Deep Thoughts by Richard Cameron
The Highland Park Shooter, Illinois State Gun Laws And The Crimo Family’s Damage Control
So I had a back and forth on Facebook with a friend who evidently had fallen prey to the talking point about the state of access to assault rifles so prevalent and so tired and inaccurate in the right wing watering holes of the internet, i.e., Breitbart and televised, Fox News, Newsmax, et al.
I refer to the refrain about “Illinois has some of the strictest gun laws in the country” and therefore, the argument goes, “you can’t stop bad people from accessing guns.” This was in the context of the most recent mass murder that occurred this last 4th of July weekend in Highland Park, Illinois.
The same was said after the mass killing in Buffalo, N.Y., with just the name of the state substituted. Curiously, it was not said in response to the shooting which snuffed out the lives of 19 schoolchildren and two of their teachers in Uvalde, Texas.
But that reference would not have served their narrative, because Texas has anything but strict laws governing access to firearms and specifically the sort of semi-auto rifles that hold high capacity ammunition magazines which can be used to kill dozens of people in a matter of a few seconds or a few minutes depending upon the level of experience the shooter has with the weapon.
The thrust of the fallacy about the “strictest gun laws in the country” is that, as I noted, gun laws, by and large, are futile and as such by implication, we should just resolve ourselves to that in order to enjoy the 2nd Amendment protected right of gun ownership and that people dying from an assailant’s bullets are a price to be paid for “freedom.”
That sentiment is entirely indefensible and morally and ethically corrupt, in my view, for many reasons, not the least of which is that you have to treat the 2nd Amendment as a rubber band that the framers intended us to stretch to the ultimate breaking point, which is to permit private ownership and use of weapons of war completely unrelated to anything that resembles the purpose or intent of a “Well Regulated Militia”.
Instead, with the present, intransigent gun cult, public safety is sacrificed on the alter of the selfish desire to own and use anything simply because they are a segment of society that has redefined freedom as something that responsibility is completely not tethered to.
Gun rights extremists will inevitably, if you have a long enough discussion with them, bring up Switzerland. The problem is, they don’t understand or don’t care to understand that the Swiss as a people and a nation, have a very dissimilar outlook on gun ownership than that which is propounded by the NRA element in America.
To get a sense of that, I strongly recommend this column by a former American law enforcement officer, Erin Zimmermann, who now lives in Zurich on a teaching assignment.
There was something else though that bookended the discussion, which was that, in the commenters’ estimation, bad people (such as Robert Crimo III the Highland Park shooter), can easily obtain implements of death in Illinois, while good people are stymied by the government authorities from purchasing guns for self defense.
I did have to correct that notion, because I had earlier in the day, learned that Crimo (what an appropriate moniker) had actually been able to purchase several guns legally in Illinois.
One of my responses in the thread, to the erroneous concept that Illinois’ gun laws as enforced are tighter than a drum, was the following:
“I guess the reason I ask is that if Illinois is the state with the “strictest gun control laws in the country”, and Crimo III with the assistance of Crimo II, could legally purchase (underage, no less) – not just one, not just two, not just three – but FIVE firearms, how could any other state you could name, be any more permissive in regard to obtaining a weapon that can kill scores of fellow humans is a matter of minutes, if not seconds, depending on how much time they spent practicing?”
And following that, the person I was engaging with injected that the only way Crimo could have purchased the arsenal of weapons he was found to have used and possessed, was if someone in the chain of transactions had cut corners or been party to an illicit process in the transaction. This is a variation on the theme of “the gun laws are tighter than a drum on the books, but there are ways to circumvent them, therefore laws are useless.”
I don’t dispute that there are ways to circumvent laws and that laws often are circumvented, however, I don’t consider that a competent argument to not attempt to regulate access to the deadliest of firearms which are, in all practical aspects, functionally the same as weapons of the battlefield. In the case of Crimo III, the transactions in which he acquired the guns were straight up according to the book.
Here is the outline from a report in the Daily Beast:
In a telephone interview on Wednesday, Red Dot’s owner said that the Lake Villa, Illinois, store was closed and that he was at home when ATF agents contacted him on Monday morning after the shooting at a July 4 parade.
