Disciplining School Shootings After Uvalde – The Parents

This week in Uvalde, Texas, another mass shooting caught the attention of the U.S. Perhaps because it was 19 school children and two teachers that paid the highest price. Yet again, it was a very young adult man who carried this out. Debates about gun control aside, we can all agree something needs to be done, and one place to start would be further discipline of the people responsible.

Yes, the shooter is dead in the case of Uvalde, but that shouldn’t necessarily be the end of the line in justice being carried out. Certainly for the sake of the families who lost loved ones, children at that, but also for the good of our nation and for some sign that something is being done. He alone pulled the trigger, but many along the way didn’t do their civic duty given the realities of the time we live in.

It Starts at Home

Parents can’t be straight out blamed for any school shooting, but their role in the events can certainly vary and it should be examined in every case and prosecuted when significant. We can make the old adage about doing everything right or trying to do everything right, but the reality is that it’s not normal to decide to commit murder-suicide at any age. If someone does it in the time where they’re still living at home, there are questions to be asked of those around them. It’s not definite, but it’s probable that there were warning signs or time to intervene, and with many of these cases involving family members directly, the suspect’s motivation as it relates to their family members has to be examined.

In this case it was a grandmother who was shot, despite having an argument with her grandson just before she was shot, she does not seem to be at fault with anything we know now. However, her and the shooter’s mother, who he fought with before moving in with his grandmother, need to be examined as well as any other significant authority figure in his life. Other shootings, like the one awaiting trial in Detroit, have more clear cases of fault, if not blame.

According to police, and records of the shooter’s correspondences, the parents in that case were informed of the boy’s mental health problems months before buying a gun around his birthday, which the boy thought of as his. He also described being laughed at by his parents when he brought up these issues. Reports go on to detail the boy’s room as a place filled with potential warning signs, internet searches the boy made and the parents were informed of days before, and the fact that it was suggested to the boy’s parents the morning of the shooting that they take him out of school, but they failed to do so.

Hold Parents to the Same Standard as Everyone Else in School Shootings

It’s impossible to say they condoned the shooting, and extremely presumptuous, but given the evidence it’s also hard to argue that any reasonable or attentive parent would buy a weapon for their son with so many precursors to what happened that day. So many people are prosecuted every day for decision making that amounts to criminal conduct. It comes into play with everything from child neglect to murder cases, and the case in Detroit includes elements of both. Other school shootings, including Uvalde, should be subject to the same questioning.

If someone can be prosecuted for missteps that involved them in a drug, theft, or murder case then why wouldn’t we do the same with parents who were just to lazy or inattentive to do their part in preventing a school shooting? Doing the same for one of the most horrendous crimes someone can commit might go a long way to making sure parents and parental figures do their part in the future.

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