The Elephant in the Room

A Grieving Mother’s Letter to Bernie Sanders

The Ambivalence of Hypocrisy

I love Hillary and Bernie, they both talk about a fair society and their truths as to what can be achieved within the desert of political greed and power, the battle of the 99% versus the 1%, the struggle to leave our kids a better world than the one we were handed.
I don’t take to bashing Bernie for minutia stuff nor will I participate in it, but the white elephant in the room is the one that can not be explained by any other words other than the ambivalence of hypocrisy.


I just saw Bernie speaking from the Vatican about his position on climate change, the rich vs. poor, and fossil fuels, all fitting to our global society. And as I listen tears start flowing, anger starts building, impotence. He can not be denied the authentic concerns he has over world affairs and the disenfranchised. But my tears are about the MILLIONS of citizens in this part of the world who have been victimized and hundreds of thousands killed because of an unrestrained gun industry who made it possible for him to be elected, the one whom he served very well when the 2005 PLCAA Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act was enacted.


Where is his compassion for these disenfranchised citizens? Are we not a large enough block to become part of his world concerns? He represents the dreams of many and that includes me. But the purity of believes he promotes defy logic in the face of a position which has not protected the many who have and continue to be victimized in his own country. The visuals are good…yes he looks presidential, yes he is reaching out to the leader of the Catholic world him being Jewish, yes Christian Catholics over here will love it, yes he is in sync with global concerns, but… he is not in sync with gun violence…not here, not globally, Bernie is one of the bought deniers of our citizens’ human rights, Bernie is giving a lofty speech about everyone else’s human rights and morality. It is laughable at minimum to accuse Hillary of accepting contributions from Wall Street suggesting influence peddling when he owes his position in congress to the NRA whom he has served very well.


And when we see the history surrounding the PLCAA enactment in 2005, by that pen stroke many of us who were in the midst of seeking justice through the courts across the nation were instantly denied. With that pen stroke you Mr. Sanders did forfeit your stake in what you call “moral economy” By denying the human rights of victims and survivors of gun violence you have in fact denied our existence in your world of lofty dreams you trumpet.


Where is the moral economy you talk about when the ones who through negligence or greed or both handed a death sentence to us unsuspecting citizens?, where is the moral economy in your aspirations when a mom and dad are denied justice, forced into bankruptcy and ordered to pay for court costs for the offenders??. You talk about the globalization of indifference when you are too busy to hear our side, too proud to say I am sorry?? It is only we Mr. Sanders, we are the exemption to the world…and yes Bernie, and you are a hypocrite.

Maria Pike

As the Lake County State’s Attorney, I am honored and humbled every day to lead the fight against crime, and to strive to ensure equal and just treatment under the law. I have been an attorney for twenty-two years – and each of those years has made me a stronger and smarter advocate for people, for ideas, and for the principles that unite us all.

I am so proud to lead an office of 140 dedicated colleagues who serve the public by prosecuting crime, advocating for victims, and planning crime prevention programs. I am also proud to work with hundreds of Lake County police officers on a daily basis to connect with every community and to develop comprehensive, holistic plans to respond to the mental health and economic crisis that arose from the COVID-19 pandemic.

On one particular day, July 4, 2022, I was saddened, inspired, and motivated by the bravery of so many people. We will always stand with the victims and honor the police and other first responders who ran toward the danger. Just as so many heroes that day thought only of themselves, I also witnessed the prosecutors in my office answer the call to serve survivors and their community – even on one of its darkest days.

Every moment that I have been your legal representative, I have worked tirelessly to oversee prosecutions and to implement policies that make my family and my neighbors safer in the short term and in the long term. That is the job of the State’s Attorney: to prosecute, to innovate, and to strategically plan.

I was raised in a small town. My parents are teachers, and from them, I learned that everyone must be treated equally and that America’s sacred mission is to provide a political, economic, and legal system that allows anyone to prosper regardless of the circumstances of their birth. After graduating from Knox College and the University of Chicago Law School, I spent two years at a first-rate civil law firm in Chicago where I learned that hard work and attention to detail on every case mean the difference between success and failure.

With my wonderful wife Stephanie, I am raising my two sons, Sam and Teddy, in Lake County. Nothing is more important to me than my family’s safety and I bring that passion and determination to protect all families with me to work every day.

I joined the Lake County Public Defender’s Office in 2003 and started my own law firm in 2009. From 2003 until 2020, I watched the Lake County legal system fail to prioritize violent crime, prevent wrongful prosecutions, or address racial disparities.

So, in 2019, I decided to run for State’s Attorney so that I could serve our community by improving a local legal system that cared more about covering up its mistakes and biases than uncovering new and innovative ways to help people.

I won the 2020 election, and became the first Democrat to hold this position in 40 years. Bringing in a new party wasn’t as important as ending 40 years of one mindset that had forgotten the people and that had failed to act urgently to develop new strategic plans to prevent crime while also ensuring that each prosecution is smart, moral, and just.

We have followed through on our promises. We have built the first-ever violent crimes unit, increased prosecutors in our domestic violence division, and vastly upgraded our cyber lab. Now, we have top-notch software and personnel to finally keep up with those who would exploit others.

We have been awarded a large federal grant to bring the first ever Human Trafficking Task Force to Lake County. We have deepened our investment in people by bringing in more victim specialists and raising the salaries of many of our prosecutors.

But the work goes on. We must expand our prevention efforts that are starting with the Gun Violence Prevention Initiative launched in 2022. And we know that the opioid crisis touches thousands of lives throughout this country.

I am proud to serve on the Executive Board of the Lake County Opioid Initiative which has been working tirelessly since its founding in 2012 to reverse a devastating trend of increased overdoses. In 2022, our office was part of a national settlement against opioid manufacturers and distributors.

As an attorney of 22 years, I have committed my life to helping people, and I have conducted over 70 jury trials in Lake County, and handled appeals that have culminated in over 20 oral arguments before the appellate court and Supreme Court of Illinois.

I see my time in this office as the next phase of helping a community that I love and where I have chosen to raise my family. In my first term, we have made Lake County safer and fairer through just prosecutions, constitutional policing, and innovative crime prevention policies.