Where Are the Parents?

Where Are the Parents?

Where Are the Parents?

Last week Karen McDonald, the prosecutor in Oakland County, MI, filed manslaughter charges against James and Jennifer Crumbley. They’re the parents of Ethan Crumbley, who, as you recall, opened fire at Oxford High School on Tuesday. Ethan killed four students and wounded eight others.

I watched McDonald’s entire press conference in which she laid out the details as to why she was charging the Crumbleys with manslaughter. The idea of possibly sending parents to jail for the actions of their son bothered me at first. But then as she listed her reasons for the charges, I agreed with her, and I still do.

However, it looks like McDonald may have an uphill battle in getting the charges to stick. Parents, as I have found, are rarely convicted for the criminal actions of their children. Plus, I listened to Andrew C. McCarthy, former federal prosecutor, outline why the Crumbleys will not see jail time, citing Michigan law. On the other hand, law professor Jonathan Turley wrote that there is “ample evidence of negligence,” and the charges may succeed.

Both attorneys made their legal assessments upon the basis of law, not on emotion. Yet I see people who proudly claim to be conservative twist themselves into knots to defend the Crumbley parents. This despite the fact that the Crumbleys bought Ethan a gun for Christmas when they knew he was a ticking time bomb. Plus, as Turley pointed out, the gun was illegal for the 15-year-old to own.


An issue bigger than the Crumbley parents

But charging manslaughter is “government overreach,” say many defenders. “The parents didn’t pull the trigger, the son did! Don’t blame the parents!” “This is totalitarianism, a way to grab guns.” These defenders would turn the Crumbley parents into martyrs of government. The poster children for victims of anti-gun oppression.

However, there’s a deeper issue here than the Crumbleys or party tribalism, and it boils down to the big elephant in the room:

Where are the parents? 

When did we get to the point where parents are no longer responsible for what their children do? My mom and dad were responsible for my brothers and me. My husband and I were responsible for our own kids. Our parents taught us morals, what was right and wrong through the precepts of the Christian faith. We passed those values down to our two kids. Raising children was the most important job our parents — and my husband and I — ever had.

But now?


Where are parents in schools?

As a veteran of an urban school district, I saw kids whose parents damaged their lives because they wouldn’t care for their emotional and moral needs.

I remember our school social worker — a usually unflappable woman whose office was next to mine — ask me in frustration, “What are these mothers thinking?” She couldn’t understand single mothers who would go from man to man without considering the emotional damage they were causing their kids. They cared more about who was in their bed than the welfare of their children.

There was the meeting the psychologist and I held with a mother whose speech delayed daughter had behavior problems in the classroom. In the midst of the meeting, the mom suddenly jumped up, and excused herself. “Gotta get home,” she said. “(Jerry) Springer’s gonna be on!” Priorities.

Or the kindergarten boy who would slap his classmates for no reason other than “it’s my job.” He would also sneak into the bathroom when the class was out of the room and return with feces, which he put under desks. This boy’s parents were married, but were drug addicts who ignored their baby boy. They would rather strap him into his infant seat than interact with him. Getting high was more important.


Kindergarten class/woodleywonderworks/CC BY 2.0.


Children growing up in dysfunction

There is a woman whom my husband and I knew through family connections in another city. She, in short, is a mess. Drugs, alcohol, and an unplanned, unmarried pregnancy.

Her boy is now about 10 years old, and had shown violent behavior in school. Last year, at nine years old, he went to a remedial facility in another part of the state. After his weeks had ended, he returned home.

Three days later he burned down his house. His mom and grandmother escaped, but a couple of potbelly pigs perished. These two women doted on their pet pigs. Not so much the boy.

Thank God he didn’t start the fire at school.

But in case anyone wondered — none of these examples I gave involved black or Hispanic kids. Race doesn’t matter; parenting does.


Parents who fail in cities

So this happened in Chicago on Saturday night.

Hundreds of teenagers used social media to organize in downtown Chicago in what the city officially calls a “large group incident.” But let’s be real — this was a mob causing mayhem and destruction — just because.

