveniles, regardless of the crime, need to be tried in juvenile court. It went to the Illinois Supreme Court and the law was upheld unanimously. The state attorney appealed to the judge and the judge denied the petition.
So what does this mean?
It means that our son, Wil, and Hannah’s and Emily’s brother, and Maria’s husband is still dead, murdered at the hand of a then fifteen year old.
And, at age twenty-one, serving just six years for the crime of murder, the shooter will be set free.
We were advised that our victim’s impact statement will not have any impact on the judge or the outcome of the hearing. Maria’s impact statement will not have any impact on the judge or the outcome of the hearing. Nothing we say will have any impact on the judge or the outcome of the hearing.
So, one wonders, what is justice and how will it be served with respect to our son, Wil? How will justice be served with respect to Hannah’s and Emily’s brother? Or Maria’s husband?
It seems to me that justice won’t be served at all.
Justice will Weep.
And so will we.
We don’t want sympathy or pity. Wil wouldn’t want that and we certainly don’t. What we do want is for each of you to Live Your Life, Make a Positive Difference in the Lives of Others, and most importantly . . . and this is truly important, Don’t Take Life For Granted.
You can’t. And you shouldn’t.
You don’t know when those who are important to you will be taken. I want you . . . I need you . . . to make sure those important people in your life know you love them. Tell them often. More importantly, show them often. Please make sure they know how you feel.
Life is too fragile. Life is too delicate. Life cannot and should not be taken for granted. Something to think about . . .