Ethan Crumbley was convicted last year and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. His parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, were convicted in separate trials and this week received 10-15 years in prison. Ethan went down in history as a mass shooter, killing four students and wounding seven others at his school. His parents also made history when they became the first parents to be held accountable for their child’s actions. The cherished gun culture in the United States was also on trial as an invisible co-conspirator.

At the crux of the trials was how a kid with obvious mental health issues could have a weapon in his position - a weapon purchased by his parents. Ethan, like many of the youth who evolve into mass shooters, cried out many times for help. Those cries were ignored by the two people closest to him: James and Jennifer Crumbley.

There have been nearly 400 school shootings in the U.S. since Columbine in 1999. It is estimated that nearly 500 millions guns are in households across the country. For reasons I can’t explain, gun sales doubled during the COVID-19 pandemic. White America have been unapologetic about its fetish for weapons. It has been brazen in the defense of guns whether used by police on unarmed Black citizens or in suicides or in mass shootings.

School shootings are different. They involve children as the victims. Somebody’s baby. How long would a nation put up with seeing its future splattered against classroom walls?

Well, it has taken a generation and many school shootings, but public opinion is finally swaying against the biggest perpetrator of gun lust - the National Rifle Association (NRA). This past year has confirmed that the NRA’s extremist agenda, along with gross mismanagement of its funds, took a big hit on its influence and power. Membership is on the decline which means revenues follow suit. NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre was exposed as being more committed to his extravagant lifestyle than to the goals of the 150+-year-old organization. “Wayne’s Kingdom” is crushing underneath the avalanche of  lawsuits, investigations and media exposés.

I count the NRA as a big-time co-conspirator in mass shootings because of their absolute refusal to entertain even the most common-sense gun regulations. Not even in the face of the carnage produced when automatic bullets hit the body of a six-year-old. This sociopathic behavior became clearer over the years with the NRA doubling down after each shooting.

The other big-time co-conspirators are gun manufacturers whose marketing of fear is the driving force for selling military guns in a domestic setting. To protect one’s home, does one really need an assault rifle that fires 20-30 rounds at 800 rounds per minute?

Elected officials are the lackeys of the gun manufacturers and the NRA who have spent billions electing and re-electing candidates who support their nihilist agenda. They also bear responsibility for the mounting body count due to the manufacturing and accessibility of high-powered guns to citizens.

The Crumbley family is collateral damage. They are in prison. They thought they were following the script for gun-toting loyalists. They know by now that their prosecution has set a precedent of unknown repercussions.

Our civilized society needs to have a sobering discussion on its passive approach to mental health and the availability of automatic weapons. Then maybe we can establish a humane strategy that is effective and not vindictive. Then maybe, just maybe, we can save some lives.

BlackCommentator.com Editorial Board

member and Columnist, Jamala Rogers,

founder and Chair Emeritus of the

Organization for Black Struggle in St.

Louis. She is an organizer, trainer and

speaker. She is the author of The Best of

the Way I See It – A Chronicle of

Struggle. Other writings by Ms. Rogers

can be found on her blog

jamalarogers.com. Contact Ms. Rogers

and BC.

  Bookmark and Share

Bookmark and Share