Jury foreperson in Jennifer Crumbley case says the mother failed to 'secure' the gun used in the mass shooting from her son

Jennifer Crumbley, 45, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the deadly school shooting carried out by her then-15-year-old son in 2021.

[…]

In the trial, Jennifer Crumbley testified that while “I don’t think I’m a failure as a parent” and “wouldn’t have” done anything differently in how she parented her son, she felt regret for what he did.

It’s about time a parent is held responsible. Maybe this will finally start moving a needle.

b3an,
@b3an@lemmy.world avatar

There are colloquial sayings related to cautioning against giving matches to children. “Like giving matches to a child,” used metaphorically to describe any reckless or dangerous act of enabling someone ill-equipped to handle a situation. This underscores the inherent risks and potential for harm in such actions, reflecting a common understanding that certain tools or privileges should only be entrusted to those who can handle them responsibly.

We have this baked into us, that things like matches shouldn’t be left to children. But for some fucked up reason, some adults think firearms and children mix.

This mother has no regrets about her parenting and wouldn’t change anything?! She’s kidding herself to sleep at night.

CeruleanRuin,
@CeruleanRuin@lemmy.world avatar

They didn’t go far enough. Anyone who treats guns like this around children should be nailed to a building and pecked to death by birds.

Honytawk,

Yes, and as long as you have those irresponsive gun owners, your school shooter problem will not go away.

ChaoticEntropy,
@ChaoticEntropy@feddit.uk avatar

Is it not weird that jurors can just get out there and start selling their stories after being involved in a trial…? It feels weird.

Copernican,

How do you try a kid as an adult then blame the mom for not being a responsible adult for her child’s actions?

captain_aggravated,
@captain_aggravated@sh.itjust.works avatar

Easily. You say “Here’s the process we need to throw demonstrably garbage people in the trash” and then you do that process.

Evia,
@Evia@lemmy.world avatar

More than one person can be responsible for a crime. A burgler might have been the one to break and enter but the accomplice could still have been culpable of staking the house and driving the getaway car.

Copernican,

Well yes. But you have a child that did a heinous thing. We say this kid actually has enough moral culpability and responsibility to be tried as an adult and receive life in prison. Then in the other trial you argue that this mother is culpable because the child actually is a child, and an adult needs to responsible? The rationale of manslaughter was based on the mother being the last adult with the gun, right? That seems contradictory and if we want to blame the mother, the kid should be tried as kid.

Evia,
@Evia@lemmy.world avatar

Eh, if the child was an adult and they were strangers to each other, I’d still say that the gun owner was culpable for not securing their gun properly. If you own a weapon, it’s your responsibility to know where it is and what it’s doing at any time

Copernican,

“For me, I just feel like Jennifer didn’t separate her son from the gun enough to save those lives that day.”

I don’t think jury’s would use that logic if the son was full grown adult.

Evia,
@Evia@lemmy.world avatar

We don’t need to focus on the details here. If they were strangers, the jury would say something to the effect of, ‘Jennifer failed to prevent undue access to her gun’ or ‘negligently permitted a stranger to have access to her gun’. Ultimately, if it’s her gun, she needs to be in control of it, regardless of the circumstances

Copernican,

So both parents should get full manslaughter charges? If the father was the one that purchased the gun is he more responsible than the mother? I find it weird that liberal folks generally are very anti-prison industrial complex, but for certain issues like this it seems we want to jail as many people as possible and dupliclate or triplicate blame of responsibility across as many people as possible for 1 person;s, who is tried as an adults, actions.

Evia,
@Evia@lemmy.world avatar

Either or both parent could be responsible depending on the circumstances. Was dad working away and doesn’t own any guns? Not his responsibility. Does mum have 3 guns but all of them were locked away according to strict safety regulations and the child accessed a gun from somewhere else? Also not responsible. Did uncle give the child a gun and tell him to go nuts? Very responsible. Circumstances, and levels of culpability, can vary. If both parents own guns, didn’t secure them properly and failed to monitor or restrict the child’s concerning behaviours then yes, they’re both equally culpable.

I don’t really identify as liberal and not sure what that’s got to do with anything. But regardless, if somebody’s willful negligence leads to multiple deaths then yes, they should be held accountable.

Copernican,

I understand that point. But if those are things we as society want to pursue for legal justice, how can we try the child as an adult?

circuscritic,

I can’t be the only person who cringes anytime a juror from a big trial does a press tour, right?

Creepy as fuck, and makes me wonder what will come out about their conduct during trial.

FenrirIII,
@FenrirIII@lemmy.world avatar

15 minutes of fame

LesserAbe,

Yeah, seems fraught. That said, I feel a little different where it might be attached to a societal issue like gun control vs something where it’s a tabloid driven murder case or something.

