Letters to the Editor
December 16, 2021

To the Editor:
Second Opinion: Who Cares? December 15, 2021,
It will be up to the jury to determine whether 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley, who allegedly killed four and wounded seven fellow teens at Oxford HS north of Detroit, MI, with a 9mm Sig Sauer semi-automatic pistol on Tuesday of last week, had the required homicidal mens rea, or intent to kill, to be convicted of first-degree murder under the law. All we have now are the renditions of what occurred and some physical evidence.
On the morning of the shooting, Ethan and his parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, met with school authorities to discuss his “behavior issues” which included a graphic drawing showing blood, a bullet, a shooting victim and a laughing emoji, and reportedly a note saying that the "world is dead," and "thoughts won't stop, help me."
The school showed it to the parents, who refused to take Ethan out of school at that time. Reportedly, the school believed him that he was designing a video game and directed that he be counseled within 48 hours. Ethan's parents had gifted him the gun and knew he had access to it at home, locked or unlocked, (he was in any event able to secure the weapon).
At around 12:45pm, Ethan left a school bathroom with the pistol and a couple of magazines and began shooting in the hallways as students and faculty fled and tried to hide. At around 1:20pm, a half-hour after the shooting began, Jennifer texted her son saying, "Ethan, don't do it." At 1.37pm, James called 911 reporting his newly-purchased gun missing and told an emergency dispatcher that he believed his son might be the shooter at Oxford HS.
On Thursday, the DA charged the parents with four counts of “involuntary manslaughter.” The state will have to prove that "the parents were 'grossly negligent' in allowing their son access to a firearm, and that their gross negligence caused the deaths of the students."
Congressional extremists who condone if not endorse violence, e.g., gun-totin' Lauren Boebert (R-CO), anti-everything-but-whites Marjorie Taylor Green, Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) who urges mothers to "raise their boys to be monsters," and murder-cartoonist, white-supremacist Paul Gosar (R-AZ), and countless truth-deniers, are tolerated even encouraged, and never reproached in the Republican Party. They know they are encouraging a malignant culture of violence and distrust, but believe that is to their political advantage to ignite and rekindle their base with anger and resentment. There are kids out there who feel it, too, and many do not have the skills to cope.
This is not a one-off tragedy. While there are responsible gun owners, we have an undeniable, relentless history of gun violence by children whose parents promoted guns to them (2021 Christmas cards from Reps. Tom Massie (R-KY) and Lauren Boebert (R-CO) show them and their children grinning and holding guns). How nuts are these people?
Idiocy, irresponsible parenting, and excuses by gun owners for serial tragedies like this should arouse censure from responsible gun users, the NRA, and the public. They happen somewhere in this country every couple of months, and nationally there are threats daily. One in Johnstown PA was averted on Friday. Our kids are just going to school as the law requires. They are not volunteering to insert themselves into a deadly "Rittenhouse confrontation."
If the parents' requisite intent cannot be proved, there are the civil courts and damages. Something to get the attention of parents. What do gun owners think is the answer? What is their obligation for the safety of others when their child has access to guns? What do they think the rest of ought to do about it to protect our kids? Do they care?
Kelly Scoles,