We could not get through the 4th of July this year without another mass shooting, deaths, and violent carnage in America. Not just one, mind you, but several around the country. In Highland Park, an affluent suburb just north of Chicago, a 21-year-old nutcase planned for months to reign terror during the community’s holiday parade. He did that and more, with the death count at seven with dozens wounded and some clinging to life in hospitals.
Mass murders are a way of life in America these days and the rampant use of firearms is a promotional tool of gun junkies like the corrupt National Rifle Association, who posted a holiday video on Twitter, noticed by columnist Christine Emba:
At 9:38 a.m. on July 4, the National Rifle Association tweeted a triumphant video featuring a bald eagle superimposed over a waving American flag.
Over the jaunty notes of “Stars and Stripes Forever,” a voice intoned: “The only reason you’re celebrating Independence Day is because citizens were armed. Happy Fourth of July from the National Rifle Association of America.”
Just a few hours later in Highland Park, Ill., a gunman perched sniper-style on a rooftop fired dozens of rounds from a high-powered rifle into a crowd of July Fourth parade-goers, killing at least seven people and sending dozens to the hospital with injuries.
Police say Robert E. Crimo III, 21, was known to be a trouble maker and threat. In 2019, a member of his family told police he pledged to “kill everyone” and they found a collection of tactical knives, a Japanese sword, and more in his home. That visit and other encounters were part of police files, yet Illinois, a state with tougher gun laws than many others, gave him a gun permit in December of that year. His father sponsored his application for the gun owner’s permit that allowed him to buy at least four guns, two of them high-powered rifle assault-style rifles including the one that police say Crimo used to fire more than 80 rounds on July 4th to kill at least seven and wound dozens more in Highland Park.
Crimo was the son of a well-known businessman who once ran for Mayor, newspapers reported this week.
The shooting in Highland Park also closely followed the passage of a federal law that has been hailed as the most significant piece of gun legislation in decades. That measure, passed in the wake of mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde, Texas, enhances background checks for buyers ages 18 to 21, requiring for the first time that juvenile records, including mental health records beginning at age 16, be vetted for material that identifies young buyers as a danger to themselves or others.
While many details about Mr. Crimo’s personal history remained hazy, it was possible — but not certain — that he could have been flagged for additional scrutiny had the federal law been passed earlier. Officials did not provide the exact dates that Mr. Crimo bought his rifles, but indicated that they had been bought in 2020 and 2021. Mr. Crimo turned 21 last year.
I worked in Illinois for 12 years as a reporter and columnist for The Telegraph downstate. To own a gun, residents there were required to have a “firearm owners identification card,” a permit to own weapons but many in the state had guns without such cards.
“Unfortunately, every time a mass shooting occurs it serves as a stark reminder that our gun laws often fall short of the rigorous standards that feel like common sense to most Americans,” said Illinois Gov. J. D. Pritzker, a Democrat who has called for more, not less, gun control in the state but this week was vague on whether or not existing laws worked to prevent someone like Crimo to own a gun.
The governor did issue a prepared statement calling for stricter gun control laws and “greater awareness of existing restrictions.”
We doubt that typical routine statement means much to those who lost loved ones in Highland Park and other parts of this country in another long holiday weekend of routine mass murder in America.