Red flags in Highland Park
Government, family, and friends dropped the ball in Highland Park.
Yesterday, Highland Park officials were saying that Robert Crimo was unknown to police. It turns out that wasn’t exactly true.
Late Tuesday, police detailed how Crimo was the subject of a 2019 police call relating to an attempted suicide. Officials said that police were dispatched to the Crimo home in April 2019 on a report that Crimo had tried to kill himself a week earlier.
“There was no law-enforcement action to be taken. It was a mental-health issue handled by those professionals,” Lake County Major Crime Task Force spokesman Christopher Covelli said at a news conference.
A few months later, in September, police were back after Crimo threatened his family.
“A family member reported that Crimo said he was going to kill everyone and Crimo had a collection of knives,” Covelli said. “The police responded to his residence. The police removed 16 knives, a dagger, and a sword from Crimo’s home.”
CNN reports that no arrest was made because there was no signed complaint. After that visit, Crimo bought five guns, including the murder weapon, which police said was "similar to an AR-15."
This presents a series of red flags. A few weeks ago, I wrote about the common threads present in spree killings and we can see several here. The suicide attempt, the threats, the dark social media posts. These should have triggered the Illinois red flag law. Why they did not is a mystery at this point.
I can speculate that Crimo’s family, which is prominent in Highland Park business and political circles may not have pressed the issue out of fear of embarrassment. They may also have not seen Crimo’s deteriorating mental state if they didn’t see his social media posts. It’s easy to imagine influential parents fighting to protect their son from arrest or confinement by mental health authorities.
In another piece of late-breaking news, Axios reported that Crimo’s father signed his firearms license, even after the death threats. If true, this could move the family’s involvement past negligence and towards liability.
I maintain that red flag laws can be a good idea and can save lives, but that is only true if they are used. In Highland Park, and in far too many other cases, the signs were there and the tools were available, but no one took the final step.
One answer may be in educating the public. People need to know both about the warning signs of potential spree killers as well as how and when to make red flag reports.
Spree killings are tragic, but the tragedy is even greater when the pieces to prevent the attack were in place. Both Crimo’s family and the local government dropped the ball, even though they may have had the best of intentions.
I realize that most of the mentally ill are not dangerous and I’m not trying to stigmatize mental illness, but that doesn’t mean that potentially dangerous people should have access to guns. We don’t do the dangerously unbalanced any favors when we shield them from doctors and agencies who may be able to treat their psychoses or at least protect them from themselves.
Look into the mass shooting database:
GUIDESTONE ATTACK: My parents live near the Georgia Guidestones in Elbert County. My mom texted this morning to say that they were awakened by a loud boom at about 4 am. This morning they found that the noise was someone attempting to blow up the Guidestones. They live several miles away and the explosion was loud enough to wake up my heavy-sleeper dad.
The Guidestones were placed by an anonymous benefactor in 1980 and were controversial due to the 10 recommendations carved in eight languages on large granite slabs. The monument has been likened to Stonehenge and conspiracy theorists have linked the site to the New World Order.
The monument is not totally destroyed but does appear to be heavily damaged.
The prime suspect among the Facebook sleuths appears to be a local pastor who has railed against the Guidestones in recent weeks.
Anyone who would act like the Taliban has no business calling themselves a “pastor.”
The weapon was a Smith & Wesson M&P15 semiautomatic rifle.