AA5B,

In this case, the added publicity for holding parents responsible for not securing firearms, or giving underaged people free access, is more valuable than anything else.

derf82,

We pay jurors a pittance to give up weeks if not more of their lives for these massive cases. I can’t blame them for wanting to get something more from it.

PM_Your_Nudes_Please,

Yup. When I got roped into jury duty, it almost caused me to go homeless; I lost a five figure contract because I couldn’t guarantee availability anymore. And the $4 per day from jury duty didn’t even cover the cost of my parking.

Copernican,

you show up for 1 day, tell the judge (if you are selected as a jury candidate for a trial) your financial situation and they’ll excuse you and say they will call you up at a later time.

PM_Your_Nudes_Please,

My state/county doesn’t have an exemption for financial burden. And even then, voir dire happened on the first day of the contract, so I still would’ve missed out regardless.

FlyingSquid,
@FlyingSquid@lemmy.world avatar

There wasn’t a single thing they would have done differently? Because my daughter is only 13 and hasn’t killed anyone and I can still think of plenty of things I would have done differently if I had to do them over again.

Her son was doomed from the start because he had a narcissistic parent.

BurningnnTree,

I think it’s a good thing for parents to be held accountable for school shooters’ actions, because that punishment can act as a deterrent for the shooters. A would-be shooter might change their mind if they know their parents will go to prison if they carry out their plans.

some_guy,

Given that he tried to say he alone was responsible, I think this is accurate.

ChicoSuave,

People ask “how did this happen?” after a shooting. The inevitable answer “they were raised bad” is now being scrutinized and this is what it looks like when we agree raising a child is now a legal liability. Making good parenting a legal requirement is a good step towards better adults. It’s going to be interesting seeing those who believe “property rights over human rights” spin this decision to make them the victim.

JustARaccoon,

The issue is though who defined what is and isn’t “good parenting”?

CCMan1701A,

Ok, sure, but some pro-life states make you have kids even if you don’t want to continue with the pregnancy. So this may cause unfit parents to exist due to government policies.

captain_aggravated,
@captain_aggravated@sh.itjust.works avatar

Which is why we need to make the Republican party extinct.

MegaUltraChicken,

Ding ding ding. We have a winner!

ryathal,

There’s definitely an opportunity for a slippery slope here. At the same time, these parents put strawman examples of negligent parents to shame. They did almost everything bad except actively aid their son in the act.

roguetrick,

That's almost impossible to prove to a jury in a civil case. Pretty landmark they proved it in a criminal one. I still wouldn't expect it to be a trend though.

tygerprints,

This "mother" should never have been a mom to start with. She was a horrible parent, with an out of control mentally troubled teen who should never have been given a gun in the first place. I'm glad that parents are starting to be held accountable for this kind of abberant need to give weapons to troubled kids and then turn a blind eye to the tragedy about to occur.

SnotFlickerman,
@SnotFlickerman@lemmy.blahaj.zone avatar

Good thing they withheld her last name, because she’s about to become an instant celebrity for lonely dudes into pale gothy women.

roguetrick,

I respect a chick that goes full Elvira for a morning show interview. Staff makeup team must've been over the moon about touching her up.

UNWILLING_PARTICIPANT,

Thank you! I know it’s vapid, but I can’t believe I had to scroll so far to find people talking about this absolute lewk!

SeaJ, (edited )

Considering they gifted it to him when they knew he was mentally unwell, I would agree that would qualify as failing to secure it.

echodot,

I wouldn’t give a mentally fit 15-year-old a gun. At the age they don’t really understand how destructive the gun is, not at a visceral level.

LowtierComputer,

100%. Even my gun nut family will give access to guns, but the kids never truly own a gun or have unlimited access without a guardian. They’re kids!

KillerTofu,

Good. This is some common sense gun laws I think people could get behind. You can keep all the guns you want but if you fail to secure them you’re held liable. Maybe more people will not keep a loaded gun unsecured and accessible to anyone let alone children.

SnotFlickerman,
@SnotFlickerman@lemmy.blahaj.zone avatar

I personally think maybe we should consider subsidizing gun-safe purchases so people are incentivized to buy a gun safe by making them more affordable to first time gun-buyers.

Guns are pretty expensive on their own, and much like people buying a fancy motorcycle but cheaping out on helmet and chaps, people will skip the gun safe if it costs more than they can afford including the gun.

ThePantser,
@ThePantser@lemmy.world avatar

Or maybe they have to buy a safe and or prove they already have one before they are allowed to buy a gun. We can’t take away the right to own a gun but we sure as hell can make sure it’s safely stored.

butwhyishischinabook,

Oh good, the old “no guns for the poor” system. Time tested.

