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Adrienne Lawrence

Legal analyst, law professor & award-winning author

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Opinion

The jury got it right in Jennifer Crumbley case

Feb 14

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Jennifer Crumbley, the mother of school shooter Ethan Crumbley, was found guilty of four counts of involuntary manslaughter on Feb. 6, 2024. During the Nov. 30, 2021 attack, Ethan Crumbley killed four students and injured six students and a teacher.

Jennifer Crumbley and her husband, James Crumbley, had given their 15-year-old son a firearm as a Christmas present and had taken him to the gun range multiple times. The verdict marks the first time a parent of a school shooter has been held criminally responsible for the actions carried out by their child.

Straight Arrow News contributor Adrienne Lawrence is not surprised by the verdict and agrees that Jennifer Crumbley is criminally responsible for her son’s actions.

Being a parent is a significant undertaking. You’re responsible for the well-being, safety, protection of another human being, a growing human, mind you, that requires guidance and care. When people decide to become parents, they are ultimately responsible for their child. And I’d also say that they’re responsible for their child’s actions when they encourage or cultivate the behavior or even the situation to create the behavior.

And that’s why I wasn’t surprised last week when a Michigan jury found Jennifer Crumbley guilty of involuntary manslaughter. She didn’t kill anyone herself, but her 15-year-old son Ethan did. It was in a mass shooting at his high school in 2021. Crumbley and her husband had bought the boy the gun, despite his vocalized cries for help and psychological disturbances.

In this landmark prosecution, the jury got it right. Parents who make guns available to their children should be held criminally liable for any harm that ensues — hard stop. Being responsible for the gun-related crimes of your child should not be controversial — that’s primarily because a child should not have a gun. A gun is designed to cause great bodily harm to another — to take a life. It’s not like a knife. It doesn’t serve multiple purposes. You can’t make a three-course meal with a Beretta or prepare firewood with an AK. Guns are solely designed to be deadly weapons.

Given their inherently grave nature, entrusting a firearm to a minor should be presumably negligent regardless of whether that minor is learning to hunt, happens to be mature for their age, or is struggling with mental illness like Ethan Crumbley was.

Being a parent is a significant undertaking. You’re responsible for the well being safety, protection of another human being a growing human mind you that requires guidance and care. When people decide to become parents, they are ultimately responsible for their child. And I’d also say that they’re responsible for their child’s actions when they encourage or cultivate the behavior or even the situation to create the behavior. And that’s why I wasn’t surprised last week when a Michigan jury found Jennifer crumbley, guilty of involuntary manslaughter. She didn’t kill anyone herself, but her 15 year old son Ethan did. It was in a mass shooting at his high school in 2021. crumbly and her husband had bought the boy the gun, despite his vocalized cries for help and psychological disturbances. In this landmark prosecution, the jury got it right. Parents who make guns available to their children should be held criminally liable for any harm that ensues. heart stop. Being responsible for the gun related crimes of your child should not be controversial. That’s primarily because a child should not have a gun. A gun is designed to cause great bodily harm to another to take a life. It’s not like a knife. It doesn’t serve multiple purposes. You can’t make a three course meal with a Beretta or prepare firewood with an AK guns are solely designed to be deadly weapons. Given their inherently grave nature and trusting a firearm to a minor should be presumably negligent. Regardless of whether that Miner is learning to hunt happens to be mature for their age, or is struggling with mental illness like Ethan crumbley was. A parent’s rationale should not matter when it comes to deadly weapons. There’s simply too dangerous guns are the leading cause of death among American children and teens today, yet an estimated 4.6 million American children live in a home where at least one gun is kept loaded and unlocked nearly half of all parents with a weapon in the home, arrogantly and erroneously believed their children do not know where their guns are stored. Perhaps that’s why guns are used in 68% of gun related incidents at schools that they were taken from homes. As such parents of children must be criminally responsible for any crime that comes from their children accessing their guns. That thought may not sit well with a lot of people. But why? Why should parents who give their children guns or failed to take reasonable precautions to keep guns from their child be exempt from the same consequences that the child faces? The parent is the one in charge here. They’re the one in control. They have a duty to keep the child safe and to provide adequate supervision. They shouldn’t get to give underdeveloped minds deadly weapons and walk away unscathed. Get out of here with that. This isn’t a second amendment issue. I’m not talking about taking away anyone’s gun rights. If you wish to exercise your right Have at it, but you don’t get a pass on the harms caused by you exercising your rights in a negligent way. If you have a child you have a responsibility as it concerns deadly weapons, that responsibility extends to grave harms their children cause in crumbles case, there was considerable grave harm. Ethan carried out Michigan’s deadliest school shooting on record taking four young lives away from their families, their classmates, their futures. Ethan is spending the rest of his life in prison for what he did. So unlike his victims, he will get a chance to experience life I’ll be behind bars as the ones who made the gun available to him. Ethan’s parents should share in his fate.

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