By Milo Mandelli-Valla
New York City, New York
On November 30th, a shooting in Michigan took the lives of four students at Oxford High, a public school north of Detroit. The shooting has reinvigorated the constant contest in Washington over the second amendment, as Democrats push to ban guns while Republicans argue that guns are a constitutional right.
The suspect of the shooting, Ethan Crumbley, is a student at the school. He is now in custody and is being charged as an adult due to the severity of the charges he faces. Crumbley hinted at the shooting by posting a picture of the gun used as well as posting a countdown of “return of the devil” on Instagram. The gun used in the attack was a gun that his father had bought on Black Friday, just four days before the incident at Oxford High.
Anecdotes of the encounter are shocking when one considers that teenagers were facing death despite their young age and innocence. Brendan Becker, a student at the high school, recounted, “I sit right next to the door, and I heard boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom.” Becker continued, “We just bombarded the door with a bunch of chairs, desk, everything we could find completely got the door shut down.”
Alysse Avey stated, “We just got in the corner and sat down exactly how we were supposed to—like we followed the protocols that we practiced, and everyone followed.” This training and preparation were similar to what was otherwise done in drills, except this was no drill.
According to Education Week, there have been 28 school shootings with casualties this year, 20 of them being in the last four months. The publication says that at least nine people have been killed by guns on school property this year, including two people who were shot by police officers as a reaction to a shooter.
Despite schools theoretically being gun-free zones, guns often end up in schools, and since there are no defensive measures to take, death tolls are the tragic result. In fact, from 1950 to the present day, 94% of shootings resulting in death have occurred in gun-free zones such as schools.
Tate Myre, one of four students fatally shot on Tuesday, was reportedly killed while trying to disarm Ethan Crumbley. Myre was a member of the football team at Oxford High, receiving praise as being an even better man off the field than he was on the field. This act of heroism is one that students are trying to remember and honor, as Myre sacrificed his own life to try to save other people around him.
This issue was immediately politicized, with a variety of Democrat politicians using the event as a way to push for gun control policies, particularly a ban on assault rifles—the weapon used in this attack. Meanwhile, Republicans generally reject this concept as they say that the right to bear arms is a sacred founding principle of the nation. They also make the case that there should be employees at schools who are armed to prevent these kinds of events.
Despite the political disagreement, everyone in Washington and more broadly can agree that this event was an atrocity that cannot be forgotten and that every life lost in this event is a tragedy.
Crumbley has been charged as an adult with four counts of first degree murder and terrorism causing death. In an unprecedented move, the parents of Crumbley are also being indicted for four counts of involuntary manslaughter. This was the first time the parents of the shooter in a school shooting case have also been charged.
The prosecutor in the case, Karen McDonald explained her decision, stating that they permitted him access to a handgun while knowing he was considering an act of violence. An investigation found that Crumbley, on the day of the shooting, had drawn a picture featuring a gun and language including “The thoughts won’t stop. Help me.”
Crumbley was taken to the school's counselor and was questioned about his drawing and harmful thoughts. From this line of questioning, counselors concluded he did not pose a threat to others and released him back into the classroom, on the condition he met with a counselor in the next 48 hours. He claimed that the images were for a videogame he was designing.
If convicted, the parents of Crumbley could face up to 60 years in prison and Crumbley could face a life sentence.