Robert "Big Joe" Gustafson never did me any harm or caused me a moment's worry. I never got into my car late at night and thought, "What if Big Joe tries to carjack me?" I never saw drug dealers on Penn Ave. N. and thought, "Those must be Big Joe's boys."
Indeed, it appears Big Joe was that highly-evolved form of so-called criminal, one who specializes in preying upon other criminals...kind of like "Omar" in the HBO television series "The Wire." Indeed, when some of us Northsiders read about the arrest and trial of Robert "Big Joe" Gustafson, our first reaction was...
Oh no. Now there's nobody to take away dope and money from drug dealers except the police, and the police are hampered by LAWS! WHAT ON EARTH WILL WE DO WITHOUT "BIG JOE?"
(Not that any of us EVEN KNEW WHO THIS GUY WAS until the articles started about his trial)
All the same, the justice system has found that "Big Joe" broke, like, a whole bunch of laws in the course of his personally profitable crusade against crime. And now this controversial, complicated guy sits in prison...where his mug shot recently became available online.
It is the practice of this blog that when North Minneapolis criminals go to prison, and their mug shots come available, those mug shots are published here. This one I publish with far more reluctance than usual.
Nothing personal, Big Joe. Your resemblance to a Middle Ages saint or an Old Testament profit is eerie and I wanted to share that with my readers.