Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.  

Interesting turn of events, don’t you think? Of course, when you hear the evidence against Ethan Crumbley’s parents you realize that they themselves may have just as well been in the Oxford, Michigan school pulling the trigger. I had a conversation with a person who was greatly perplexed by the parents of this boy. Why would they buy a pistol for him for Christmas? Why wouldn’t the mother reprimand him for searching for ammo for that gun while in school and instead just tell him he has to get better at not getting caught? My theory: they were terrified of him, and I’m not just talking about the possibility of being shot while they sleep but having raised a child that doesn’t know boundaries. I could only tell that person, the only reason we are talking about this shooting is because two people on the planet were incapable of saying no to their child.

The Crumbleys now sit in separate cells, James and Jennifer on involuntary manslaughter and Ethan on counts that include murder and terrorism. Of course, this whole thing will turn into a political football of second amendment fumbles with little or nothing changing. Let’s face it, school shootings have become so easy to deal with and work past. Four dead in a school shooting doesn’t feel like we should call it a school shooting. To me, it’s among the most tragic school shooting stories I’ve ever heard, because from what we know right now, it sounds like it was all preventable. I’m not making light of this horrific situation, rather, painting a national picture of where we are as a people in dealing with it. There have been 21 school shootings since August 1, just as a reference.

I can’t imagine as a parent what the feeling is to learn of a school shooting at your child’s school and then learning that the shooter was your child. Honestly, I can’t imagine a greater burden than that. This is something that you can never reconcile. The place that you once called your community would no longer be your community; you’d be ousted. But what if you had knowledge that something like this would happen and you did nothing? Where is your head at now? I imagine that the burden of a parent learning that you have a child that is capable of this is one thing, then to do the right thing and call the school and the authorities is something completely different. Make no bones about it, if you don’t make that call it could end badly with no way to un-ring that bell. What would follow could be only labeled as pain and anguish.

There is nothing to like out of this whole thing; four children are dead, and more are injured. But if we needed to find a silver lining, it’s this: a precedent has been set, a parental precedent. That is not to say that every school shooting should be blamed on a parent, but if you know you’re going to be considered for some jail time, that may make you act with a little more urgency to try and prevent it. Three years ago, right here in our maple syrup-loving state, a school shooting was avoided because someone phoned it in. This is what it takes: paying attention to the signs and, of course, figuring out ways to keep these sorts of weapons out of the hands of children is another thing.

Yet here we are again, a nation dealing with another avoidable national tragedy. We’ll forget about it in a few weeks as something else creeps into the news cycle. The conversations around it will become quick and perfunctory and we will forget. It might take a few more weeks for the Oxford School District to get over it, but the “Oxford Strong” signs will pop up and of course the cure-all of “thoughts and prayers” will band them together and as a community they will press on. I’m sorry if I sound bitter, I am. I am sickened that for the 20 years I’ve penned this column the conversation is nauseatingly familiar with no real change coming out of it. My tone is one of someone whose soul is crushed by the endless cycle of violence with nothing happening.

Peter “Fish” Case is a man with an opinion. He offers up a weekly podcast discussion that can be heard at Questions, compliments and complaints can be sent to him at The opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of the Brattleboro Reformer.