The Victims Of The July 4th Highland Park Shooting | Crooked Media
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July 06, 2022
What A Day
The Victims Of The July 4th Highland Park Shooting

In This Episode

  • During an Independence Day parade this Monday, a 21-year-old man in Highland Park, Illinois shot and killed at least seven people and injured many more. We discuss the latest developments and the stories of the victims, who ranged in age from 8 to 88 years old.
  • Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the Mississippi abortion provider at the center of the case that brought down Roe, officially closed its doors after a judge refused to block the state’s trigger law from going into effect. Laurie Bertram Roberts, co-founder and executive director of the Mississippi Reproductive Freedom Fund, joins us to discuss what comes next.
  • And in headlines: A Georgia grand jury subpoenaed seven of Donald Trump’s close allies, the Justice Department sued the state of Arizona over its new voting law, and several members of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government resigned.


Show Notes:



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Tre’vell Anderson: It’s Thursday, July 7th. I’m Tre’vell Anderson.


Erin Ryan: And I’m Erin Ryan, and this is What A Day, where we hope America isn’t mad that we didn’t get her anything for her birthday this year.


Tre’vell Anderson: Listen, in our defense, she’s been acting up lately. She’ll be fine.


Erin Ryan: I love a birthday, but fireworks again?! We need a new theme.


Tre’vell Anderson: Absolutely. On today’s show, we talk to the co-founder of the Mississippi Reproductive Freedom Fund. Plus, the DOJ sues Arizona over its restrictive and possibly unconstitutional voting law.


Erin Ryan: But first, today, an update on the mass shooting in Highland Park, Illinois, that happened over the holiday break.


Tre’vell Anderson: Yes, on July 4th during an Independence Day parade, a 21-year old man fired from a roof into crowds of neighbors who’d gathered along the parade route. He killed at least seven people and injured many more. The shooter was arrested by North Chicago police Monday afternoon following a search involving more than 100 law enforcement agencies. He is currently being held without bond on seven counts of first degree murder. Now, at the time of our recording Wednesday night, no motive for the shooting has yet been released by officials, but they did say that the gunman, after fleeing Highland Park, contemplated committing another shooting in Madison, Wisconsin, which is 2 hours away. They say he ultimately did not because he had not done enough advanced research about that community.


Erin Ryan: How horrible that this even happened, but the fact that it was just a hair away from spanning two states and two cities is horrifying. The shooting happened a little over a week after President Biden signed the bipartisan gun safety bill into law. Are there elements of the new law that might have affected the outcome here? And what’s the conversation around gun laws looking like now?


Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah, so one of the provisions of that bill Biden signed was $750 million to help states implement and run so-called “red flag” programs. These programs are aimed at keeping guns out of the hands of people who pose a threat to themselves or others, and the bill is supposed to support the states building out these programs. Illinois does have its own red flag law, but it seems the Highland Park shooter slipped past some of its safeguards. He said to have legally purchased a total of five guns, despite previously being flagged by law enforcement twice for behavior that suggested he might harm himself or others. The first incident happened in 2019 after he survived a suicide attempt, and the second was five months later, when he threatened to kill members of his family. Though the shooter was identified as, quote, “a clear and present danger” by the Highland Park police, the matter was closed because he did not own any firearms at the time and none of his relatives wanted to move forward with a formal complaint. Three months after the second incident, the shooter applied for a gun license. He passed four background checks in 2020 and 2021, and none of this previous interaction with law enforcement was, you know, surfaced in any of that. So the situation is being used by some to show how red flag laws are not the grand savior of gun control, as some have asserted. And we can likely expect to be hearing a lot more about this in the days and weeks to come.


Erin Ryan: Something tells me that a red flag like threatening your family members should not be something that expires within a matter of years. I don’t know.


Tre’vell Anderson: Within a matter of months, apparently, right?


Erin Ryan: Within a matter of months! I mean, a red flag should last–


Tre’vell Anderson: A little minute.


Erin Ryan: –it should last a while. So what do we know about the victims of the shooting?


Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. So the victims ranged in age from 8 to 88 years old. GoFundMe’s. These have been launched for many of them and their families. These are the names of the seven individuals that were killed: Jacquelyn “Jackie” Sundheim, a 63-year old preschool teacher who was active at her synagogue. Steve Straus, an 88-year old stockbroker who loved the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and was an exceptional joke teller. 64-year old Katherine Goldstein, a mother of two, who loved birdwatching. Her husband said she was kind, selfless, and funny. 69-year old Eduardo Uvaldo, he’d been married to his wife, Maria, for 50 years. Both she and their grandson were injured during the shooting. 78-year old Nicolas Toledo-Zaragoza, a grandfather that loved fishing, painting, and going on walks in the park. Three of his relatives were also injured in the shooting. And then there is wife and husband, Irina and Kevin McCarthy, who were 35 and 37, respectively. They were married about five years ago, and they were at the parade with their two-year old son, Aiden. Reports say Aiden was pulled from under his father, who shielded him from the gunfire, and he’s currently being cared for by other family members.


