What Responsibility Do the Crumbleys Have For Their Son’s School Shooting?

The parents of Ethan Crumbley, the young man who murdered four of his classmates at Oxford High School in Michigan, were arrested last night after they failed to show up at an arraignment hearing on charges of involuntary manslaughter.

James and Jennifer Crumbley claim they fully intended to turn themselves in but were in hiding because they feared for their lives. They are being charged because they gave Ethan a 9 mm Sig Sauer SP2022 semi-automatic pistol just days before their son went on his killing spree. They refused to take him out of school when authorities suggested he was a danger.

They are also being charged with not being able to read their son’s mind.

Social media posts show that Ethan’s parents took him to the gun store and bought the weapon as a Christmas present.  They didn’t lock the gun up — they weren’t required to. There are no safe storage laws in Michigan. And they apparently ignored — or didn’t notice — other warning signs exhibited by their son that might have prevented the shootings if they had intervened in some way.

James and Jennifer Crumbley are not ideal parents. In fact, they appear to be horrible, neglectful parents. But the law, in this case, is not concerned with how good or bad the parents were in raising their son. The law is about whether the Crumbleys can be held legally accountable for the deaths of four innocent kids.

CNN:

The day of the shooting, a teacher noticed a disturbing drawing Ethan had made, including “a drawing of a semiautomatic handgun pointing at the words ‘the thoughts won’t stop help me,’” and a drawing of a bullet with “blood everywhere” written above it, McDonald said.

Then, when called in to the school’s office and ordered to get counseling for their son, the couple did not try to determine the whereabouts of the gun, or whether their son had it with him that day, the prosecutor said. The parents “resisted” taking Ethan from school that day, and he returned to class.

The Crumbleys are not sympathetic figures, to be sure. But is the fact that they couldn’t be bothered to take their son home after he revealed homicidal fantasies cause for a manslaughter charge?

“They didn’t even disclose it at that moment or check to see if their son had that weapon, or go right home and look to see where the weapon was…. We know that because right after the public being notified about an active shooter, Dad drives to his house, and it was for one reason: to look for that weapon. And finds it missing, and then makes a 911 call and says this gun is missing, and I think my son is the shooter,” McDonald later told CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

It’s all so clear — in hindsight. Of course, the Crumbleys should have gone home immediately to see if the weapon was where James Crumbley had left it — the top drawer of his dresser. And when it wasn’t there, he should have automatically assumed that his son Ethan had the gun and was planning an act of murder,

And how were they to have “checked” their son to see if he had the weapon? Should they have frisked him?

This by no means excuses the Crumbleys for their egregious behavior. But I sense the hand of the gun-control lobby in these charges — especially their charging Ethan with “terrorism.”

“We also need to respect the hundreds of students that were in that school that day, running for their lives out of the building, hiding underneath desks, in bathroom stalls, and sending messages. I’ve had an opportunity to look at some of the messages… those kids were sending their parents, and I can’t even imagine what that must have been like. Receiving a text that your teenager is saying ‘I love you so much, I think I’m going to be killed.’ What charge addresses that? And the answer is the terrorism charge. I think it’s appropriate.” McDonald added.

Is it really “appropriate”? “Terrorism” in Michigan law is defined a little differently. It requires an act against a community, not a government. We can certainly feel sympathy for the students and outrage over what they went through. But what is the grand political goal at work here? What was the statement Ethan Crumbley was trying to make? At this point, it’s unknown. So even though Ethan’s action wasn’t directed against the U.S. government, his crimes had to have had a political point of some kind. What was it?

The shock effect of referring to a deranged school shooter as a “terrorist” is straight out of the gun-control activist handbook. The laws of the state of Michigan, and the United States of America, are perfectly able to dispense justice for Ethan Crumbley and the community without the political grandstanding of a “terrorism” charge.

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