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This author comes off a bit as a radical who objects to the existence of firearms. The heated language and lack of consideration to the pitfalls and perils of this very new brand of criminal liability does not lead me to believe he is a good faith actor.

Did you consider the very well known phenomenon of hindsight bias? There is a reason that with police use of force Graham vs. Connor established that you have to judge an officers actions based off of what they knew at that exact moment. Not off of your opinion after the fact with all the time in the world to mull things over aka your hindsight. Would she still be liable maybe, but this wasn’t even mentioned as a consideration in the article.

What if the new form of criminal liability is extended? Why isn’t the school principal in prison? He didn’t call 911. By this logic he could go to prison too. This also tosses out a bedrock principle of criminal law. Actus Reus which refers to performing a criminal action. Standing idly by has never been a crime since it is not an act. One must do something illegal. Now we are criminalizing inaction which fairly unheard of. Go read through the criminal code of every state. You will find actions. Theft, Rape, Murder, Burglary, Assault, Robbery, Identity Theft… The list goes on and on. All of these things are actions not inactions.

So now that we’re criminalizing inaction will we send the droves of people to jail who we see in online videos standing idly by as a violent assault is happening? What if some makes and off hand comment “i’m about to go crazy” and its taken as hyperbole but isn’t. Does everyone who heard it get locked up? This is a new precedent that was just created. Don’t assume it will never expand.

Will we be legally mandating obligatory behaviors?

This article was very lacking on a serious turn we are taking in criminal law. Don’t be so transparently blinded by emotion.

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Will we be convicting the families of gang members for their inaction in the face of habitual violent behavior? I think that "equal application of the law" just took another giant step backward.

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It's an interesting argument—one that those who insist on the paramount importance of parental rights should grapple with. (Including me!)

But, alternatively, I'm curious how Mr. Nocera feels about states with transgender affirmation laws that essentially nullify parental rights if a minor child insists on a gender transition without their parents' consent.

How does this work? Parents are liable for their children shooting others, but cannot prevent their child from undergoing irreversible and damaging surgery? How does the latter square with parental rights?

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Why not prosecute the school employee that found the drawing and didn't search the backpack or remove the kid? This is horrible precedent as parents cannot control or know all kids action. Some kids are sociopathic and others same parents are well adjusted. This is a wicked and unjust. If there was a law about firearm storage or something the parent violated then a charge for that sure. But this act by a jury is hateful, vindictive and unfair. Any parent on the jury could be next. What about the unlocked beer in the fridge. Your kid drives drunk are you in jail for manslaughter??

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WTF!? Seriously!? Is personal responsibility completely out the window? Are you ready to throw the half parents of Chicagos southside into prison for the acts thier children did as gang members? This person has obviously never raised a child through adulthood. I don’t care how good a parent you think you are, when puberty starts to kick in around age 11-12, you loose them. This article is not based in parental reality, it’s based in parental utopia.

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This is a tough subject, and to me it's far from cut and dry, but I agree with the outcome in this one particular case. The actions of the mother were egregious. My firearms are never unsecured, and I'd never allow one to leave my home without both my consent and full knowledge of what it was to be used for. That's just good sense, which was absent here. Being responsible with firearms starts with being responsible.

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Parents are responsible for their children’s torts. But if you charge the kid as an adult that assumes he’s responsible for himself. I don’t think you can have it both ways

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“I thought at the time that if prosecutors tried them criminally, these horrible accidents surely would decline. I still believe that“

Really Joe? And where do we draw the line? Should we incarcerate all the single moms procreating gang bangers in South Chicago? Why don't we first punish DAs that let repeat CONVICTED felons loose on the public again and again, until they finally murder someone?

You can believe whatever you want but in the case of Ms. Crumbly, what would her taking her son out of school for a day accomplished? Would the state have institutionalized him? Before answering that, tell me why they haven’t institutionalized the scores of deranged homeless wandering around New York streets and subways, pushing old ladies in front of trains?

Maybe Mrs. Crumbly was a bad parent. But when we start locking people up for the actions of others it’s only a matter of time before some agenda driven prosecutor uses the same ruse to go go after his “enemies” Especially if one of them is leading a senile sock puppet in presidential polls.

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Prosecutions based on "novel legal theory" are a road to hell. This is a despicable piece of journalism based on raw emotion. The entire judicial system, particularly the criminal side, is based on juries NOT being enflamed by emotions. With good reason. Strikingly the author, more accurately the ranter, hits where the blame lies, the legislature. But gives it a free a pass. Typical. And the decimation of Crimo is nuts - the "child" was 21 and had owned the gun 7 years prior to the shooting. But if you are going to blame others for the egregious acts of individuals, put your money where your mouth is and call for the release of the Nashville shooter's manifesto so we can see what role trans played in the death of 5 elementary students, teachers and staff. Or the most recent one.

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Emotionally this argument is very very attractive.

From a legal standpoint though, I find the Reason piece to have the better argument.

Many people in authority failed Ethan Crumbley. Do we prosecute them all?

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oof, I think we need to take a giant step back on this one. Sounds like these parents did not do much if anything to stop their son from his downward spiral, but they were his actions. I could get behind the dad's charge, since he bought his son a firearm, but I feel like I need more of the story. But, I think this sets a dangerous precedent. Are you going to charge the single ethnic-minority mother for negligent homicide or accessory when her son does the same thing? Are you going to charge the parents of a gender-confused child when they shoot their schoolmates because they've been bullied?

Possibly criminalizing negligence in securing firearms could be a good thing, but I think I still need to be convinced of this. Parents also run over their toddlers backing out of the driveway; are you going to charge them with negligent homicide because they didn't look in their rearview mirror? What about parents that DO lock up their firearms, but their teenage kid finds the keys? Are you going to tell them that it's their fault still?

Something about this article does not sit right with me. Maybe it's the extrapolation from this school shooting to all school shootings to all gun deaths. I'm just not convinced this is going to stop school shootings. If the kid hates their parents enough, it might be more incentive. ("I'll go do this thing and then the world will see how terrible you are as a parent and then you'll be sorry!")

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The author's argument is: are they guilty of violating a law? No, but we should prosecute them anyway because "it's the right thing to do". This is the logic of the KKK and every other lawless mob through history. It's evil.

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Feb 8·edited Feb 8

I’m shocked by this article in the FP. Convicting someone of manslaughter who did not even kill anyone - holding someone accountable for a crime they didn’t commit - is an extremely dangerous path to go down. ‘It will help prevent other school shootings’ is not reason enough to justify such a breach of freedom and fairness. (And besides that, it’s also just your guess!). Bad move , FP. This article doesn’t become you.

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They tried Ethan as an adult. To me, they shouldn't be able to have it both ways... If the parents are criminally negligible, then Ethan should have been tried as a juvenile or vice versa.

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Michigan tried Ethan Crumbley as an adult, then prosecuted his mother for providing inadequate childcare. Is he an adult or a child? Is he responsible for his own actions or is someone else? I would say the state can’t have it both ways, but apparently they can.

I expect this verdict to be appealed and reversed. The law is not whatever prosecutors want it to be.

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The idea that punishment reduces crime has been proven wrong for centuries. If it did, by now, there would be very little crime. No one who considers committing a crime, thinks about the punishment.

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