The mob showed up at 6:30 pm, right on cue, and started fighting. They beat up a boy and stole his shoes. They also beat up a 7-Eleven clerk. A 15-year-old was shot. And a bus driver, who heard a loud noise and stopped to check his bus, was beaten so badly that he went to the hospital.

Police arrested 20 teens.

So where were the parents? Who knows? You know they won’t be prosecuted like the Crumbleys, because this is Chicago. But should the parents of the 20 arrested be held responsible for injuries and destruction? And if holding the Crumbleys responsible for their son’s behavior is government run amuck — what about this?

But, the Crumbley example is different, some may protest. They don’t deserve it, because . . . reasons. And government overreach.


The end of order

You know how to permanently stop any possible overreach? Abolish government, and let anarchy reign. How would that work?

It wouldn’t last long, however. There would be a cry for a strong man to control the anarchy — and woe to any nation under that. Think Hitler, Stalin, Mao, the Kims. . . you get the idea.

We conservatives believe that ordered liberty is the best form of governance. But order must come from within, from the people who constitute the population. Government cannot legislate order.

Alexis de Tocqueville wrote:

“Society is endangered not by the great profligacy of a few, but by the laxity of morals amongst all.”

Whether or not the Crumbley parents are successfully prosecuted is small potatoes when compared to the bigger catastrophe that looms as more children are raised in dysfunction and without moral guidance.


Featured image: RebeccaVC1/flickr/cropped/CC BY-ND 2.0.

Written by

Kim is a pint-sized patriot who packs some big contradictions. She is a Baby Boomer who never became a hippie, an active Republican who first registered as a Democrat (okay, it was to help a sorority sister's father in his run for sheriff), and a devout Lutheran who practices yoga. Growing up in small-town Indiana, now living in the Kansas City metro, Kim is a conservative Midwestern gal whose heart is also in the Seattle area, where her eldest daughter, son-in-law, and grandson live. Kim is a working speech pathologist who left school system employment behind to subcontract to an agency, and has never looked back. She describes her conservatism as falling in the mold of Russell Kirk's Ten Conservative Principles. Don't know what they are? Google them!

  • […] post Where Are the Parents? appeared first on Victory Girls […]

  • Nina Bookout says:

    That is the key. The Parents. Where WERE they? This shooting didn’t happen out of the blue. I’d be willing to bet that the warning signs have been there for a while.

    What really gets me regarding the question of ‘Where are the parents’ is that the school district is claiming the parents refused to take their son home that day! So, the parents weren’t concerned? Or didn’t want to figure out which parent would miss work the rest of the day to care for their son??!!

    Furthermore, WHY after that refusal did the school let the boy go back to class instead of putting him in some type of modified ISS?

    • GWB says:

      Quite simple, Nina: since the school didn’t know he had access to a firearm, and especially that he already had it with him, they assumed he was on a short fuse but would have to go home (at least) and get a weapon. It’s bad reasoning, but I can understand it: if he is this far gone, and already brought the gun, he would be past giving warning notes; he would simply have already acted.

      I have to believe the parents were thinking in the same way. “Oh, phew, we can deal with this tonight when we all get home. We’ll keep him home tomorrow and get him into counseling.”

      The problem for these parents is they broke the law in providing (even de facto) him a firearm, and not locking it up properly. And, that he had already packed that firearm off to school.

      • SDN says:

        They routinely search kids and their lockers at school. Why was a search not done here before the parents even show up?

  • GWB says:

    I listened to Andrew C. McCarthy
    McCarthy has a real “no bad police, few bad prosecutors” vibe going. While I used to use him as a go-to legal pov, I haven’t in a while, as his views seemed to me to be very short-sighted.

    But order must come from within, from the people who constitute the population.
    You’ve been paying attention. 😉

    Good post, Kim, that could be a hundred times as long.

