Three Questions For Amoral NRA and Soulless Gun Manufacturers To Address

Has the NRA offered to pay for any of the funerals in Highland Park or assist in millions of dollars in hospital costs for the injured?

How do the NRA and soulless gun manufacturers expect gun victims without adequate health insurance to pay for the enormous costs associated with mass shootings?

Do the NRA and soulless gun manufacturers push for a blood drive where mass shootings take place and scores are wounded and rushed to local hospitals? Or are they too busy counting blood money from their gun sales?

Why Are Guns More Important Than This Kid Being Able To Walk?

Why do we fight for gun control in the nation?

No one needs their personal gun(s) more than this child needs to walk. Period.

This 8-year-old boy shot in the 4th of July parade in Highland Park is now paralyzed from the waist down.

Cooper Roberts, one of the Roberts family’s twin 8-year-old boys, had remained in critical condition for several days with a severed spinal cord.

On Friday, Cooper was removed from the ventilator and was conscious for the first time, but it was confirmed that the boy is paralyzed from the waist down, close friend and family spokesman Anthony Loizzi said in a statement.

“Cooper is asking to see his 8-year-old twin Luke and his dog George,” the statement said.

The reason there is so much legitimate anger, revulsion, and utter repudiation for the selfish and soulless gun advocates and those within the blood-soaked NRA is that their actions and amoral behavior create the conditions where Cooper is to live his life in a wheelchair.

If you have in any way supported the NRA or voted for their political puppets who have undermined gun legislation in our nation then you must carry the weight that is now the future of a kid who can not walk.

Cooper was described as a boy who likes to play sports and is a fan of the Milwaukee Brewers.

But at least some angry men around the nation have their guns today. And can buy more this weekend! Maybe even get their father to ‘sponsor’ them so they can get a high-powered weapon.

Bad Parenting And Mass Shooter In Highland Park

On July 14th I turn another year older and it seems each year at this time I spend a bit of time pondering life, looking back nostalgically and also sizing up where life has taken me. This year, given the gravity of the headlines following the mass shooting in Highland Park and the additionally troubling news of the shooter traveling to Middleton and the Madison area, makes me most aware of how adrift society has landed from when I was in my early 20s.

I am not lacking knowledge as to the differences in generations and the types of stresses and issues that current parents and children encounter in life. Technology alone has altered the landscape from how teachers conduct classes to how kids ask someone out for a Saturday night movie. Granted, I was born in 1962 in a rural county in Wisconsin.  Many can, up to a point, claim ‘things were much different’ then, and they would be accurate.  But only up to a point. 

What I have argued and at times it might appear even preached, is that there is no reason the same common-sense rules of the road for parenting that my mom and dad employed should not apply today. A large portion of my first book Walking Up The Ramp (second book to be published later this summer) speaks to how mom and dad raised a boy to be a man. The very foundations that applied in my home, along with the vast number of my fellow classmates during the years of schooling were not old-fashioned or ‘dated’. Rather the problem today is that in too many cases they too often have been cast aside. Worse still, not even entertained as a path of raising a kid.

I was flabbergasted to read, and sadly see, Denise Pesina, the mother of mass shooter Bobby Crimo pulled down her top and exposed her right breast while confronting the professional SWAT personnel waiting to enter her home following the slaughter during the Fourth of July parade. That act was one more piece of the growing puzzle as to the lack of character of the killer’s parents and what type of home environment existed. Perhaps the photo can be used for her end-of-the-year holiday letter?

Her action was not a ‘one-off’ and pardon me the bad pun. Such behavior does not just occur, but rather resembles the makeup of the person, err…’parent’.

Nothing, however, proves the lack of parenting skills or the total disregard for community safety more clearly than when Robert Crimo, Jr., the father of the mass shooter, signed off on his son’s application for a deadly gun in December 2019. That occurred despite Bobby having two previous encounters with local police, including one in September 2019 where he allegedly threatened to “kill everybody” in his family.

Sure get him a deadly weapon! What possibly could be the harm in doing so?

With such a delusional frame of mind can my readers imagine the father as the mayor of Highland Park? His political background and the news from this week underscore how correctly voters were when gauging him at the ballot box.

