Michigan prosecutors have admitted that their decision to bring a terrorism charge against a 15-year-old suspected of opening fire on high school classmates this week — killing four people and wounding seven others — was unusual for what it has become. A common tragedy in American schools.
“It’s not an ordinary, typical charge,” Oakland District Attorney Karen MacDonald said Wednesday. She explained that alleged gunman Ethan Curmbley will be charged as an adult with four counts of first-degree murder, seven counts of assault with intent to murder and 12 counts of possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony — plus one count. From “Terror causes death”.
But she said the charge was intended to address the damage the shooter had caused to those who had experienced a violent rampage but were not killed or injured. When we sat down and talked about the charges applicable in this case, children [who were killed] And those who got hurt – are the victims in the first-degree murder and assault with intent to murder charges, but what about all those other kids? “
“And what about all the children running and screaming and hiding under desks?” MacDonald said at a press conference. “What about all the children in the house now who can’t eat, can’t sleep and can’t imagine a world in which they could set foot in that school? These are victims too, so are their families, so is society. And the charge of terrorism reflects that.”
Under Michigan Anti-Terrorism Act of 2002, the plaintiffs will have to prove that the shooting was “intended to intimidate or coerce the civilian population or to influence or influence the conduct of the Government or one of its units through intimidation or coercion.”
Terrorism is not the only unusual charge that the attorney general’s office has considered part of this case.
Officials said the suspect’s father purchased the semi-automatic pistol used in the killing last Friday. While it’s unclear how Crumbly might have obtained the gun from his father, MacDonald said Wednesday that Gun owners are responsible for securing their guns — especially when young people are involved — and prosecutors will soon make a decision on whether to indict Crumble’s parents.
Such an accusation would be rare. However, gun control advocates say that holding adults accountable is essential to combating the nation’s underage shooting catastrophe.
From the podium, MacDonald said the shooting proves that “we need better gun laws.”
It’s a call echoed by Senator Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat who gave an emotional speech against gun violence on Wednesday — a clip of which had been viewed more than 3 million times on Twitter as of Thursday morning.
Murphy, a vocal advocate for gun control, said on the Senate floor that the Oxford shooting brought back memories of the 2012 shooting revolution in Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, killing 20 children and six employees.
He accused his fellow Republicans of preserving the interests of the gun lobby over the interests of American children and said their defense of the sanctity of life in The debate over abortion rights Hollow rings when they oppose stricter gun laws that could help prevent some mass shootings.
“Don’t lecture on holiness, the importance of life, when 100 people lose their lives every day to guns, and when children go to school afraid they won’t come home because their classmate will shoot them, when it is in our control whether that will happen.” , he said, addressing the Republicans.
He said the Senate’s lack of action on gun control sends a “silent message of support” to would-be shooters who have “convinced themselves that they can correct perceived mistakes by shooting a pistol into a crowd.”
“We’ve become part of the problem,” Murphy added. “Our silence has become complicity.”
“The sadistic drive to derive pleasure from terrorizing others can be traced back to other school shooters,” said psychologist Peter Langman, the nation’s leading expert on school shootings and author of the book.Warning Signs: Recognize school shooters before hitting.“
Langman, who ran Online database About school shooters for 13 years, he cited the writings and comments of gunmen, including one of the 1999 Columbine High School killers, Eric Harris, and Elliot Rodger, who killed six people in Isla Vista, California, in 2014.
“To some extent, we have to read between the lines because usually the perpetrators don’t make it explicit that I ‘committed this attack because I want to frighten others,'” Langman said. “But I see a connection between this desire for power and a sense of God.”
However, Langman said, none of these shooters have been prosecuted for terrorism charges. “I don’t remember this charge in any shootings at another school I studied,” he said.
While School shootings are still rare, there were 34 more in 2021 than in any year since at least 1999, according to Washington Post database which tracks gun violence on the K-12 campus during regular school hours.
Tuesday’s mass murder in Oxford was the deadliest school shooting More than three years.
Subscribe to newsletters
Stay up to date with the latest news from Boston.com