Crumbley Parents Face Prosection Due To Son’s Shooting Spree, Nation Has Right To Expect Parental Responsibility

Gun control advocates continually press for reasoned and logical laws and consequences so as to better stem the rampant gun violence that impacts far too many communities and families. Today, one of those themes pushed on this blog came to fruition in a Michigan court case. James and Jennifer Crumbley, the parents of a teenager who killed four students and injured seven at a Michigan high school, will face trial for involuntary manslaughter. The ruling came from a state appeals court in what we need to recognize as a profoundly important and correct decision.  This is a groundbreaking case of criminal responsibility for the acts of a gun-toting child.

In December 2021, I posted the following.

The layers of possible responses to the carnage left by Ethan Crumbley and the 9-millimeter Sig Sauer handgun used in the shooting are many. From working on issues in school concerning being bullied to the drowning of the nation in too many guns available for purchase, and the ease that children can get their hands on a deadly weapon. There is no single avenue to address the gravity of the situation.

But when it comes to guns in homes this blog has been consistent and adamant that parents must be held legally responsible when their weapons are not stored and safeguarded correctly. When they are accessible to underage people, and crimes take place with the weapons, then the law must follow the parents right to the jailhouse door and usher them inside.

Let me be clear and place the weight upon the parents as these murders would not have happened if the parents hadn’t purchased a gun for Ethan Crumbley or if they had taken him home from Oxford High School on the day of the shooting.  That is not just my summation, but how the appeal court viewed the distressing matter of God-awful parenting.  The court held firm to the obvious necessity that the parents should have taken their unhinged child out of the classroom after school staff became aware of and rightly alarmed over his extreme drawings.

I have stressed bad parenting must be addressed in relation to guns repeatedly on Caffeinated Politics.  After reading the words of Lorrie Wagner about her son, Jakob, the Antigo prom school shooter, I called attention to her decision to allow a clearly troubled child to obtain a semi-automatic weapon. I stated it was an example that underscores why there needs to be some legal remedy for such absurdity. We came to know about her son’s childhood struggle with mental illness and diagnosis of depression his emotional breakup with a girlfriend a month before prom, combined with his mother’s decision two weeks before the dance to allow him to buy a semi-automatic assault-style rifle at a gun show. 

In 2009, the Waushara County Sheriff’s Department received a 911 call alerting them someone had been shot dead in Redgranite.  The initial investigation showed several young people between the ages of 5 and 17 were at the residence and the victim had received a gunshot wound to the upper torso.  A long-barrel rifle used in the shooting was recovered from the scene. At the time I asked where were the parents?  Why was a rifle unlocked with ammunition in the home?  There are many questions to be answered, and as painful as it might be, the parents need to be held responsible for the weapons that they had. 

We know that in 2006 in Sauk County a 15-year-old boy brought a rifle and handgun to school and shot a principal three times, killing him.  I wrote at the time “How guns are so carelessly left around in the homes of Americans is a mystery to me.  How a child walks out of the house on the way to school with a loaded shotgun and a loaded handgun baffles me.  How parents are so tone deaf to the problems that their child is having BEFORE a violent act of this kind, confuses me.”

This blog has repeatedly stated parents of young people who use guns to shoot, kill, and create violence also need to be held accountable.  Many times, an adult was responsible for the fact the shooter was able to place his hands on a weapon. There is no way that any sane person can say parental/adult actions, such as with this shooting in Michigan which led off this post, should not be addressed by the law that makes sure there is a responsibility shared by those who help to foster the violent outcomes.

The NRA has plenty of responsibility for the number of guns in our society and the ease with which anyone can get a deadly weapon. But when it comes to children with guns there also must be a question asked–where the heck was the parent? It might also be a good time to ask if parents are not able to control their offspring then perhaps, they should forfeit their children’s tax credits. The rest of society should not have to continually pay the price for bad parenting.

I applaud the court process playing out in Michigan. James and Jennifer Crumbley deserve to be wards of the state.

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