Erin Ryan: Just horrifying. Just completely, top to bottom, horrifying.


Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah.


Erin Ryan: Now to the latest on the fight for reproductive rights, after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last month.


Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah, so can you tell us about how people across the country are already seeing the impact of the ruling?


Erin Ryan: Yeah. So state abortion laws are changing every single day as trigger laws are taking effect. There’s also a flurry of lawsuits over when these trigger laws can take effect. So, for example, Louisiana has a trigger law on the books. There was a state ban that was supposed to go into effect, but the Louisiana Supreme Court has blocked it. There’s similar court battles happening in Utah, Idaho–all over the country. It is a real legal maze right now. Planned Parenthood in Montana announced that it won’t be scheduling abortions for patients from states where abortion is no longer legal, over lawsuit fears, even though it’s still legal in Montana. And this week, news broke that Jackson Women’s Health, the Mississippi abortion provider at the center of the case that brought down Roe, will be closing its doors. It was the last provider in Mississippi. For more insight, I talked with Laurie Bertram Roberts, Co-founder and Executive Director of the Mississippi Reproductive Freedom Fund. Laurie is also the former director of the Yellowhammer Fund. Both organizations provide direct assistance and support for individuals in the Deep South who seek abortion care, in addition to promoting reproductive justice in their communities. Laurie’s been working in the reproductive justice space for nearly a decade and has witnessed firsthand how abortion access, or lack thereof, can impact the trajectory of a person’s life. I started by asking Laurie what comes next for the Mississippi Reproductive Freedom Fund?


Laurie Roberts: It’s a lot of us doing the same work that we’ve already been doing, but ramped up, hopefully bigger. We’ve been doing broad-based reproductive justice work for several years–we were founded in 2013, and we’ve always done work beyond abortion. But the thing is, is that we know we’re going to need increased parenting support as people are forced to parent. Like that’s a reality that’s not going to be escapable. Like, that’s already happening to people, and so we know that our family justice work is going to need more assistance. And of course, it’s going to be, you know, helping people access care outside of the state as much as we can, and really educating people around self-managed abortion.


Erin Ryan: Yeah. So I guess zooming out a little bit, there’s been a lot of frustration in the last couple of weeks about inaction from people in charge. What would people on the ground fighting for reproductive justice like to see their pro-choice elected officials do at this moment?


Laurie Roberts: Yeah, I can’t speak for everybody, but I can definitely speak for myself: expand the court. Do something! Like, it would be great if we could get rid of the filibuster. I know that’s like a dream, but I don’t see how people sit by and watch–not just the human rights crisis happen, but a public health crisis happening that’s going to lead to the deaths, especially of Black and brown women as you know, maternal mortality is going to soar, and sit back and sit on their hands and do nothing. Codify Roe. Pass the Women’s Health Protection Act. Do anything!! You know what I mean? Like allow abortions on federal lands. We have DAs in the country that are being more proactive than the federal government and that is very disconcerting to me.


Erin Ryan: Yeah, it seems like we’re a little bit bereft of bravery at some of the higher levels here. In reporting the new reality facing Americans in need of reproductive health care, what’s something that you’ve noticed that the mainstream media keeps getting wrong or missing? And what’s something that people should know that they’re not being told?


Laurie Roberts: Yeah, I think it’s been kind of reported, but that this is a connection to other rights being lost, right? I’m hearing it a little bit around, you know, like this can lead to the loss of birth control access, and, yes, this can lead to the loss of same-sex rights, but it’s beyond that. It’s racial justice, it’s access to birthright citizenship–like this is coming for the entire 14th Amendment and rolling back everything that was gained post-slavery! It’s not just about like the modern rights that we have, but there are literally people who have been working for 30, 40 years to roll back every progressive gain that we got. And I know that sounds like a conspiracy theory, but they’re not stopping at just like this one thing. There’s a broader agenda here, and they have to take out Roe to get to the other things, so there’s that. And that we didn’t get here except through local-level politics, and I’m just not hearing enough conversation around the fact that local-level politics is how we got here, and local-level politics is how we undo a lot of this. And that investment in local-level politics and undoing gerrymandering and undoing voter suppression that I’m doing voter disenfranchisement is so freaking critical. And it’s another reason why we have to get rid of the filibuster, and we have to pass voting rights. And like these things are not unlinked. Like they’re all interlinked. You can’t unlink, them because we can’t undo the injustice at our state level without voting rights. They’re not silos.


