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Michigan School Shooter: Police Reveal Parents' Shocking Reactions to Prison Life

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Bad parents are responsible for raising bad children.

Take the parents of alleged Michigan school shooter Ethan Crumbley, for example.

James and Jennifer Crumbley have appeared “sullen” in the Oakland County jail since their arrest, Sheriff Michael Bouchard told MSNBC on Saturday.

“They’re not talking much to us … We have not seen any remorse,” Bouchard said.

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Police say Ethan Crumbley, 15, shot and killed four people and wounded seven others at Oxford High School on Nov. 30.

His parents were arrested on Friday for allegedly giving their son access to the 9mm handgun used in the shootings, according to NPR.

The Crumbleys appear to have known there were deeply troubling signs in their son’s behavior. They are accused of keeping this vital information from school officials when they were summoned to Oxford High on the day of the shooting.

A letter issued by Oxford Community Schools Superintendent Tim Throne said the parents were asked to take Ethan home on the day of the shooting. They “flatly refused and left without their son, apparently to return to work,” Throne wrote, according to WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Are the Crumbleys to blame for their son's actions?

To further complicate matters, the Crumbleys allegedly were on the run from authorities after the shooting.

“They sought multiple attempts to hide their location and were eventually tracked down after they parked their car somewhere a witness saw it,” Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald said, according to NPR.

“These two individuals were found locked somewhere in a room, hiding. These are not people that we can be assured will return to court on their own,” she said.

The parents have been charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter. Each count is punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Their bond is set at $500,000 each.

“Sullen” is an odd choice of words to describe the Crumbleys’ reaction to sitting in separate sections of the jail facing up to 60 years in prison. Merriam-Webster defines “sullen” as “gloomily or resentfully silent or repressed.”

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Combine this with the fact that Bouchard said they have shown no remorse since being in jail, and it is easy to conclude that something went terribly wrong in the Crumbley household.

One gets the impression James and Jennifer Crumbley are “sullen” not because they are horrified by the massacre allegedly perpetrated by their son but because they were arrested in connection to it.

This incident could have been easily prevented. The anti-gun crowd won’t like it, but it’s true.

In a news conference Friday, prosecutors said James Crumbley had purchased the Sig Sauer 9mm pistol Ethan allegedly used in the killing spree on Black Friday. It was an early Christmas gift for his son.

Prosecutors also said the Crumbleys kept the gun “unlocked in a drawer in their bedroom.” The defense lawyers dispute this.

According to NPR, school authorities twice raised concerns with the parents about Ethan’s behavior after the purchase of the 9mm but before the shootings. This included the meeting on the day of the tragedy.

The Crumbleys reportedly did not ask the boy about the gun or report to the school that they had purchased one.

What were they thinking?

This senseless tragedy could have been easily prevented via common sense:

  1. Don’t purchase a semi-automatic 9mm handgun for a 15-year-old.
  2. Failing that, keep the gun secured in a gun safe or at minimum use a trigger lock.
  3. When contacted by school officials, tell them you have recently purchased a gun.
  4. Check and see if the gun is missing.
  5. If the gun is missing, immediately call the school and the police.
  6. Ask the boy about the gun when you get to the school.
  7. Take the boy away from the school until the gun is found.
  8. Seek counseling for the entire family.

The list would extend back into Ethan’s upbringing over the years. The way he was raised surely had something to do with his actions.

The Crumbleys’ alleged flight from the law and lack of remorse signals that something very dark was going on in that household.

The root causes of violent crime have long been linked to the societal breakdown of the family.

Over 25 years ago, The Heritage Foundation reported, “The scholarly evidence, in short, suggests that at the heart of the explosion of crime in America is the loss of the capacity of fathers and mothers to be responsible in caring for the children they bring into the world.”

Nothing has changed. James and Jennifer Crumbley appear to be a symptom of a disease that is eating away at the heart of America. The breakdown of the family — through a lack of faith in God, rampant materialism and the failure to teach traditional Western virtues in our educational systems — is killing our country.

These are the things that claim innocent lives on a daily basis.

Evil is as evil does.

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Jack Gist is an award-winning writer who has published essays, poetry and fiction in Catholic World Report, First Things, The Imaginative Conservative, New Oxford Review and others.
Jack Gist is an award-winning writer who has published essays, poetry and fiction in Catholic World Report, First Things, The Imaginative Conservative, New Oxford Review and others.