December 8, 2021

Oxford School Shooting

“A prosecutor filed involuntary manslaughter charges Friday against the parents of a teen accused of killing four students at a Michigan high school, saying they failed to intervene on the day of the tragedy despite being confronted with a drawing and chilling message — ‘blood everywhere’ — that was found at the boy’s desk. James and Jennifer Crumbley committed ‘egregious’ acts, from buying a gun on Black Friday and making it available to Ethan Crumbley to resisting his removal from school when they were summoned a few hours before the shooting, Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald said.” AP News

[The] 15-year-old boy was charged with murder and terrorism for a shooting that killed four fellow students and injured more at a Michigan high school, authorities said [last] Wednesday.” AP News

See past issues

From the Left

The left supports prosecuting the parents and calls for policy changes to reduce children’s access to guns.

“When [a] teacher found a disturbing note on the student's desk the morning of the shooting, both parents were summoned to school and told to get their son counseling, the prosecutor said. But the parents then left and the boy was sent back to class. It's unconscionable that his dad purchased the weapon [as a present for his son], and that both parents failed to take the school's warnings seriously, even though they knew their son had access to a gun, which, according to McDonald, was not securely locked away…

“Charging James and Jennifer Crumbly in this case serves as a wake-up call to parents and other gun owners that they need to be more responsible when it comes to safeguarding their weapons.”
Kara Alaimo, CNN

“​​[A 2018 report on school shootings] found that most of the gunmen — 84 of the 105 cases examined — had obtained their weapons from their homes or those of relatives or friends. Well more than half of the school shootings since 1999, the report concluded, would not have happened if children hadn’t had such access to guns. But adults are almost never held accountable; The Post’s analysis found only four instances in which adult gun owners were criminally punished because they failed to lock up their firearms…

“It should not be so rare for prosecutors to charge parents like the Crumbleys with crimes such as involuntary manslaughter, and states should tighten their laws to make it clear: When gun owners behave recklessly, there should be no doubt that they will face criminal punishment.”
Editorial Board, Washington Post

“School shooters are nearly always too young to legally own a weapon or take it outside the home. Of all the common-sense gun laws typically proposed after school shootings — universal background checks, extreme-risk protection orders, an assault weapons ban — safe storage is the most directly applicable. In our research, around 60% of the 37 guns brought to the scene of the 12 school mass shootings came directly from family members. Only four of the 14 shooters didn’t get a gun from home…

Proposals requiring secure storage at home are generally popular among gun owners and non-gun owners alike. Research shows they can help prevent gun thefts, suicides and accidental shootings, in addition to school shootings. One study found that keeping firearms locked up can reduce shootings in the home by 75%.”
James Densley and Jillian Peterson, Los Angeles Times

“Oxford High School had many safety measures in place: a full-time sheriff’s deputy, security cameras and regular active-shooter drills. Teachers had also reported the teen to school officials for worrisome behavior, including searching online for ammunition during class and drawing violent, disturbing images of gun violence. Yet all of these measures weren’t enough to stop a school shooting because the student still had access to a gun at home.”
Shannon Watts, Washington Post

From the Right

The right is generally critical of the prosecutorial decisions so far.

The right is generally critical of the prosecutorial decisions so far.

“The appropriateness of the murder, attempted-murder, and weapons charges is not in question. They are absolutely the proper charges, and any experienced prosecutor would bring them. But terrorism?... Yes, Ethan Crumbley intended to intimidate his fellow students at the school, where he apparently claims to have been teased and bullied. But, unlike a terrorist bombing (to take the most prominent example), Crumbley’s crime was not intended to intimidate the broader civilian population…

“Moreover, we usually reserve terrorism charges for acts that endeavor to coerce a government into changing policy, and that have been committed by a foreign or domestic organization that is capable of projecting massive force. And even then, prosecutors are often hesitant to bring such charges… The Oxford High School shooting is not a terrorism case. It does not diminish the seriousness of Crumbley’s offenses to say that Michigan’s application of terrorism law here trivializes genuine terrorism.”
Andrew C. McCarthy, National Review

Regarding manslaughter charges for Crumbley’s parents, many argue that “While blaming the parents may provide some emotional relief for the aggrieved, that doesn’t necessarily translate to actual justice. The Oakland County prosecutor, Karen McDonald, seems to be throwing a Hail Mary in an attempt to bring down somebody in addition to the shooter…

“James Crumbley legally purchased the handgun and passed a background check. It’s not illegal for a parent to allow their teenage child to use a firearm. (I received my first gun at the age of eleven.)… And Michigan law apparently does not require firearms to be secured inside of the home. There’s certainly a case to be made that they were negligent, particularly given their son’s troubling behavior and the red flags raised by the school. But making that add up to manslaughter is going to be a long row to hoe in a courtroom.”
Jazz Shaw, Hot Air

Others counter, “If ever there was a case that merited criminal charges against the parents of a school shooter, this is it… Evidence shows that the Crumbleys ignored ominous warnings that their son, Ethan, was psychologically unstable and poised to commit violence. They refused demands by his school that Ethan receive professional counseling. They concealed from administrators that they had purchased for him a deadly weapon and had taken him to a firing range to practice shooting it…

“They insisted that he remain in school that day, covering up all that they knew. The result was deadly. Jennifer Crumbley must have known that her son was capable of the carnage he inflicted. Minutes after he opened fire, police say she texted him, ‘Ethan don’t do it.’ This is incriminating evidence of her own complicity. In totality, such grossly negligent conduct by the parents certainly qualifies as criminally negligent homicide, otherwise known as manslaughter. The parents should be held accountable for their despicable behavior.”  
Gregg Jarrett, Fox News

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