In 1990, Nancy Bishop Langert, who was three months pregnant, was shot to death along with her husband, Richard Langert, in their Winnetka townhome. Twenty-two years later, her legacy continues to inspire others — demonstrated by the fact that she used her last few minutes of life to spell out one last message of love.
“She dragged herself to her husband and drew a heart and ‘U’ in her own blood,” Jennifer Bishop-Jenkins, Nancy’s sister, explained at a New Trier Democrats panel on gun control held Sunday.
The Langerts had been shot with a .357 Magnum in the basement of their Winnetka home by David Biro, a New Trier High School senior, according to an April 9, 1992 Chicago Reader article. Biro, who was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, never gave a clear reason for why he killed the Langerts.
However, the Reader article states, Biro was “notorious within the police department,” and in the past had attempted to poison the milk in his family’s refrigerator, shot a 7 year old with a BB gun, set another child’s clothing on fire and fired a BB gun at a woman in a car, shattering her windows.
Bishop-Jenkins, a former high school teacher, has actively sought to end gun violence since her sister’s murder. She has served on the board of the Illinois Coalition Against the Death Penalty, as the state president for the Million Moms March/Brady Campaign and is a volunteer with the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence.
“That event changed my life,” Bishop-Jenkins said about the murders. “That event helped me to understand that there are so many people that have suffered because of gun violence.”
Her dedication to preventing other families from having to experience what she went through, as well as the countless hours that she’s spent counseling families of murder victims, made her especially upset by the Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA) email sent out to get pro-gun advocates to attend the New Trier Democrat’s panel.
In the email, Bishop-Jenkins — as well as the other panelists — are described as “the people who don’t care if you or your family members are raped, robbed and murdered by violent criminals. They only care about one thing — disarming you.”
“There are no words,” Bishop-Jenkins said of the email, as she choked back her tears. “I’ve spent the last 22 years working every day with the victims of violent crime. This is a horrible thing to say.”
She continued, noting that the line in the email about wanting to disarm gun owners wasn’t true.
“Disarming you — that’s not true,” she said. “We do not support bans. We only support three things — uniformed background checks, no military-style assault weapons in the hands of citizens and regulating the traffic of guns.”
“You cannot address the problem of guns with more guns,” she continued. “We have to prevent guns from getting into the wrong hands. It’s not a threat to their interpretation of the second amendment. … They’re paranoid.”
The New Trier Democrats panel on gun control was delivered to a lively audience, made up largely of pro-gun advocates. You can read more about the event here and about the Illinois State Rifle Association's plan to pack the audience here and here.