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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This is video of the poor CTA bus driver that was beaten last night downtown. This is SO disgusting that this is happening in Chi. @TheMagMile @ChiefDavidBrown @MaryAnnAhernNBC @AnitaPadilla32 @FoxNews @CWBChicago @WGNNews @ABC7Chicago @cbschicago @ChiCityBusiness @AmyJacobson pic.twitter.com/EANvAwkwxF
— Paul Vallas (@Paulvallas) December 5, 2021
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.
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.