Are the Michigan school shooter's parents also to blame?

·3 min read

In March of 2018 hundreds of thousands of (mostly) young people traveled to Washington, D.C., to participate in what the high school organizers of the event called the “March for Our Lives.”

It was a reaction to the awful mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., in which an expelled student went on a shooting rampage that left 14 students and three staff members dead and many others injured.

Two students from that school, Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg, were leaders in the “March for Our Lives” movement. Making appearances. Lobbying elected officials. Participating in dozens of media interviews.

They called themselves part the “mass-shooting generation.”

They issued a “mission statement” that began, “Not one more. We cannot allow one more child to be shot at school. We cannot allow one more teacher to make a choice to jump in front of a firing assault rifle to save the lives of students. We cannot allow one more family to wait for a call or text that never comes.”

Simple, supported gun reforms have gone nowhere

Students, parents, teachers, and community members gather for a vigil at the Lake Point Community Church following the shooting at Oxford High School on November 30, 2021 in Oxford, Michigan.
Students, parents, teachers, and community members gather for a vigil at the Lake Point Community Church following the shooting at Oxford High School on November 30, 2021 in Oxford, Michigan.

It was a good thought, a worthwhile dream, but it did nothing to unclench the gun lobby’s stranglehold on the Republican Party. And so simple, common sense, overwhelmingly supported firearms reforms – like universal background checks on every purchase – went nowhere.

And, according to Education Week, which tracks incidents, there have been 87 school shootings since the year of the “March for Our Lives” demonstration. And many more deaths.

On Tuesday, a sophomore at Oxford High School in Michigan is alleged to have used a 9mm Sig Sauer SP 2022 pistol that his father purchased on the Friday after Thanksgiving to kill four and wound seven others.

The suspect, Ethan Crumbley, is facing charges that could put him away for life.

Prosecutor Karen McDonald wants to know more about the weapon’s purchase, and how Crumbley got it, along with the 15-round magazines he was carrying when apprehended in the school.

She said her office will look into the possibility of criminal charges against Crumbley’s parents, saying that gun ownership comes with responsibility and that “those who do not do that should be – and will be – held accountable.”

Did Crumbley's dad act responsibly?

What McDonald is doing should be true in every school shooting. No charges may ever be filed, of course, but investigating the shooter’s access to the used in the attack is important. Unless the National Rifle Association and the rest of the gun lobby want to protect irresponsible gun owners as well.

In this case Crumbley's disturbing behavior drew the attention of school officials more than once. His parents were called to the school the morning of the shooting for a face-to-face meeting about their son’s behavior. There apparently are social media posts showing he had access to the weapon purchased by his father.

Education Week says the school shooting in Michigan was the 29th to have occurred this year. Since August.

It’s all about answering a series of simple but important questions:

Whose weapon was it? How did the young person get it? Did the owner act responsibly?

With every prosecutor, like McDonald, promising that “those who do not do that should be – and will be – held accountable.”

Reach Montini at ed.montini@arizonarepublic.com.

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Are Michigan school shooter's parents also to blame?

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