Sunday, December 5, 2021

The news story that just keeps getting sketchier.

WikimediaImages | Pixabay

I've seen plenty of news stories go from farce to tragedy over the years, but it's unusual for one to go from tragedy to farce.

I'm talking about the Crumbley family of Oxford, MI -- James, Jennifer, and their 15-year-old son Ethan. Unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably heard about Ethan being charged with murder, attempted murder, and terrorism causing death in connection with the shooting deaths of four of his classmates, and the wounding of five other students and a teacher, at Oxford High School on Tuesday. School shootings happen with distressing frequency in the United States, but this one stands out because the authorities are holding Ethan's parents accountable for giving him the gun in the first place. It's clear from social media posts that his parents bought the weapon -- a .9mm Sig Sauer handgun -- for him as an early Christmas present. Ethan calls it "my new beauty" in one post. And they did this even though Ethan was having trouble in school -- drawing a graphic image of a gunshot victim and searching for ammunition on his cell phone in class. (After the ammo search, his mother texted him and said she wasn't mad at him -- he just needed to learn not to get caught.)

On Tuesday morning, Ethan's parents were called to the school and were told to get him into counseling within 48 hours -- but they didn't take him home from school. Later that same day, the boy committed the shooting.

His mother texted him, "Don't do it," after he already had.

All of this is a tragedy -- no doubt about it. But here's where it turns to farce. Because the the Oakland County prosecutor decided to charge the parents with four counts of involuntary manslaughter for not keeping the gun away from their son -- and instead of showing up to their arraignment, they ran, even as their attorneys claimed they would turn themselves in. James and Jennifer pulled $4,000 out of an ATM and holed up in a Detroit warehouse that belongs to an acquaintance. Authorities suspect the couple planned to cross into Canada (yes, that's right -- leaving their son behind in jail). Someone nearby saw Jennifer and the cops closed in. The couple finally made it to their arraignment -- yesterday, after they'd been taken into custody. Reports indicate Jennifer Crumbley sobbed as she entered her plea.

But wait -- there's more. The Crumbleys used to live in Florida, where James Crumbley had a son and daughter from previous relationships. An ex-girlfriend told reporters that Jennifer is "a monster" and James is "a piece of shit." According to this ex-girlfriend, Michelle Cobb, James was making a six-figure income, but she had a hard time getting him to pay child support for the son he had with her. 

So from all reports, the Crumbleys are quite the family. All three of them are now being held in jail, in isolation from the general jail population and from each other. Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard told reporters yesterday all three were sullen -- and none had shown remorse. If convicted, Ethan could face life in prison; his parents, 15 years in prison each.

I don't know whether this says more about modern-day America or about this particular dysfunctional family. What I do know is 28 people have been killed in shootings on school grounds in the United States this year, and 86 more were injured. I know for sure that anyone calling for help as loudly as Ethan Crumbley was should never be given access to a gun. That's the real tragedy.


These moments of tragic blogginess have been brought to you, as a public service, by Lynne Cantwell. Get vaxxed!


Lynne Cantwell said...

Thanks for the kind words, Jo.

I'm absolutely heartbroken for the victims, as well as angry that this keeps happening but we can't find our way to a solution. Kids shouldn't have to pay the ultimate price for greedy adults who would rather keep making money from gun and ammo sales than pass sane gun control measures. But there I go, getting all political again...

Unknown said...

None have shown remorse-- thaat's the scariest part to me.

Lynne Cantwell said...

Yup, that's pretty scary.

I'm beginning to think we should mandate a mental health component in background checks: not just a check into their psychiatric history, but some kind of test of the purchaser's mental state at the time they try to buy the weapon. But I'm not hopeful it will ever happen, considering we can't even get the gun show loophole closed.