Since 1852 Mercy Hospital has been a place of healing. On Monday it became the site of what Rham Emanuel described as "the face and the consequence of evil.”
On this beautiful, clear, bright, sunny day, Chicago is shrouded in grief and sorrow. A police officer, doctor, and pharmacy resident were murdered at Mercy Hospital. People who dedicated their lives to the helping professions were murdered in what Superintendent of Police, Eddie Johnson described as, "a despicable act of violence."
They were murdered at a hospital, a place of healing, helping, and comfort.
Officer Samuel Jimenez, recently off probation, was killed in the lobby of the hospital. He ran to the sound of gunfire. He did what he was supposed to do. What he was trained to do. Officer Jimenez did not run into the hospital to kill or be killed. He ran to help. He ran to save lives. His life was taken.
Officer Samuel Jimenez, aged 28, was married and the father of three children
Tamara O’Neal was an emergency room doctor. She graduated from medical school two years ago. She was a healer. Dr. O'Neal was shot and killed in the parking lot of the hospital by a man described as her former fiancé.
Dr. O’Neal was on her way to work in the emergency room to heal the sick, tender to the injured, and save lives. Her life was taken.
Dayna Less was a first-year pharmacy resident. She was shot and killed in the hospital as she Walked out of an elevator. She was working to provide medication that heals, helps, comforts, or saves lives. Her life was taken.
Samuel Jimenez, Tamara O'Neal, and Dayna Less had two things in common. They were relatively new in their careers. They chose professions of service to others. Their brief careers ended in quick tragedy.
Samuel Jimenez, Tamara O'Neal, and Dayna Less were helpers. They were savers. They were dedicated, bound by oaths, and honorable.
Except for his name, Juan Lopez, we know little to nothing about the man who murdered Jimenez, O’Neal, and Less. Maybe that is a good thing. Some magazine named after our city will not be able to write an immediate sympathetic puff piece trying to “understand” him.
Officer Samuel Jimenez, Dr. Tamara O’Neal, and Dayna Less lives were taken. They will be remembered for the way they lived. That is how it should be.
Thursday is Thanksgiving Day. A day we are supposed to stop and be grateful. For the Jimenez, O’Neal, and Less families, it will be a day of sorrow.
On Thanksgiving, before you tuck into your feast, give thanks for the people who help. Give thanks for the people who serve others. Give thanks to the people who save lives.
Give thanks to the cops, firemen, paramedics, hospital doctors, nurses, and other professionals who will be working to heal, help, save lives, and put their lives on the line while you are feasting.
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