He said he immediately made the 10-minute drive to the store and pulled the paperwork, a Form 4473 bearing the rifle’s serial number and Crimo’s name. “We meticulously do the paperwork,” the owner said. “That’s, that’s our job. That’s what we do to track.”Red Dot describes itself as “a multi-faceted business dedicated to the education of individuals on the proper use and care of firearms… Our family-owned business, headquartered in Lake Villa, Illinois, services our customers out of seven warehouses nationally, offering products from over 250 manufacturers.”The shop sells a range of AR-15s, AK-47s, and other rifles, starting at about $300. It also carries a variety of far-right merchandise, such as stickers glorifying armed militias like the 3 Percenters and others bearing slogans including “Molon Labe,” a taunt used by the right wing that means, “Come and take it.”Red Dot also offers training classes, and for $75, will help Illinois residents apply for a concealed carry permit. A senior law enforcement official told The Daily Beast the rifle was one of four firearms that Crimo purchased through Red Dot Arms. After the shooting, authorities said they seized a total of five guns from Crimo, including two rifles, handguns, and a shotgun.
The owner of Red Dot said of Crimo, “Most of these people doing these things are pretty stupid. Somebody that… would’ve put a thought [into] this would’ve grinded the serial number and we would’ve never found him.”
The last comment from the store owner, not identified in the article, is a remarkable unintended argument about why, not only are Illinois’ gun laws nowhere near as “stringent” as some people, including some reporters in the mainstream media represent them to be – but also a strong case for a ban on assault rifles.
In effect, the store owner is revealing that anyone who purchase such a gun from his or any other retail outlet, is “stupid” if they don’t bury their tracks by removing the unique identifiers on the weapon that would track it back to the records he maintains in his store.
And to bookend what we have learned in the national reporting so far, the shooter’s father, Robert Crimo II, told the New York Post tabloid that he, the father, wants it to be clear to everyone that he believes he has no personal responsibility or accountability to society for the actions of his son during the murderous rampage on the 4th.
“They make me like I groomed him to do all this. I’ve been here my whole life, and I’m gonna stay here, hold my head up high, because I didn’t do anything wrong.”
During an interview with ABC News, Crimo Jr. said he doesn’t regret cosigning on his son’s FOID card back in 2019. “Do I regret that? No, not three years ago — signing a consent form to go through the process … that’s all it was,” he said on the network. “Had I purchased guns throughout the years and given them to him in my name, that’s a different story.”
This is patently an example of poorly managed damage control. There is no effective difference between attesting to his son’s competence and state of mind to state authorities when applying for a FOID for the teenager and then signing off on it, as opposed to daddy personally purchasing the weapons.
The risk to the community is the same and the result – 7 dead and two dozen wounded is the same. A child shot by Crimo III in the massacre is now paralyzed, possibly for life and another toddler, who was found alive, beneath the body of his father, has lost both parents. But the killer’s father maintains he played no role. “You know, he drove there, he ordered them, he picked them up, they did his background check on each one,” said Crimo Jr., insisting he had “zero” involvement in the massacre.
Since those interviews, Crimo and his wife have lawyered up, apparently because not only did the clumsy attempt at damage control stink to high heaven, but it is far from certain that the father, if not both parents, might have criminal liabilities as well as obviously civil ones.
Here is a photo still of the mother of Crimo – Denise Pesina, having an unhinged rant at the police SWAT team during the active shooter response:
And would you care to guess what sort of professional reputation the attorney they have contracted has? Well, it is the Senior partner of the law firm that is also representing the serial sexual predator, R. Kelly.
We’ll of course, be watching how this tragic story continues to unfold, but in the meantime, there are more questions that may be answered in the coming days.
One that intrigues me is where did Crimo III obtain the funds for his cache of murder weapons – the one that was used and the others that were to be used in the next in his tour stop of carnage? The actual weapon used in Highland Park was an assault rifle from Messrs.. Smith & Wesson, an M&P15 to be exact.
This is a photo from the manufacturer’s website showing this model.
The description from S&W is pretty upbeat with no ominous overtones.
M&P15 Rifles are the ideal modern sporting rifle. Built to perform multiple uses under various conditions, M&P15 Rifles are as versatile as they are reliable. Engineered for a wide variety of recreational, sport shooting and professional applications, M&P15 Rifles are easy to accessorize, but hard to put down. M&P15 Rifles are lightweight and rugged embodying the best combination of function and form.
Also noted on the webpage for the M&P 15 is the retail price of over $800. Kind of an expensive toy that Crimo’s father claims he thought his son was just going to practice at the local shooting range with.