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Vicki Polin
Social Justice Activist

Trying to understand Bobby Crimo in Highland Park

My mind and thoughts are all over the place when it comes to the terrorist attack that occurred yesterday in Highland Park, IL.  It’s a community I know very well.  My heart goes out to everyone there.  I really want to help, even though I’m far away. 

Highland Park has a large Jewish population.  It’s a community in which several of my childhood friends live.  It’s a town which many children and grandchildren of holocaust survivors call home. Sadly many holocaust survivors who once resided in Highland Park are no longer with us.

Highland Park is one of those communities in which everyone believes is safe.  It’s a community where everyone seems to know each other.

Right after I heard of the terrorist attack I found myself calling as many friends who live in Highland Park that I could, wanting to make sure they were all safe.

Several of my childhood friends were in attendance of the Forth of July Parade and witnessed the horrors.  So far to the best of my knowledge no one I know was physically injured, except one friend who twisted her ankle as she ran with her children and grandchildren.  

Like expected, everyone in Highland Park is exhibiting symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), as are those with a connection to the town.  I just want to encourage everyone to keep talking about what you, your children and grandchildren experienced. It really helps to dissipate the symptoms. 

While I was making calls,  I started communicating with friends who live near Bobby Crimo’s childhood home.  These friends are also in shock.  They know the mass murderer’s parents.  They watch Bobby grow up.  

Everyone who knows the Crimo’s, keep talking about his parents.  All they keep saying is this alleged mass murderers parents are “good people who are civically minded.”

Yes, Bobby Crimo’s father ran for mayor of Highland Park, not as a Republican yet as a Democrat.  Bobby Crimo’s political views are a complete opposite of his parents. His parents never supported Trump or what the ex-president stands for.  Everyone needs to stop blaming Bobby Crimo’s parents on this one.

When I asked how Bobby Crimo got so radicalized, no one seemed to know the answer.  They just wanted to share how wonderful his parents were and are offering their love and support to his family. 

As a retired psychotherapist who worked with both survivors of sex crimes and sex offenders I keep finding myself asking questions.  I’m wanting to get into the mind of the mass killer.  I’m trying to understand how this young man learned to be so hate-filled.  

I watched several of Bobby Crimo’s music videos that have since been removed from YouTube. Each of them remind me of the old movie “Pink Floyd – The Wall”.  

If Bobby Crimo created these film clips on his own, he is a gifted and talented artist.  If someone else was involved I’d like to know who, and why they didn’t alert the authority.

Most of the photos floating around are of Bobby Crimo in costumes for his videos.  Most of the music videos are about an angry young man in pain.  There are two videos that depicted him being a lone gunman in a mass shooting, just like what he is accused of doing yesterday.  Once again I need to ask, why didn’t anyone intervene?

I keep thinking of what I know about Highland Park, and what it must be like for a kid growing up there who was not perfect and who’s parents were not multimillionaires.  

Bobby Crimo’s family owned a White Hen Pantry, which was later changed its name and was called Bob’s. They were financially comfortable, yet compared to many families in Highland Park they would be considered poor.

A large percentage of kids who grow up in Highland Park have parents who are doctors, lawyers, politicians, judges, corporate executives, etc.  My guess is that Bobby Crimo grew up feeling like an outsider, in a community where being perfect was expected.  There’s a lot of pressures on children who grow up on Chicago’s Northshore, that most people can’t even imagine.

I’m just trying to understand, trying to come up with answers of things that made Bobby Crimo feel left out.  His parents were well off, yet not multimillionaires.  Highland Park has a strong Jewish presence, and Bobby wasn’t a Jew.  I’m not trying to make excuses for Bobby Crimo, I’m just trying to understand the dynamics of what makes someone use an assault weapon to injure and murder community members in a place he called home.

About the Author
Vicki Polin is a feminist who has been a Social Justice Activist since her childhood. Vicki is also an award winning, retired psychotherapist who worked in the anti-rape field for just under forty years. For fun Vicki is an artist and nature photographer.

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