Obviously, there will be a criminal investigation into the culpability of the father, and legal fees for his actions, we can only hope, are extravagant, given the scope of the deadly and heinous crimes committed by his son. We can strongly assume the father will slink away and not be ever again seeking public office or pressing for lax gun control measures.

As I have done a couple of times previously on Caffeinated Politics I again offer a few ideas that either were in place when I was a kid or ones that clearly had no need to ever be addressed because we had a solid family foundation. I wonder how many of the ones below were not included in the Crimo home and treated as a daily routine?

Sadly, we know the father had no regard for gun safety given his reckless actions regarding his son. Meanwhile, it is reported the wife has been separated from the husband, and it appears the family home is soon to be facing foreclosure.

  1. Kids need to be read to from day one.  Books need to be in a home and used as an everyday item same as a plate or spoon.
  2. There is no excuse to miss school except for sickness.
  3. Schoolwork is front and center in the evening.
  4. One may not have lots of money but there can still be an investment made in education.  Attending parent/teacher meetings or volunteering at the local school are but two ways to impact a child’s education.
  5. From the start know who your kids interact with and the quality of people they spend time with when the parent is not around.  Alerting them from the start about the quality of friends can be most important.
  6. Every day there is a time when all in the family meet for dinner (supper) and no electronic gadgets are allowed at the table.  Talk centers on whatever took place in the lives gathered.  Fostering good communication skills for the whole family is a most undervalued asset in times of turmoil. 
  7. Kids do not smoke in the house.
  8. No drugs are allowed in the house.
  9. No guns or other weapons are allowed in the house.
  10. There is an expectation from Day One that learning is important and respect for oneself and others is never to falter.
  11. No one even hints at dropping out of high school.

Times change but common sense does not.  Young people who make awful choices need to take their share of responsibility for what happens.  But parents need to step up their game and help society create the next generation of adults we would want as our neighbors.

We saw this week what happens when parents do not meet their obligations. Not only to their children but also to society.

Chicago Sun-Times Reporter Lynn Sweet At Highland Park, “Worst Mass Attack In Recent Illinois History”

When it comes to news reporting from the Windy City along with political insight few come better than Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times. To say I have respected this reporter for decades would be an understatement. When it comes to solid writing and a tenaciousness for getting information Sweet is the type of journalist who always gets praised on this blog.

While I enjoy newspapers between my fingers after they land on my front stoop the decades-long appreciation I have for the Sun-Times makes it the only digital paper to be read daily at our home.

So very early this morning—or very late last night–I read a most impressive article by Sweet, who was at the Highland Park parade when hell opened up. One that I will post below in its entirety, something I seldom do. But given a paywall and the power of her words, I take this exception and simply ask that you read the following.

You know why I’m writing this.

I was at the Highland Park Fourth of July parade.

Not as the Sun-Times Washington bureau chief. As a civilian. I’m staying with my sister over this holiday. She lives in Highland Park, which is approximately 25 miles north of Chicago’s downtown. More than 30,000 people live there.

I just wanted to go to this parade and enjoy the day. Hang out with friends. Maybe after the parade, go to one of the stunning Lake Michigan beaches that hug this North Shore suburb. Or maybe have a swim at the Highland Park pool, next to the fire station. That fire station transformed into an emergency operations center after the unimaginable — is this a cliché? — happened.

In a matter of seconds, a sniper — using a high-powered, rapid-fire weapon — slaughtered six people and wounded dozens of others as the parade made its way down Central Avenue in downtown Highland Park.

The parade started about 10 a.m. I’m at the start of the route.

Leading off the parade were fire engines from Highland Park, sirens blaring in a good way — before the world changed in this suburban city at 10:14 a.m., when the sniper started shooting from a rooftop.

There was a color guard — four sailors, two with rifles on their shoulders. Soon after that, the Highland Park City Council marched, led by Mayor Nancy Rotering — who a few minutes after she passed me would be dealing with a massacre on what was supposed to be a day of celebration.

The blue-shirted members of the Highland Park High School band stepped off playing “It’s a Grand Old Flag.” Then the marchers from the League of Women Voters from Highland Park and Highwood.

It was all so delightfully normal.

Then it wasn’t.

I was watching and listening to the Maxwell Street Klezmer Band perform on top of a flatbed truck when I saw people running away from Central Avenue. “A shooter,” someone said. I saw terrified people run into an underground garage, looking for safety from the bullets.

