Brookfield’s Fourth of July parade stepped off at its usual hour – 10 a.m. – and wound its way down Grand Boulevard, packed on both sides as it always is with kids lining the street to collect candy and other items handed out by the participants.

Just as in Riverside and North Riverside, the morning of July 4 was something of a comfort. It was the second parade since the pandemic and it went off without a hitch – maybe shorter in length, but normal.

Little did we know as we turned onto Grand Boulevard and headed south from Garfield Avenue at 10 a.m. that about 30 miles away in Highland Park, a maniac with a high-powered rifled was gunning down people at the July 4 parade there.

How much more of this are we going to take?

The easy availability of guns, including assault-style rifles, and their proliferation has made this nation less safe and more violent. You can now add Fourth of July parades to the list of places like movie theaters, grocery stores, churches and schools where people no longer can be considered safe from America’s devotion to firearms.

It feels like we’re reaching a breaking point, and we are ever clearer on the fact that, in America, no one is safe from gun violence.

That’s not freedom, folks.