Erin Ryan: Mm hmm. Well, we could probably talk about that for hours, honestly, because I would love to hear so many more of your thoughts on this, but I’m going to wrap it up with this: I feel like you should have an opportunity to, like, be more of a like, debunker, because across social media, there’s been all of this outrage on the Dobbs ruling. And I think a lot of it is really well-intentioned–thousands of people spent their July 4th holiday protesting the Supreme Court–but it seems like there are some things that have gone kind of viral, that have become popular, that seem like they’re actually helpful, and some things that seem like they’re not actually helpful. So as somebody who’s on the ground, doing this work, what are some things you’ve seen on social media that you’ve been like, Yes, more of that, and some things that you’ve been like, Oh, my gosh, please, no, you’re not helping.


Laurie Roberts: Everyone who is throwing small fundraisers, we are so love you. Thank you. All of y’all joining local abortion funds and waiting for us to be able to onboard you as new volunteers, and understanding that it’s going to be a process and that it’s going to take us a second and like, we’re very overwhelmed: heart you. Y’all, please, stop offering to take people camping. This is the most redunculous thing I’ve ever seen. We get an abortion’s y’all. We getting abortions. We gonna keep saying abortions. I don’t give a shit. If they outlaw saying abortions, we’re saying fucking abortions. Okay? And then the second thing is, stop offering your house on Tik-Tok, Instagram, Facebook, even if you were usefully offering a place to stay. I understand that you’re well-intentioned, but most people during their abortion do not want to stay with strangers. They don’t want to talk to you, they don’t want you to be in their business, they don’t want to eat your strange food–they just want to go to a hotel, put a heating pad on a tummy and lay the hell down. Shoot us some money for some hotels–keep the homestays for your friends, family and friends of friends.


Erin Ryan: That was my conversation with Laurie Bertram Roberts, the Executive Director of the Mississippi Reproductive Freedom Fund. We asked Laurie where you can go if you want to get involved and get educated. We will link to some of those in our show notes along with a link to VoteSaveAmerica’s resources to support reproductive rights.


Tre’vell Anderson: More on all of this very soon, but that is the latest for now. We’ll be back after some ads.


[ad break]


Tre’vell Anderson: Let’s wrap up with some headlines.


[sung] Headlines.


Tre’vell Anderson: A Georgia grand jury subpoenaed seven of Donald Trump’s close allies on Tuesday, as part of its criminal investigation into the former president’s effort to overturn the state’s 2020 presidential election results. Among them were prominent leaders of the Republican Party, like Senator Lindsey Graham, and the guy who currently holds the title for Most Sensitive Back on Earth, Rudy Giuliani. The Fulton County district attorney is reportedly considering a variety of very serious-sounding charges against the former president, including racketeering and conspiracy.


Erin Ryan: I’ll believe that when I see it, I’m tired of the fan fic.


Tre’vell Anderson: Absolutely.


Erin Ryan: I want results. I want revenge. In a handwritten letter delivered to the White House on Monday, WNBA star Brittney Griner spoke out for the first time since she was detained by Russian authorities–140 days ago! That is so long. Griner wrote that she fears she may be imprisoned in Russia forever, and she urged President Biden to free her and the other Americans that are currently in Russian custody. As pressure mounts for the administration to ensure Griner’s release, Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris spoke with Graner’s wife, Cherelle, on the phone yesterday. And according to the White House, the two leaders told her they’re doing everything in their power to get Griner and other U.S. nationals released as soon as possible.


Tre’vell Anderson: It is absurd that she, and plenty others, right ,have been in custody with no contact of their families, very little communication with representatives. It’s really absurd.


Erin Ryan: It’s a crazy, complicated case, and dealing with Putin seems to be a real walk-on-eggshells, no matter who you are and what you’re doing–and gosh, I hope this has a good resolution.


Tre’vell Anderson: Absolutely. The Justice Department sued the state of Arizona on Tuesday over its new voting law that will require residents to provide proof of citizenship to vote in federal elections or vote in any election by mail. The battleground state’s GOP-led legislature passed the measure back in March, but federal officials argue that the law goes against both the National Voter Registration Act and the Civil Rights Act by making it harder for eligible voters to cast their ballots.


Erin Ryan: Well, Tre’vell, at least we can rely on this Supreme Court to uphold the rule of law, right? [laughs] Oh, we laugh bitterly, so we do not cry. One month after narrowly surviving a “no-confidence” vote led by his own party, the political future of UK Prime Minister and a man who can’t say no to a COVID kickback, Boris Johnson, seems less certain than ever. On Tuesday, two of Johnson’s top ministers submitted resignations within minutes of each other, leaving over 35 other members of Johnson’s government to resign from their posts in solidarity. These resignations have come in response to yet another scandal in his office, this time involving the misconduct and dismissal of his deputy chief whip. And according to British political reporters, the UK’s Conservative Party is mobilizing to find a way to remove Johnson from office for good– I believe that when I see it.


