The recent death of Craig Deleeuw Robertson, a 74-year-old Provo, Utah, resident, has elicited an emotional response from the nation. Shot by the FBI during a raid on his home in response to online threats made against President Joe Biden, the incident raises questions about the lengths to which the government will go to suppress free speech.
“We, the family of Craig Deleeuw Robertson, are shocked and devastated by the senseless and tragic killing of our beloved father and brother,” the Robertson family expressed in a recent statement. They painted a vivid picture of a man who, despite his online rhetoric, was a caring, giving individual in his community. With expert woodworking skills, he crafted gifts for friends and neighbors’ children during the holiday season. Active in his local church congregation, Robertson was described as deeply spiritual, a man who “loved the Lord Jesus Christ with all his heart.”
Something to do with this isn’t quite right! They could’ve picked him up at a drugstore on the street? Why the emphasis on swat raids?https://t.co/xM43lYDtpl
— Dmturk (@abledanm) August 11, 2023
Moreover, Robertson’s support for the Second Amendment was evident. He was an ardent firearm enthusiast, gunsmith, and staunch supporter of the constitutionally protected right to bear arms. As a safety inspector in the steel industry, he worked conscientiously to ensure the safety of those benefiting from his projects.
However, his later-life activities on social media brought him under the FBI’s radar. Posts made before Biden’s Utah visit included alarming statements. “Blue states will never take over the country. The armed red states will revolt and execute every Democrat politician!” he posted. This wasn’t his first brush with controversial posts. As early as September 2022, he hinted at political violence against Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
Robertson’s family, however, staunchly believes that his online remarks, however incendiary, were just expressions of frustration. They described him as an essentially homebound elderly man voicing concerns in the digital public square. “Though his statements were intemperate at times, he has never, and would never, commit any act of violence against another human being over a political or philosophical disagreement,” they said.
The incident’s early morning details are harrowing. Around 6:15 a.m., the FBI attempted to serve arrest and search warrants at Robertson’s residence. Following the early morning raid, the FBI released a statement saying, “The subject is deceased. The FBI takes all shooting incidents involving our agents or task force members seriously.” The agency further indicated that the shooting incident is under review.
Neighbors provided a firsthand account of the raid, emphasizing the significant law enforcement presence. Several heard the FBI agents’ loudspeaker demands that Robertson exit his home. “It was clear he was gone,” shared neighbor Jon Michael Ossola, who recounted the escalation leading to a tragic conclusion.
This incident raises broader questions about free speech in our digital age, where comments are easily surveilled and tracked. For many conservatives, it’s a stark reminder of the balance between public safety and constitutionally protected freedoms.