As people were fleeing the scene, I hustled toward it. Please don’t make a big deal that I did it. I’m a reporter.

I saw, frozen in time, what people left when they fled. So many baby carriages. Folding chairs. Backpacks. Water bottles. Towels. Blankets. Police were asking people to leave the active shooting scene.

As I approached Port Clinton Square, by the reviewing stand, I saw a woman down. I don’t know if she was dead or alive. Two people were leaning over her. I saw another woman on the ground.

Then, near a bench in the square, I came upon a pool of blood, ruby red blood. There was so much blood, that the blood puddle was lumpy because so much already coagulated. The shape of the blood — was this a twisted Rorschach test? — looked like a handgun to me.

I’m going into this gruesome detail because this is what gun violence from a rapid-fire weapon with an apparent high capacity magazine looks like. My sister, Neesa, on Central near the railroad tracks, heard two sequences of rapid fire. The pause is likely when the shooter switched out magazines.

I saw my first body of the day. A blanket covered the top of the man. His shorts were soaked with blood. His legs were bloody and blood was still flowing out of him. Two more bodies were on the steps leading into Port Clinton. Thankfully, someone threw blankets over their torsos.

We know that a “person of interest” has been apprehended. He’s local, 22 years old, grew up here. We all wonder about his motive.

As I’m writing this, a friend just sent me a note from his rabbi about a member of North Shore Congregation Israel who was murdered Monday.

Both President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris spoke about the horror in Highland Park. Harris will be in Chicago on Tuesday and it’s likely she will further address gun violence. Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Sen. Tammy Duckworth, with Rotering and many law enforcement officials, gave a press briefing from that firehouse — the one next to the city’s pool, where we were supposed to be celebrating our nation’s independence.

The Highland Park mass shooting is getting global attention, as it should: It’s the worst mass attack in recent Illinois history.

As we mourn the Highland Park victims, let’s not forget the chronic loss of life in Chicago happening almost every day from gun violence.

On Chicago’s South and West sides, nine people were killed and at least 52 others were wounded by gunfire in Chicago as of Monday evening on this Fourth of July weekend.

In May, the massacres in Buffalo and Uvalde were added to the tragically growing list of mass shootings in the U.S.

And now Highland Park.

I’ve been reporting on gun massacres for years — since the 1999 Columbine school shootings. But always from a distance. I wasn’t there when the killing happened.

Until this July Fourth.

When I was.

###

White Male Shooter Brings Pall Over July 4th, 6 Dead In Highland Park, Men Should Ask Why?

A Lake County police officer walks through chairs and bikes left behind on the Central Avenue parade route sidewalk near the scene of the Highland Park mass shooting. Chicago Tribune photo.

Shortly after noon on July 4th, I took the American flag off of our flagpole. It was not any ordinary American flag, but a special one that I fly one day a year.

I took it out of its special plastic container late Sunday night and hoisted it up the flagpole. Only on Independence Day does the flag which had flown over Mount Vernon on the day of our visit fly proudly at our home. That flag represents a touchstone of history, and also underscores my respect for not only George Washington but the Founding Fathers as a whole.

But when the news was reported of the mass shooting Monday morning in Highland Park, killing 6 and injuring about 30, I walked outside and took the flag down. There was simply no way that flag was going to fly at half-staff on July 4th.

Not for a nation that simply refuses to coherently address gun violence.

We are the only industrialized nation in the world that allows for the bloodshed and carnage to continue without taking firm and resolute actions. Or as one might say back home where I was raised, not willing to shuck the issue down to the cob.

A couple of weeks ago Congress was so gleeful about the meek and timid gun legislation that was passed. Yes, it was better than nothing at all, but still impotent when addressing the real needs when it comes to guns and violence in America.

At the time of the Senate passing the measure I was listening to some music as I mowed our lawn. A song called 40 Miles From Poplar Bluff was on my playlist and a line from that long ago tune says and daddy’s morning coffee came from ol’ left over grounds.

That is how I view the gun law. Weak, timid, and akin to leftover coffee grounds. It is so far from where the nation needs our legislative bodies to be when addressing gun violence.