Tre’vell Anderson: I’ve got to say, Boris has been going through it lately. All right? This is going to be interesting.


Erin Ryan: Yeah.


Tre’vell Anderson: As of the first of the month, health insurers are now required to post a record online of every price they’ve negotiated with providers for health care services, or face steep fines. This means for the first time, consumers will be able to see the difference in negotiated rates they would pay for similar services at different health care providers for their own insurance plans and others. And starting January 1st, the same rules will require insurers to provide online tools to help customers get upfront estimates for around 500 common medical services, further empowering the classically underpowered American health care consumer.


Erin Ryan: Yeah, I’ll make sure when I ride in an ambulance to an E.R. after getting hit by a car walking through a crosswalk that I have my phone on full charge, so that I can do my research, right?


Tre’vell Anderson: And you can know which place they should take you to?


Erin Ryan: Exactly. Take me to the cheaper hospital. I need to go in network. I’m not made of money. I’m barely even made of bones right now. A viral Tik Tok trend is inspiring groups of young men in formalwear to attend the new movie Minions: The Rise of GRU–I don’t understand half the words in the title of that film. These people are better known online as the #gentleminions–I like that, that sounds nice. A range of behavior has been observed from the be-suited, gentle minions: starting standing ovations and mosh pits in the theaters, bringing bananas to snack on during the movie, and perhaps massively contributing to record breaking box office numbers, which have made the animated children’s movie the largest U.S. 4th of July weekend opening ever–Wow! Take that president, Bill Pullman, or Will Smith, or, I don’t know. I’m really giving away my age by referencing the ’90s. While theaters have reportedly discouraged the rowdy behavior, the film’s distributor, Universal Pictures, has leaned in, tweeting over the weekend, quote, “to everyone showing up to Minions in suits, we see you and we love you.” Something tells me they mostly love their money. The Minions, specifically Bob, Stuart and Kevin, haven’t released a statement about the trend yet, but if we were to guess what they’d say, we think it’d probably be something like “bello, bedu bedu, banana.”–I don’t know what that means either. What does that mean, Tre’vell?


Tre’vell Anderson: I don’t know what it means, but I’m sure they’re listening and they are super glad to be, you know, accurately represented in, you know, our conversation today.


Erin Ryan: Minion representation matters. I think that that’s the lesson that we can never forget.


Tre’vell Anderson: Absolutely. And those are the headlines.


Erin Ryan: One more thing before we go: this week on Hot Take, Amy and Mary, sit down with Leah Litman, a law professor and host of Strict Scrutiny, to talk about SCOTUS, a.k.a. the most hated reality TV show in America. They discuss the Supreme Court’s attack on environmental protections, the overturning of Roe v. Wade, Ted Cruz’s slimy finances–gosh, is there anything about that guy that isn’t slimy?–and the Republican Attorneys General Association, a.k.a. RAGA, who are behind many of these awful rulings. Listen to new episodes of Hot Take every Friday wherever you get your podcasts.


Tre’vell Anderson: That’s all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe, leave a review, Help Gru rise, and tell your friends to listen.


Erin Ryan: And if you’re into reading, and not just long and shrouded health insurance secrets like me, What A Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at I’m Erin Ryan.


Tre’vell Anderson: I’m Tre’vell Anderson.


[together] And bedu bedu!


Erin Ryan: I hope that that is non-offensive thing to say in their language. I don’t know.


Tre’vell Anderson: We don’t know. We will know when they come take over earth and, you know, hold us hostage.


Erin Ryan: Don’t @ me, Minions.


Tre’vell Anderson: What A Day is a production of Crooked Media. It’s recorded and mixed by Bill Lancz. Jazzy Marine and Raven Yamamoto are our associate producers. Our head writer is Jon Millstein, with help today from Jocey Coffman, and our executive producer is Leo Duran. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.


Brian Beutler: Sometimes it seems like American society, if not the whole world, is unraveling.


[clip] When the ocean caught fire.


[clip of Chris Rock] Will Smith just smacked the shit out of me.


Brian Beutler: And when you feel that way, it honestly starts to become pretty hard to care about the nuts and bolts of modern living. But the more I thought about it, the more I’ve come to believe that the existence of multiple, ongoing, high-stakes crises can just as easily serve as a driver for helping people understand and care about the history and substance of the bad news, and arming them with the knowledge they need to make things better, even if only a little better. I’m Brian Beutler, and every week on Positively Dreadful, a guest and I will break down an issue that’s probably contributing to all that angst, and we’ll try to determine what the power of understanding is. So join us every week starting June 24th. Subscribe to Positively Dreadful on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to podcasts.