Reality: A Merrillville policeman – Officer Nick Schultz – was shot and killed early Saturday by a man who police say was waiting for them to arrive. After a shootout, the man reportedly took his own life.
Context: Another local policeman killed. First it was Jeff Westerfield. Now it’s Nick Schultz. Shake our heads, mourn, shake our fists, go back to our lives. We’ll talk about it on the radio. That’s somehow part of the healing process for those of us who believe that when one of our own is gunned down it effects us all. You want to do something but you don’t know what that is. So we’ll vent on the radio, grieve, shake our heads with words of disbelief. Somehow after a week or so we’ll feel just a little better. The family of Nick Schultz won’t.
Reality: Also on Saturday, a semi-truck ran completely over a car driven by a Chicago actor – Bernard Yvon, 50 – at the corner of Broadmoor and Calumet in Munster. The horrific photos mean you don’t even need to say that he died, hopefully instantly.
Context: Calumet Avenue is a dangerous place. Too many cars and trucks on a stretch of road through Munster that’s not designed for that kind of traffic. The businesses are too close to the road, there’s too many cutouts, traffic backs up for blocks and everyone – I mean everyone – drives too fast when there’s an opening.
I grew up less than a block from this horrific accident on Saturday… and live a few blocks away now. As a kid, we’d sneak out late at night and play catch on Calumet Avenue under the streetlights. As an adult, I won’t even cross Calumet on my bike during the day.
Further context – we have closed Columbia and Northcote at the same time. This exacerbates an already dangerous situation in terms of our north-south roads.
Enough already. It’s time to try to sleep for a few hours then get up and take these realities on. It’s my job, although sometimes when it’s this sad and horrific I don’t quite know what to say. My sincerest condolences to the families. Let’s start there.