No one should be surprised that on July 4th a mass shooting took place, that another white male is being sought (as of this writing the killer is yet to be apprehended), or that there will be more mass shootings this week. After all, this is only the start of the week.

I had already awoken to WGN radio news which reported at least 55 people had been shot, seven fatally, in the 4th of July holiday weekend violence in Chicago. Every weekend there are scores of reasons in that one city, alone, that scream out why true gun control measures need to be passed in this country.

And we know why there need to be federal laws so to stem gun violence like on the streets of the Windy City.

The guns that end up on Chicago’s streets often come from Indiana and Wisconsin. In 2019, of more than 11,000 guns confiscated by Illinois authorities, 460 were traced back to Wisconsin, which ranked third for states with the most gun traces outside of Illinois, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. (I wrote about this issue, and had my column published at Urban Milwaukee.)

Today we are reading and watching the news reports of yet another man committing a mass shooting. Almost every mass shooter in the United States is a man. And white men are the most responsible for such shootings.

As NPR has reported, researchers say that men, more than women, tend to externalize their problems and look for others to blame, which can translate into anger and violence. And when women do choose violence, guns are not typically their weapon of choice.

If men vastly outnumber women as mass shooters, those perpetrators are often a model for the next male shooters, who “see themselves in them,” Peterson said, a phenomenon that she noted is particularly true among young, white men. Violence Project data show that white men are disproportionately responsible for mass shootings more than any other group.

Too many white males in the nation, (some who would have us believe they are now a discriminated group because we demand they act reasonably in society) become agitated and even outraged when it is pointed out that they are the leading cause of mass shootings in our nation. Not only does our nation have too many guns that are easily accessible, but we also have some males who think their perceived grievances give them license to act out in any way they desire.

Why are there so many white men who when confronted with the rigors of life resort to violence? Why are so many of the group unable to cope with their emotions and find avenues for productive and healthy living? How did we raise in this nation such a group of misfits?

If you listen to some of the twaddle on Fox News you will know they fear masculinity is being drained from males. They actually talk about such absurd topics on prime time. Meanwhile, the streets of our country are seen to be overrun by what can be correctly termed toxic masculinity.

Today a young white male killed six and injured scores. Guns are to blame, for sure. So, too, is whatever is wrong with too many white men.

Texas Mass Shooting With Editorial Cartoons

Nothing can put forth a message like a well-crafted editorial cartoon. Here, then, are some of the ones regarding the Texas massacre of 19 school children and two adults that made an impression at this blogging desk.

Front Page Of Texas Newspapers Tell Story Of National Gun Crisis, 21 Dead From Assualt Weapon

It was Tuesday in America. More gun violence. Another mass shooting.

The result of allowing this continuing assault on our children, our communities, our common sense, and our decency is now defining who we are as a nation, and a people.

The mass shootings and use of weapons designed for military purposes must be addressed in our nation. These assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines being allowed for purchase are pathetic and very much earn us the ridicule from nations around the world who have passed gun control laws so to protect their societies from what we glibly call ‘our right’.

Last night, we turned into the Late Show with Stephen Colbert as New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was a guest. The tragic alignment of events in Uvalde and her appearance on the show made for a meaningful conversation to watch.

On the program, she talked about her country instituting strict gun-control laws and a gun-buyback plan in the wake of the 2019 Christchurch mosque shootings. It was a far-right extremist who killed 51 people which alerted the nation that something was required for the safety of their society. It needs to be noted that in just weeks the nation passed a bill, with only one lawmaker out of 120 opposing, that has–and the data proves the point–curbed gun violence in the nation.

New Zealand’s elected officials did not ask any NRA goonish type organization how to proceed, or what they might do to deflect their national conversation away from the gun issue that stared them in the face. They did not whimper and kneel to gun makers and their lobbyists.

Gosh, the elected officials found their role as leaders to be paramount, and then acted.

So, it can be done.

That we do not act is shameful. The world knows that, too.

Gunmakers, NRA, Unconscionable Clowns Within GOP Need To Be Held Accountable For 19 Dead School Children

We drove back into our driveway at about 8 P.M Tuesday evening. James took some food we picked up at a local restaurant into our home and I made my way to the front of the house. Our American flag was flying at full staff and so I took it all the way down, as is proper at such times, and then brought it back up to half-staff.

