Clip: Richard Roeper column
- Apologies for inundating the list on this matter, but it is the only musical issue I can think about right now. One more uplifting aspect of this sad story was apparently Michael's wake was really nice. (More information on that, and some amazingly cool testimonials about Michael -- some hilarious -- on the message board at silkworm.net.)
I've posted this elsewhere, but it bears repeating. Silkworm has given me
(live and on record) many of my most satisfying musical experiences. "Never Met a Man I Didn't Like" is, for example, one of those absolutely perfect songs that makes me feel glad to be alive every time I hear it, for each second it is playing. For a song to have that effect after eight years is rare; the exhilaration I feel *every
time* I hear it may be compared to the feeling I get when I hear "New Day Rising" and maybe no other song.
Recent traffic deaths share a common thread
July 20, 2005
BY RICHARD ROEPER SUN-TIMES COLUMNIST Advertisement
Skokie. Chinatown. Ocean City, Md. Three recent auto accidents, dozens of lives shattered forever. We start with the tragedy in Skokie last week -- a horrible episode that sounds like one of the opening segments of the film "Magnolia." Jennifer Sliwinski, 23, of Morton Grove, reportedly distraught after a fight with her mother, got into her 2000 Ford Mustang and started driving. She reportedly had the intention of ending her life.
According to witnesses, Sliwinski had run three red lights and was going at least 70 mph when she reached the intersection of Niles Center Road and Dempster Street in Skokie and slammed into a Honda Civic that was stopped at a red light.
There were three men in the car: Mike Dahlquist, 39; John Glick, 35; Douglas Meis, 29. Friends. Musicians in different rock bands. By all accounts, really good guys.
All three were killed.
Sliwinski? A foot injury. She'll be just fine -- at least physically, and at least for now. She's charged with three counts of first-degree murder and she could face the death penalty -- the very thing she was allegedly trying to give herself when she went flying through that intersection.
Sliwinski issued a statement: "I pray and beg for forgiveness from everyone who is saddened by the deaths."
Her parents added: "If we had an explanation for what happened, we would tell you what it is. But we have no explanation, we have only our heartfelt grief and prayers."
Of course, your primary sympathy has to go to the family and friends of the victims -- but you have to feel awful for Sliwinski's parents, and even for the young woman herself. Perhaps consecutive life sentences would be much more of a punishment for Sliwinski than eventual execution. Having to live with something like this for 50 years? That's almost cruel and unusual punishment.
You also think: If she wanted to kill herself, why didn't she ram her car into a wall? Why did she have to ruin so many other lives with her supposedly self-destructive madness?
That's what we always think when there's a murder-suicide, whether it's the Columbine shootings or a domestic dispute or something as uniquely bizarre as this case. Why did they have to take down others with them? If they were so miserable, why couldn't they at least have the decency to leave this world alone?
But that's because we're projecting a rational ethical thought process onto people who are in a suicidal mode -- and there's nothing more selfish than the urge to commit suicide. At that moment, those people are mentally and emotionally ill in a way that most of us can't possibly fathom. They're not thinking straight.
I'm not excusing Sliwinski's alleged actions. I'm just saying there are more than three victims in this terrible, terrible incident.
I was also moved by an obituary that ran in Monday's Tribune for Judee Ross, 45, who was struck and killed by a car going 65 to 70 mph in Chinatown last Saturday night, according to police. Thanks to a motorist who followed the car and contacted police, the hit-and-run driver was later arrested.
That motorist is a hero and deserves a commendation.
Ross taught 7th-grade English and literature in Milwaukee. According to the Tribune obituary, she was a Chicago native and was visiting her parents here. Her husband and daughter were with her at the time of the accident.
She sounds like a wonderful person. Imagine the heartache her family and her students must be experiencing.
All because of a simple, stupid, inexplicable twist of fate.
Longtime Chicago radio listeners might remember a guy named Don Geronimo, who was on WLS-AM and WBBM-FM in the 1980s and has popped up on local stations as a syndicated host. He never really connected with Chicago audiences, never came close to reaching the status of a Steve Dahl or a Jonathan Brandmeier here -- but he's been a pretty big star in other markets for a long time. These days Geronimo is the co-host of the nationally syndicated "Don and Mike Show."
Earlier this month, there was a 10-car pileup in Ocean City, Md. A Ford Explorer crossed the median to get around the pileup and hit a Lexus head-on.
The driver of the Lexus was Freda Wright-Sorce, wife of Don Geronimo. She died from her injuries.
The other driver? He'll be just fine -- at least physically.
According to news reports, Freda was an integral part of the show who often called in and had good-natured disputes with her husband. As one local newspaper put it, "[F]ans of radio's Don and Mike Show may have felt as though they'd lost a member of their own family . . . when they learned Don Geronimo's wife, Freda Wright-Sorce, had been killed in a car crash."
Three accidents. A total of five dead. But the drivers who allegedly caused these accidents? They'll be just fine.
At least physically.