And the Devil is Laughing

By John Kass

July 6, 2022

Immediately, the mass shooting at the Independence Day parade at Highland Park was weaponized for its political value, even before the grief-stricken families of the victims could begin to process their loss.

 And the suspect’s family was out there too, at least one of them saying he never saw this coming, that he was surprised.

Surprised?

Does anyone really believe that his family did not know of his violent fantasies and bloody dreams? No, nobody believes that. You take one look at the suspect, with the face tattoos and that mouth of madness, you listen to the violent videos he put out, you see the eyes that are so dark and lightless, you see the evil that should have been locked away and yet was not locked away.

He’s locked away now, but it’s too late for the people of Highland Park.

In the sewer that is Twitter, the nameless, anonymous screamers did what they do best. They screamed their politics. Some screamers said the shooter was a Trump supporter. Others screamed that he was a Democratic socialist in support of Antifa.

Where do the American people turn for credible reporting?  Journalism has broken itself on its own partisan spike. It has little if any credibility with the American people anymore. Just then I heard something dangerous.

I thought I could hear the devil laughing.

Are there any serious doubts that as a culture we’ve turned our faces from God?

We infantilize our young people.  We demand the right to kill the innocent unborn. We raise our young in a culture of death. There are elementary school teachers who are regularly depicted on social media as being excited about exploring sexual themes and gender identity with young children.

Ours is a culture that fills kids with pharmaceutical drugs to manage their mood swings, a culture that offers them video games to live out their most violent, murderous fantasies. We push our political anxieties and pathologies down the throats of our children, telling young men for example, that masculinity is “toxic.” And if they happen to be white and male, they’re led to believe they’re they cause of almost everything that is wrong in the world.

The weak ones break. The strong grow sullen and angry. We subject the young to relentless psychological pressure to satisfy the emptiness of our politics. We don’t think of the culture we raise them in. We’re our own gods now.

And yet we’re surprised at the monsters that we’ve created?

“It was a horrifying day,” I heard my friend Tom Bevan, the co-founder of Real Clear Politics say on Fox News. Highland Park, he said, “is an affluent suburb. It was made worse by the fact that he (the suspect) remained at large. You never think its going to happen to your community until it does, and when it’s done it is still shocking.”

With the media so focused on Highland Park along the North Shore, Bevan had the grace to also mention the violence in nearby Chicago and the lives lost there and the suffering of the people.

“And those lives are important, too,” he said.

Mass shootings in Chicago aren’t news. They’re a feature of daily life.  But the national news media does not want to focus on the suffering in Democrat-controlled Chicago, lest they be compelled to deal with unwelcome conclusions. And the local newspapers hardly cover Cook County bond court, that place where the violent are often released to commit more violence on victims who are black and brown, and as such, ignored.  In Chicago over the July 4 weekend there were at least 60 shot, 10 dead, and police were ambushed. So much for Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s “Summer of Joy” in the city where she’s demonized the cops, while endorsing their nemesis, Cook County States Atty. Kim Fox, the non-prosecutor.

And that Chinese fentanyl that is the leading killer of young Americans continues flowing, sent across the border by the Mexican drug cartels, a border that is wide-open on the orders of President Joe Biden and his Democrats. And the fentanyl continues to flow, and young Americans die, and their parents weep.

And even more cops were ambushed in Philadelphia, with the disgusted mayor there, Jim Kenney wanting out, wanting to quit, wanting to walk away, something Chicago Mayor Lightfoot should consider. If the job of mayor of Philadelphia is too much for Kenney, the job of mayor of Chicago is definitely far too much for Lightfoot. She is overwhelmed. And the city knows it.

And every day bring more chaos and anarchy and the nation tries not to stare into the void. We try distracting ourselves, but distractions don’t work anymore, and we know this too.

At lunch, my wife glanced at the headline of this column about the devil laughing, and thinking about the violence and the chaos almost everywhere, Betty asked a question that I think many Americans are asking themselves now:

“With all this happening, do you ever think that we’re already living in hell, and that we don’t know it, and we’ll find out only after we’re dead?”

Paul Crimo is the uncle of Robert E. “Bobby” Crimo, the suspect in the mass shooting that killed at least 8 people and wounded at more than 30, firing off some 70 rounds from a Highland Park rooftop. Uncle Paul said he was stunned. He said he had no idea his nephew contemplated violence.

Uncle of Robert Crimo on Fox 32 Chicago

“We’re deeply, deeply sorry for everyone who lost their lives,” Paul Crimo told Fox Chicago. There were “no warning signs” he said. “I’ll be heartbroken for the rest of my life at seeing what happened.”

But you’re alive. And your nephew is alive. And no one I talked to on Tuesday who had friends and family members struck by gunfire in Highland Park believes there was no warning. They know there were plenty of warnings.

Bobby Crimo III, the 21-year-old suspect, had posted videos filled with violence and his fantasies of mass shootings. He calls himself “Awake the Rapper.”

And no one knew?

He left a trail of violent videos and images, glorifying murders, talking of the inevitability of his “awakening,” the way an insect transforms, or a mass murderer morphs into what he’s becoming.  I watched one video in which he’s in a classroom talking about murder. I turned it off. I couldn’t watch him anymore.

Update: Crimo III has been charged with murder in connection with the attack. And news reports say that in 2019, Crimo III threatened to kill family members with knives. The family did not press charges. Later, his father reportedly co-sponsored Crimo III’s application for a Firearms Owner Identification Card. And now family lawyers up.

And there were no warning signs? They didn’t see anything?

Nobody believes that.

And the devil laughs, as politicians scramble over the dead and the wounded, trying to shape the tragedy into a political weapon to satisfy their ambition.

We should all be remined of Catherine Katsel-O’Connor, the grandmother from  the state of Washington. She called police after reading the journal of her grandson, Joshua Alexander O’Connor threatening a mass shooting in a high school at Everett, Washington. She refused to play the game of not knowing. She refused to think of herself as not responsible. She was his grandmother. She was responsible. And she acted.

According to reports, court documents show that Joshua Alexander O’Connor worked out the details of how many classmates he would kill.

“I’ve been thinking a lot,” his journal entry said according to NBC news. “I need to make this shooting/bombing at Kamiak infamous. I need to get the biggest fatality number I possibly can. I need to make this count…I’ve been reviewing many mass shootings/bombings (and attempted bombings). I’m learning from past shooters/bombers mistakes, so I don’t make the same ones.”

He didn’t get the chance. He was sentenced to at least 17 years in prison and is now appealing.

There is a spiritual void. We know this. We know the cost of what we’re doing to ourselves, don’t we?

We might wish we had God in our lives, to help us find the good that we’ve lost. Yet for many of us, preparing our hearts might just take a little too much discipline and effort. So we do nothing. We stare at the gate out of hell that we’ve locked on ourselves from within.

And the devil is laughing.

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(Copyright 2022 John Kass)