Could More be Done?
Natasha McShane and her friend Stacy Jurich were the victims of the outrageous early morning “bat attack” in April 2010. The young women were returning to Jurich’s Bucktown home after a night of celebration in Chicago when they had their purses snatched and were viciously attacked under the viaduct at 1800 N. Damen Avenue by 34-year-old Heriberto Viramontes, now serving a prison sentence of 90 years. His accomplice, the 28-year-old Marcy Cruz, who drove the getaway vehicle, is serving a 22-year sentence.
Those women’s high hopes and dreams were dashed that night because of that pathetic scenario. McShane was 23 and a graduate student from Northern Ireland, who came here to study at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Jurich was a 24-year-old financial planner from Bridgeport.
Many Chicagoland communities, especially the Irish, rallied strongly to support these women and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to assist in their care.
While both suffered enormously, physically and emotionally, Natasha remains severely disabled and can hardly talk or walk because of major injuries to her brain. She has been living back in her family’s Silverbridge, County Armagh, home in Northern Ireland.
I think it is crucial to remember that all people who have experienced losses in life may be able to recover some of them. Therefore, I would like to believe that these young women still have within them chances to reclaim significant aspects of their physical and emotional functioning. If the health care professionals involved in their cases would consider reexamining their potentials, what a superb humanitarian gift that would be. Perhaps Natasha could come here for reexamination, or the appropriate professionals could go there.
Chicago has been experiencing more violence than anyone cares to think about.
Regardless, and on the anniversary of that unspeakable night, I prefer to believe that there is hope for further improvement for both women and that one’s history does not imply one’s destiny.
(Pictured:1. Natasha McShane; 2. Stacy Jurich)
Leon J. Hoffman, Ph.D.