Oxford school shooting and its aftermath illustrate America’s failure
I wanted to write something light on Christmas today. But I’m going to have to put this on the back burner again. Right now, I want to respond to the horrific Michigan school shooting and its aftermath. I have no words to say how shamefully everyone involved in this story behaved. I wish it was something of a dark comedy instead of real life.
Let me review what I have seen in the news so far. The information is come step by step, so it may be inaccurate at the time of reading. But I think I understood.
1. On Black Friday, Mr. and Mrs. Crumbley bought a Sig Sauer SP 2022 9mm pistol for their fifteen year old son, Ethan, although it is illegal to buy a pistol for a miner in Michigan and even if Ethan was in trouble. with his sanity. They bragged about the gun on social media, calling it her “Christmas present,” and Ethan did too, calling her a “beauty.” They let him keep the gun unsecured in his room.
2. The school told the Crumbleys they caught Ethan looking for ammo online and told his parents they were worried. Ms Crumbley texted Ethan to tell him that she wasn’t angry and that she didn’t want him to “get caught”.
3. The school then found out that Ethan had drawn pictures of a gun shooting at people, with a caption begging for help to “stop thoughts!” They called the Crumbleys for a family reunion. The school did not search Ethan’s backpack which would have stopped the mass murder before it began as the gun was in his backpack at the time.
4. At the family reunion, the Crumbleys said they didn’t want their son kicked out of school just because he threatened to kill people, and they didn’t tell anyone he had access to a gun.
5. School officials obediently nodded and sent the boy back to class – again, without even checking the contents of his backpack or locker. They told the Crumbleys to get Ethan to a therapist “within 48 hours” although I don’t know a single place in this country where it doesn’t take weeks to access mental health care unless you are. in crisis in the emergency room. The ER is exactly where Ethan should have gone, but he returned to class with his gun.
6. Ethan then murdered four people, injured I don’t know how many more, and traumatized the entire school, all in less than five minutes. He was arrested alive, one way or another.
7. While he was shooting at the school, Mrs. Crumbley texted him asking him not to.
8. When Ethan was arrested, the Crumbleys told him not to speak to the police, then they hired a lawyer. At some point after that, they went on the run.
9. I want you to look at number 8 again for a while. These people bought their mentally ill child a gun, bragged about it, sent him to school even when the school asked in a milquetoast way that he was not there, and then they left their child in jail as they shirked responsibility for their actions.
10. As far as I know, the media have been informed that the Crumbleys will be prosecuted for manslaughter before anyone else is informed. I can’t believe it, but it’s what it looks like to me. It’s as if the authorities want Mr. and Mrs. Crumbley to get off to a good start.
11. The sheriff said he had no idea the Crumbleys were going to be charged with manslaughter. He looked upset with the DA.
12. The Crumbleys’ attorney insisted to the media that the Crumbleys were not on the run under the law, they were simply in hiding out of fear for their lives. Meanwhile, the Crumbleys turned off their cell phones and withdrew $ 4,000 from an ATM.
13. Moments after the attorney made this statement, the Sheriff’s Office and the US Marshalls announced that the Crumbleys were fugitives and were looking for them. I really hope for the love of this lawyer that they have been paid well up front.
14. Several Michigan schools are now closed due to copycat murder threats.
Remember back in 1999, when everyone was complaining that if only they had known that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold had such terrible mental health issues beforehand, the Columbine Massacre would never have happened?
There have been at least 237 school shootings in the United States since the Columbine massacre, and from the latter, it is evident that we have learned nothing.
The parents and the school both knew in advance that their child was a murderer. Ethan asked for help in a note with an illustration of a gun killing someone. Mr. and Mrs. Crumbley look like idiots who wouldn’t know responsibility if it hit them in the face. But there was also an entire high school involved that could have stopped the shooting. Someone from Oxford High could have called 911 when he saw the note and took Ethan to hospital. And no, I don’t know or care at all if it was against school policy for some reason and they had to tell the parents first. Someone could have used common sense and done it anyway. Someone could have at least searched the desk, locker and backpack of the mentally ill teenager who bragged about his gun on social media, then asked for help before firing him in class. Now Ethan is in jail, his parents are still at large, four people are dead, and several more are still in the hospital.
Meanwhile, whenever I click on an update on the Oxford High School shooting, I also get a sidebar with a link to news on the Waukesha Christmas Parade massacre, where a disturbed man crushed a marching band and a troupe of dancing grandmothers, killing six people. Darrell Brooks Jr. was recently released on bail from prison where he was awaiting trial for deliberately crushing the mother of his child. Brooks’ mother wrote a letter to the media explaining that her son had mental health issues and could not afford any treatment.
These two nightmarish stories run through my head together.
They run together with all the other stories I know of people in America who were in desperate need of mental health care and didn’t get it until too late. But they also run with stories of people struggling with mental health issues and finding themselves abused by caregivers; where harmless people in need of compassion and understanding were coerced into cruel and dehumanizing treatment that made everything worse while others in dire need of treatment got nothing. And yes, I’m also thinking of cases closer to home, like our neighbor’s struggles with psychosis and how we couldn’t get any protection from her abuse. All these stories merge. No one is doing what they’re supposed to do.
America is broken.
We are completely broken.
The way we respond to mental health is just a microcosm of how broken we are.
The events in Oxford are a classic illustration of how we respond to mental health.
We’ve never been very good, but I don’t think I can really express how terribly bad we are.
And I don’t see how we can fix it when so many people who obviously should care are not.
Image via Pixabay
Mary Pezzulo is the author of Meditations on the Stations of the Cross and Stumbling in Grace: How We Meet God in Tiny Works of Mercy.
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