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The gun crisis in America is exponentially worsening: who must be held responsible?

The parents of 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley have been charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter by Prosecutor Karen McDonald in a landmark move that represents a giant advancement in the legal system. While the parents of teenage school shooters were rarely held legally accountable in the past, the lack of responsible gun ownership is now playing a huge role in the present, and changes in the legal process have finally started to hold adults responsible for their roles in their child’s crimes.

Though some may attribute a child’s crimes to their ignorance rather than their parents’ negligence, it is the parents’ job to help their children navigate throughout their early adolescence in order to show them the responsibility that they will later bear in the real world. Children need to be guided down a moral path at a young age and provided with all the attention and affection they need in order to properly develop. Furthermore, parents are supposed to ensure the security and safety of their kids. In the case of Ethan Crumbley, however, his parents completely failed to do so.

As a result, they need to be held responsible. Not just for the crimes that their child commits, but also for their failures to act as proper guidance figures. 

For the first time, charges are being brought up against the parents of a school shooter. Though there is no gun control law in Michigan that mandates the safekeeping of guns, Prosecutor Karen McDonald took the first step towards creating a safer America by holding James and Jennifer Crumbley culpable for their negligence. According to CNN, she stated that people “have to start addressing how somebody like [Ethan Crumbley] can so easily get their hands on a weapon and hold the people responsible who allowed that to happen.”

Gun control is no joke. For years, people have argued about the different measures that need to be taken in order to reduce violent crimes from occurring in the states. To find a solution to the predicament that has plagued the nation for decades on end, people need to start asking the right questions and new procedures need to be instituted so that those who go against the established rules suffer the consequences for their actions.

However, to Jennifer Crumbley, finding out that her son had been browsing the web for access to ammunition a few days prior to the shooting was no big deal. In fact, she even encouraged it, reportedly saying in a message, “LOL I’m not mad at you. You have to learn not to get caught,” when authorities discovered the details of Ethan Crumbley’s chilling search history. This is a prime example of a parental guardian’s failure to educate their child, which showcases the little fear that adults have towards the justice system.

The fact that school shootings all typically occur in similar manners demonstrates the lack of regard for children’s mental health. Furthermore, it shows that the ongoing carnage in America is not being taken seriously. As long as gun owners were not being charged for providing others the ability to perform mass murder, they acted recklessly, believing that they could never be held accountable for the roles that they had in crimes that they did not commit firsthand. 

According to a study conducted in 2019, gun injuries are the leading cause of death among American high school students and the second leading cause of death among children and teens. Furthermore, 1.7 million children live in homes with access to guns. This just goes to show that the current firearm regulations established in states like Michigan are lax and ineffective against reducing gun violence, and the government needs to reevaluate its values and step it up in order for a single shred of hope of ever fixing this national crisis.

Now that Karen McDonald set a precedent by dealing with the Oxford High School shooting case with an iron fist, people will be forced to recognize the severity of overlooking the law.  

Just like how it is morally wrong to purchase alcohol for minors, it is morally wrong to purchase firearms for minors as well. For the Crumbley’s to believe that a gun is an appropriate present for a child shows that there is something fundamentally wrong with America. However, the fault still lies within the adults that allow children the means to commit crimes— minors only have limited capabilities, and adult intervention is needed for them to have access to the forbidden fruits of the real world. 

Yet, the sad reality is that some kids are not even offered the opportunity to redeem themselves after they engage in criminal activity. Though Ethan Crumbley is only 15-years old, he is currently being charged as an adult. His diabolical actions were so deplorable that he is no longer being perceived as a child in the court of law. Charged with terrorism and murder, the teenager might not ever be released from prison if he is convicted for his crimes. It is saddening to see such a young child journey down a destructive path, but justice is being served and the Crumbley family must now suffer the consequences of their poor conduct.

Brimming with purity, each soul starts off as an innocent spirit that harbors no ill intent. It is unfortunate to see what Ethan Crumbley has become after just fifteen years of existence, but the Oxford High School shooting serves as the unnerving reminder that kids will continue to do despicable things under the improper guidance of their parents. Before their child emerges into adulthood, parents must learn the basics of parenting, along with accountability, liability and responsibility. Let us take the Michigan shooting not as an act of complete violence but as a lesson to be learned: a lesson that will determine whether or not America continues to be known as a place engulfed by violence or as a safe haven for the millions of precious lives it contains.

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