  • Lewis says:

    This is such an overwhelming problem. We have to realize that today’s parents often had no parenting themselves. My husband and I raised a Gen X and she, in turn, has raised what I think is a Gen Z. Not quite sure on that, I get confused on the alphabet generations! Our children have turned out well all for spending way too much time combating schools, even church, neighbors, and other family members. Parents have to have strong faith, love those children enough to do the hard parts. I fear it cannot happen with many families torn apart constantly. Maybe we should set up Parenting classes akin to those the far back generations attended to learn how to be an American. But even those immigrants across Ellis Island had something these generations seem to lack, the great desire to do it all right and to belong to the best in the world!

  • Gregory Brou says:

    Alexis De T was on target with the comment. ” society is endangered…. by the lack of morals”.

    Every time a public person claims to have a moral responsibility, they should be required to identify the public acknowledged standards they wish to be measured against.

    Standards could be the Boy Scout pledge, Hammarbis code, the Ten Commandments , the koran, the Torah, the US constitution, church bylaws, HOA bylaws, etc. Standards must be lasting, clearly stated, and not subject to quick change by activists. The federal legal system would not meet my definition of a standard because the common man could not understand the requirements.

    My personnel set of standards is the Ten Commandments plus love your neighbor and forgive them when they screw up. I also believe that the nations largest moral failing is with “Bearing false witness”

    Life was much better when the family unit was important and religious instruction took place. Many more people had morals

  • Kevin says:

    I don’t post much any more on VG blog … as a liberal and one whose entire career was working with out-of-control adolescents and those with mental health and drug and alcohol addiction issues, I saw first hand the damage of poor parenting. Poor parenting is not isolated to any political ideology … it runs rampant in our society with every demographic. It will only get worse given how society is so addicted to the internet and the inability to effectively communicate face-to-face. So many of the skills developed with positive and supportive in-person interaction (problem solving, conflict resolution, critical thinking, compassion for others) is being tossed to the side and instead it’s “in your face, the loudest voice, the most ‘likes’, the most outlandish and insensitive comments, the lies and mis/disinformation” are the ones encouraged. The last thing a parent should do today is introduce their child to the internet. Instead, more supportive and compassionate interaction through attendance at religious gatherings, parents involvement in their child’s education, participation in healthy social activities like boy/girl scouts, sports, academic clubs, and others. Most importantly, parents need to know the friends of their children because it’s those people who will become more influential in an adolescents life than their parents at some point in time. If your children are being influenced by the “wrong crowd,” it’s going to be an uphill battle and one you probably won’t win. Why the Crumbley’s did not at least walk their son outside, away from the school counselors, and say, “Do you have the gun?” is beyond me. They should be charged. They will probably not be convicted but the hell they will be put through in a trial might be a lesson to a few parents. If your child has a gun or access to a gun, you God damned better well know where that gun is at all times, every second of the day and if you have just a molecule of a suspicion your child might be struggling with something, take the weapon away. Children, even healthy ones, at times struggle with life decisions. The next time it may be your child that is blown away while simply attending class by an unstable child who was raised by parent(s) who didn’t give a shit.

    • GWB says:

      For once I can agree with you. Various things* have combined to make some large number of people treat their kids like an accessory and their pets like children. The long periods of time the children are in someone else’s care seems to also blunt the need to actually raise the children – instead making them mere care-takers during the hours they aren’t “productively engaged” by surrogates: coaches, teachers, administrators.

      (* We’ll leave off that specific discussion for another time.)

  • Kevin says:

    One other comment. I recently flew back to Montana in August where I grew up. I know, how does someone become a liberal growing up in Montana? It happens. On my return flight back to Portland, I sat next to a man and we started talking. He was a retired funeral director from Miles City, Montana. I, as a counselor, just started asking a few questions about his work. About 30 minutes into our flight he said, “I saw too many young people, mostly young men, who were distraught over losing their girlfriend and just decided to shoot themselves in the head. It happened all too frequently and it was painful to see the parents struggle with why their son did this.” These stories don’t make the papers. It’s an epidemic.

  • […] of the stellar parenting of James and Jennifer Crumbley in action. Ethan Crumbley, along with many high-school-age students, do not have a […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Become a Victory Girl!

Are you interested in writing for Victory Girls? If you’d like to blog about politics and current events from a conservative POV, send us a writing sample here.
Ava Gardner