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Classmates during a prayer vigil after the Oxford High School school shootings, Nov. 30, 2021. A jury recently found the mother of shooter Ethan Crumbley guilty on four counts of involuntary manslaughter // Jake May/The Flint Journal via AP

PI Perspective: A Michigan jury gets it right on gun violence, while Pennsylvania’s governor urges lawmakers to see the light and legalize recreational weed

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By Carmen Gentile






Justice was served recently when the mother of a Michigan school shooter was convicted on four counts of involuntary manslaughter, one for each of her teenage son’s school shooting victims.

Jennifer Crumbley now faces up to 15 years in prison. Her crimes stem from her failure to address her son Ethan’s obvious mental health issues before he committed cold-blooded murder.

What’s so galling about her crimes is that she and her husband, James, who will also face involuntary manslaughter charges next month, could have prevented the killings.

On Nov. 30, 2021, Jennifer and James Crumbley were summoned to their 15-year-old son’s school because a teacher noticed he had scrawled worrisome messages on his math homework.

“The thoughts won’t stop. Help me. My life is useless.” he’d written.

School officials wanted the Crumbleys to take their son home that day.

However, they declined.

Hours later, Ethan pulled from his backpack the handgun James had bought him days earlier, shooting and killing four students and injuring several others.

Jennifer had apparently purchased 100 rounds of ammunition for Ethan that same weekend before his killings.

That the Crumbleys would provide a deadly weapon to a child struggling with his mental health should be shocking.

Unfortunately, it’s not in Gun-Obsessed America.

What is surprising is that parental negligence related to a school shooting is being punished under the law, as well as it should.

After how many school shootings have we learned that the shooter exhibited problematic, flashing-warning-sign behavior before gunning down the innocent?

Parkland, Uvalde, and Newtown all come to mind, just off the top of my head.

[Note: all three of these shooters were over 18 when they committed their mass killings, though they exhibited troubled behaviors as children.]

More scrutiny needs to be placed on the parents of underage school shooters to determine whether they, too, were negligent in allowing their children access to guns.

Perhaps only then, when more parents of school shooters wind up behind bars, will gun-obsessed Americans get the point about the consequences of worshiping at the altars of deities like Sig Sauer and Smith & Wesson.






 

Meanwhile, back in Pennsylvania, Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro is trying to drag middle-of-the-state, stubborn mules, err state legislatures, into the 21st century, asking them to legalize recreational marijuana sales and use.

Five of Pennsylvania’s six neighboring states have already legalized recreational weed: Ohio, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, and Delaware, collectively reaping millions of dollars in additional tax revenue.

West Virginia is Pennsylvania’s only neighbor that also hasn’t recognized reality.

It is absolutely asinine that Pennsylvania hasn’t legalized it yet, especially since medical use has been on the books for several years and is quite popular.

Perhaps too popular … Something always seemed fishy to me about the state’s medical marijuana system.

Hear me out:

Medical marijuana dispensaries operating in the state enjoy a cozy relationship with Pennsylvania in that a license must be obtained from the state — for a fee —  and renewed annually — for a fee.

The license can only be obtained following a doctor’s visit, and that costs money, too.

In turn, dispensaries in Pennsylvania charge higher prices for a limited selection of products, bringing in loads of taxable revenue without ever fully admitting that the war on marijuana has been a huge waste of time.

It’s that last lie that’s tough for some PA lawmakers to admit. Full legalization, to them, means acknowledging they were wrong.

And considering how many MAGA minions there are in the state legislature, delusion and boneheadedness aren’t exactly in short supply in Harrisburg.

Now, I can be, and I hope I am wrong — but something tells me Gov. Shapiro and other Keystone State legal weed advocates, like me, will remain frustrated by Pennsylvania’s stupid policy on pot for a while still.

Carmen Gentile

Postindustrial founder Carmen Gentile has worked for some of the world’s leading publications and news outlets, including The New York Times, USA TODAY, CBS News, and others. His book, “Blindsided by the Taliban,” documents his life as a war reporter and the aftermath of his brush with death after being shot with a rocket-propelled grenade in Afghanistan. Reach him at carmen@postindustrial.com.

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