On Sunday, six people were killed, and two dozen others were hospitalized at a shooting during a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Illinois. The shooter, a 22-year-old, climbed to a rooftop and opened fire on the parade minutes after it started. According to Highland Park Mayor, the shooter acquired the gun legally.
Illinois has had red flag laws in place since 2013. That didn’t stop the gunman from acquiring the weapons.
The shooter was known to police. In 2019, police visited the shooter's home and removed his knives and swords. The shooter had told his family that he was going to “kill everyone” and had attempted suicide.
Despite his history, Illinois State Police saw no “clear and present danger.” Illinois is a state that has red flag laws and universal background checks. The shooter successfully passed through the background check system, and when police considered his gun application, they saw no present danger.
Some say it's mental illness on display. The shooter was a rapper who posted videos with animated scenes of gun violence. One video portrayed a stick-figure shooter attacking with a rifle. In another video, he calls himself a “sleepwalker walking blindly into the night” with actions that will be “valiant.”
- Someone who knew him says he became detached from reality over the years.
- There were concerns about his mental health going back to middle school.
His political affiliation is in question. There are images online of the shooter dressed as Where’s Waldo at a Trump rally (some suggest he was there to mock the attendees). Another includes him with a blue-line flag supporting the police. There are other images he’d posted on social media where he described himself as a liberal, and his Twitter account activity shows that he liked liberal news and media.
- The individual who knew him says he was neither conservative nor liberal, just an “isolated stoner” who “gravitated towards aesthetics he found interesting.”
His online presence is being scrubbed. YouTube, Instagram, Discord, Spotify, and Twitter have all removed social media pages that belonged to the shooter. The shooter posted strange videos, songs, and violent imagery on those platforms that foreshadowed his actions.
Big picture: In many mass-shooting tragedies, shooters can acquire guns despite signs that they should not be able to. It’s not uncommon for the police or the FBI to have known about the shooters before the incident. More restrictions pushed by Democrats, like red flag laws, have failed often.