Robert Crimo III, the kind of guy Freddie Blassie warned us about, slipped under the red-flag-law radar to allegedly murder seven and wound dozens at a Highland Park, Illinois, Fourth of July parade.
That Mr. Crimo, who raises more red flags than a May Day rally, raised no red flags throws up red flags about red-flag laws.
Before hearing that Crimo cross-dressed during his murder spree, unsettling pictures of him had already evoked images of another murderer who dressed as a woman and looked as though he could not hurt a fly. Five-foot-eleven, 120 pounds raises a red flag.
Is not a face tattoo a red flag? Mr. Crimo’s facial ink includes five notches under his eye of the type one makes on a belt or bedpost and the number 47, which some speculate pertains to the character Agent 47 in a video game called Hitman, on his temple. The word “Awake” appears in cursive above an eyebrow.
This last tattoo indicates his nom de rapper. Mr. Crimo, aka Awake the Rapper, on “Out of This World” rhymes: “Falling to pieces/ I puzzled my thesis/ My thinking’s corrupted/ I just wanna sleep.” His videos, since removed by YouTube, depict a shootout with the cops and include a poster of Lee Harvey Oswald the way other kids his age might hang posters of Tom Brady or LeBron James.
Primo drove a car with the word “pussymobile” written on its rear. He allegedly posted pictures of himself with a sex doll that a fellow redditor wrote looked “12” but Crimo insisted in defense of himself was “15.” His discord channel reportedly included Faces of Death–style videos showing a suicide and a beheading. He neither worked a job nor attended school. He did not graduate from a traditional high school but instead, after intervention from a school counselor, received his education through homeschooling. Red flag. Red flag. Red flag. Red flag.
He attempted suicide in 2019 and later that year threatened to “kill everyone” where he lived. Police say they confiscated 16 knives, a sword, and a dagger following that threat. A coach at a youth sports program remembered the Crimo boys as the last picked up and him needing to call the parents to retrieve their kids. He said of Crimo’s mother, a self-styled energy healer: “It seemed like her kids were a nuisance to her.”
An uncle living on the same property told a Chicago reporter, “There’s been no warning signs as I saw.” He repeatedly insisted, “I saw no signs of trouble.”
Who’s crazier? The unemployed guy with face tattoos who posts videos of murders online or the people who insist on passing another assault-weapons ban, atop the one that already exists in Highland Park, and another red-flag law, atop the one that already exists in Illinois, to stop that unemployed guy with face tattoos?
Americans blame their laws because blaming our society requires more soul-searching and less scapegoating. We celebrate deviancy and judge only those who dares to judge a book by its cover. We prefix antisocial online activity with the word “social” and find nothing amiss with music that celebrates school shootings. Parental neglect shocks nobody. We regard driving around with an obscenity painted on a car as not an outrage but a right. Ditto for posting death videos online. Our obsession with rights blinds us to wrongs.
A CBS News article on the alleged murderer’s escape reports that “Crimo is believed to have blended into the crowd.” What does it say about our crowd that a man with tattoos on his face, crazy in his eyes, and a woman’s clothes on his body blends into the crowd?