Guest Op-Ed: What About the Other Ethan Crumbleys?

Dr. Glenn Mollette 

We are unfortunately informed once again of another horrific, senseless school shooting. They don’t stop. When will the next one be? Who will be the next shooter and who will be the next unsuspecting victims? 

Once again, American kids go to school to pursue education and American life but are murdered by a classmate while walking the hallway or sitting in a class. This has to stop. Will it ever? 

According to news reports, on November 30, 2021, Ethan Crumbley, a fifteen-year-old, took the lives of four schoolmates and injured seven others at Oxford High School, a Detroit, Michigan suburb. 

Crumbley has once again reminded us of the horrific outcomes of mental illness and the importance of parents, teachers, churches and communities working together to protect each other. 

According to news reports, the Oxford school was alerted to Crumbley’s disturbing social media posts, drawings depicting violence, and other actions that had called for his parents to come to the school for a serious talk about their child. Reports of the parents buying a semi-automatic weapon for their son’s Christmas present and taking him to a shooting range for practice is revealing their denial of, as well their failure to address, their son’s problems. 

My dad gave me some shotgun lessons when I was growing up. I was turned loose in the hills of Appalachia to hunt for squirrels at the age of 12 with a hunting license. Parents teaching their children to shoot a weapon and hunt are as old as our nation. However, parents should never provide their children access to guns when there are obvious warnings of mental illness. 

Past school shooters have talked about being bullied by classmates or not fitting into any of the school social groups. Rejection, being bullied, failure to make the school team or feeling outright mistreated makes anyone feel bad, dejected and disappointed. Such feelings should be a push to any of us to look at ourselves to see how we either must adjust, change, work harder, problem solve as to what is happening or even find a different school or community in which to live. Hurting others never resolves anything and only increases our pain, darkness and sentences the rest of our lives to prison or regret of how we handled our feelings. 

School can be a difficult life learning ground. What we face in the local school often is only preparing us for what we may face at the office, the factory, the workplace and the neighborhood. Throughout life we know everyone is not going to like us, accept us, applaud us or even try to get along with us. There are always people who don’t like us. However, there are people who will affirm, support, and befriend us.  Sometimes it just takes a while to find those communities, houses of faith, social groups, and others with whom we can emotionally connect.

The Ethan Crumbleys of the world are sad, scary and wreak destruction. They need help now.  His life and many other lives are forever destroyed. Apparently, his parents were living in some sort of disconnected denial of what their son was really about to do to himself, them and many others.

Schools and work places must have all authority to protect themselves quickly. Oxford school officials were alarmed by some of his actions. They were trying to work with the parents. Looking back, he should have been escorted out of the school and barred from its grounds until a professional counselor had given written permission for his return. I know, hindsight is always 20/20. 

Sadly, for those who are now dead, it’s too late. Maybe the other Ethan Crumbleys can be stopped today, right now, before it’s too late.

Glenn Mollette is the publisher of Newburgh Press, Liberty Torch and various other publishing imprints; a national columnist –  American Issues and Common Sense opinions, analysis, stories and features appear each week In over 500 newspapers, websites and blogs across the United States.

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