Tragedy can strike anywhere

The Darrell Brooks case and how to stay safe when in a crowd


Emma Zulawski, General Editor

I know why you did this. You did this because you weren’t in a cage … All I can ask is that you rot, and you rot slow.

— Chris Owen, son of one of the victims

Imagine your high school band being asked to perform in the annual county Christmas parade. You all are so excited as you prepare outfits, songs, formations, and signs. When the day comes along and the nerves start to build up minutes before you start to march. Once the moment comes and next thing you know you watch a car drive through the parade and witness traumatizing sites. This is something we should never have to worry about.

In Waukesha, Wisconsin on November 21, 2021, Darrell E. Brooks got in his red Ford Escape SUV to leave a domestic situation going on at home. He was previously arrested after physically hitting his ex-girlfriend and hitting her with the same car he drove through the parade with. When recklessly driving through the county, he plowed through the Christmas parade carelessly. This action injured 67 people and killed 6 people. While driving, it is said that he continued fleeing police even with shots fired at his vehicle and an officer banging on the roof of it. 

His trial over this last year has posed many interesting and intriguing moments. Originally, Darrell Brooks had pleaded not guilty under the reason of insanity. This ended later with Brooks removing his plea without giving any sort of explanation. He has had many outrageous outbreaks inside the courtroom as well. The judge, Jennifer Dorow, removed Brooks into another courtroom so he could engage in the trial online. There were multiple times when Judge Jennifer Dorow had to mute Brooks’ microphone due to him being disruptive in the middle of people talking. He would also hide behind the walls of his legal documents or take his shirt off while not facing the camera. In the end, Darrell Brooks was charged with a life sentence in prison without parole for all six accounts of homicide that were committed. Included in that was a sentence of 1,067 years in prison because of endangerment charges. This is mainly because the death penalty is not legal in Wisconsin. 

This story makes us circle back to the story that was told at the beginning of this article. Imagine how kids all across the country feel who are a part of bands at their schools. The fear is put into their minds when people just like them are being seriously hurt at their favorite events. This causes us to think about the safety precautions we should be taking when conducting events like these. 

For people in bands this is what I would recommend : 

Always be aware of your surroundings. Scan the area and be familiar with the route before you start if you are able to. Something like this could save a life if you know convenient places to quickly move to in dangerous situations. 

For spectators this is what I would say :

 It’s the same but different. Though you should be aware of your surroundings all the time just like everyone else. You also have a better chance at hearing something than the performers who have a million different instruments blasting in their ears. If you hear or see something obviously get your family, kids, and yourself in safety. But if you come across a chance to save another child’s life then those chances are the best to take. 

This whole situation proves that everything can be turned into a tragic and traumatizing event in seconds. No matter what, everyone should try their best to stay safe and help keep others safe as well. At the end of the day, you can’t have fun if you aren’t safe. 

For the band kids who love what they do, never stop doing it. Don’t let this event scare you from participating in these fun events. Just always have your safety in mind.