(Article changed on June 7, 2013 at 18:19)
Every year at this time, thousands of walkers and runners in the Chicago area assemble for the Ricky Byrdsong Memorial Race Against Hate, honoring the legacy of the former Northwestern University Men's Basketball Coach, murdered in 1999.
Byrdsong was shot and killed while walking with two of his three children at his residence by white supremacist Benjamin Nathaniel Smith. Also shot and killed in the spree, which occurred two months after the Columbine massacre, was Won-Joon Yoon, a 26-year-old Korean doctoral student in computer science at Indiana University who was on his way to church. Smith targeted African-American, Jewish and Asian people in his spree and also wounded nine Orthodox Jews and an African-American minister. After his three-day, two-state shooting rampage, Smith killed himself as police approached.
According to Illinois police, the state issued Smith a gun owner's ID card two weeks before the shootings because a background check did not reveal an order of protection filed by an ex girlfriend. Let's enforce existing laws! The problem was confusion over middle initial problems, explained officials.
The order of protection did appear during a background check at a gun dealer that Smith went to, so instead Smith obtained his weapons from Donald R. Fiessinger, of Pekin, Illinois, accused of funneling "dozens of guns" into the illegal market by Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives officials.
"This unfortunately hits home the point that we have to start regulating the secondary market as well," including gun shows, unlicensed gun dealers and sales over the Internet, said Lisa Morel Las, who was director of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence at the time. It is a refrain the families of the Smith's 12 victims--and thousands of others--have heard in the ensuing 14 years.
(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).