Once again, our nation is forced to reckon with yet one more dastardly mass shooting. Nineteen children were blown to pieces (as of this posting), along with a school teacher because our nation has knelt down to the gun lobby, NRA, and the most unconscionable clowns who reside below the curbside within the Republican Party.

We had been out for a long afternoon drive and outing celebrating our 22nd anniversary as a couple. Sirius radio from the 50s and 60s played throughout the day, and we dodged most of the sprinkles. Life was good.

In Middleton, I had switched to AM 780, WBBM Newsradio from Chicago, thinking some early primary election returns would be reported. Instead, President Biden was speaking. Before he had finished no more than a few words, and with only the gravity of his tone to alert me, made me reach my hand out and grab James’ forearm.

Something dire had occurred.

The second-deadliest shooting at an elementary, middle, or high school on record in the United States had occurred in Uvalde, Texas.

The school children, ranging from second through fourth-graders, were in that frame of mind that we all know so well. Only a couple more days of classes, than a summer break with vacations, friends, and county fairs. The last day of school was to be Thursday.

Then a gunman wearing body armor came into the classrooms and used his assault weapon with a high-capacity magazine to shred the bodies of boys and girls sitting at their desks. The carnage and images that some children witnessed will require therapy and counseling.

Adolfo Hernandez described to the media what his nephew, who was in the building at the time of the madness, witnessed.

“He actually witnessed his little friend get shot in the face. The friend, he said, “got shot in the nose and he just went down, and my nephew was devastated.”

From the White House, President Biden reacted as the bulk of the nation is doing.

“It’s just sick,” he said regarding the insanity of allowing weapons designed for the battlefield to be able to be purchased and used by anyone who can buy one.

“Where in God’s name is our backbone, the courage to do more and then stand up to the lobbies? It’s time to turn this pain into action.”

But Biden, as much as I appreciate him, did not come anywhere near to how a very large segment of the nation feels tonight.

Our national revulsion tonight is aimed at the greedy and soulless manufacturers and merchants of deadly guns, the callous and subhuman lobbyists of the National Rifle Association, and the dregs of the Republican Party who have no other skills than to ape the nonsense they hear from their puppet masters on FOX News and conservative politicians.

Investigators say the 18-year-old gunman was able to get his hands on a handgun, an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, high-capacity magazines, and body armor.

It was also reported this evening on NPR that the NRA will hold its annual meeting in Houston starting on Friday. Not for the first time on this blog do I offer a way for the amoral members of that association to understand what they are doing to the nation.

We have long known the NRA is thy most dangerous lobbying group in America.  The bullshit response of ‘guns don’t kill, people kill’ gags the nation like rotten eggs left in a Texas car in mid-July.   Only the most severely uneducated rube or overly blind partisan would ever make such a stupid claim.

I think the top lobbyists and promoters of the NRA should be taken to this Texas school and once the bodies of the victims are removed have their noses rubbed in the mess that remains on the floor of the school.  Let them smell the results of the deranged policies they advocate.

Make those same NRA leaders attend every single funeral for the students.

Force the NRA to explain to the locals of Uvalde why gun interests are more important than the children of that community.

There is a great need in this nation to no longer allow the tail to wag the dog when it comes to gun control measures. There was a blood-letting today that will make the headlines, but the NRA is counting on most Americans to forget this horrible story by the time they finish their fifth beer on the couch Friday night. The NRA counts on not being mentioned again until another mass shooting.

And on, and on, it goes.

The NRA will continue to torpedo gun control legislation, and threaten politicians. The NRA will use the most base and clueless within the Republican Party to repeat and regurgitate the vile trite crap and use the echo chamber of conservative media to beat home the insane and factless talking points. We have seen this playbook all before.

Spring will turn to summer. Summer to fall. 2022 will blend into 2023. Folks, we have seen this bullshit before, mass shooting, after mass shooting.

More guns will continue to be sold, and countless rounds of ammunition will be bought.

Untold amounts of weapons will be fired.

And we all know that some of those will be fired into innocent kids, like what happened today.

We need to find our balls on this issue and stand up and demand from our legislators that they also find their own set!

The NRA needs to know they are no longer in charge. Our nation is too important to allow the games the NRA plays to continue.

If you think I am wrong, talk to a parent of a dead child in Uvalde.