GeneralEmergency,

That’s sort of the situation in the UK, or at least where I’m at.

echodot,

The UK also doesn’t allow pistols anyway. Which is the first kind of gun that most people buy.

GeneralEmergency,

Not strictly true.

Pistols are allowed in Northern Ireland, and are subject to the same licences and regulations as rifles and shotguns.

And there are some pistols that are designed to comply with regulations and can be bought.

SnotFlickerman,
@SnotFlickerman@lemmy.blahaj.zone avatar

A better option sure, but I’ve been alive in the USA long enough to know that’s a non-starter. We’re absolutely the country of “You have the freedom to ignore safety precautions because there aren’t laws against being a complete fucking idiot and a danger to other people.”

Sorry I was trying to live in the dystopian reality we exist in for a moment.

I don’t exactly have solutions for what to do about conservatives always arguing in bad faith, so my suggestion reflected a political reality, which is that our system of government treats their lack of education and arguing in bad faith valued as the same as educated good faith arguments. It’s wrong, it’s stupid, it’s backwards, and it’s so broken we’re literally having to have courts decide whether a President can be a King, actually. But it’s the system as it exists, not as much as we wish it wasn’t a bunch of bullshit crafted by white slave owners who wanted to protect the aristocracy by only allowing land-owning white men to vote. We’re not exactly starting with a system that wasn’t a pile of dogshit to begin with over here.

AA5B,

We’re absolutely the country of “You have the freedom to ignore safety precautions because there aren’t laws against being a complete fucking idiot and a danger to other people.”

For sure, but at least holding them responsible when someone gets hurt or killed is a start. It’s too late to prevent “being a danger to other people”, but maybe some will learn not to “ignore safety precautions”. It’s pretty minimal justice for someone’s life, but it’s a step

yesman,

I thought gun locks were required to be included with sales?

I know several gun owners who carry and eventually the gun is just like a wallet or keys, they forget about it, loose it, and drop it on the ground. Thousands of gun owners try to bring their weapons through airport security every year, and most of them just forgot they had it on them.

You’re thinking of owners who hunt or shoot for recreation forgetting all the wannabe gunslingers for whom storing the thing in a safe would defeat the purpose of owning the thing.

captain_aggravated,
@captain_aggravated@sh.itjust.works avatar

Turns out those re-usable zip ties pretty much qualify as a “gun lock” to comply with that regulation. The state of the lock industry is completely pathetic anyway, and guns come with the laziest shit they can muster.

FireTower, (edited )
@FireTower@lemmy.world avatar

The quality of gun locks given for free with a purchase is very poor. Properly mounted safes are the best bet. Locks alone don’t prevent someone from taking it else where to open it with powertools.

Relevant lockpicking lawyer videos:

youtu.be/ke418cAUcPs?si=

youtu.be/o0LYD9zgWnw?si=

youtu.be/6dF9bsQ50Os?si=

echodot,

I’m not saying that’s acceptable but a crap gun safe would still be better than nothing which is what they had in this case.

AA5B,

I’m pretty sure there have been such programs for trigger locks

kent_eh,

but if you fail to secure them you’re held liable.

Exactly.

People like to scream about their rights, but they forget that rights come with responsibilities.

Treczoks,

In some areas of the US, it is way too easy for criminals to get hold of a gun: Steal a car, get a gun for free.

quirzle,
quirzle avatar

You can keep all the guns you want but if you fail to secure them you’re held liable.

I think support for this depends a lot on where that line is drawn. Failing to keep your admittedly troubled children away from guns is obvious (and covered by existing laws, hence the guilty verdict here). At the other extreme, I don't think having a gun stolen during a legitimate robbery should be criminalized, since that's moving into victim-blaming territory.

I'm not sure where the line is drawn, but a parent in this sort situation has some responsibility both from the failure in parenting and the failure in securing the firearm. Makes for an easy agreement with the verdict in this specific situation, imo.

KillerTofu,

Having an unsecured gun stolen during a robbery vs having a secured gun stolen during a robbery are different though.

ThePantser,
@ThePantser@lemmy.world avatar

Hard to prove if it was secured without some sort of surveillance on the safe. But easy to prove if they have no records of ever owning a safe.

Ensign_Crab,

If you have a gun stolen, reporting the theft would presumably indicate that you did not willingly give the firearm to the person who stole it.

quirzle,
quirzle avatar

The "safe storage" laws are usually pretty worthless just on how they define "safe" on top of the actual problem with enforcement. They're not meaningful in any practical way, as anyone responsible enough that they should be allowed to own a gun already locks their shit down.

People who only lock their firearms away because they're required to are the reason shit like Nanovaults are so popular. They're a good-sounding concept, but in reality are held together with flimsy plastic internals. You can literally pry them open with a knife or housekey, or even just slam them onto the ground to pop them open.

tl;dr: Given the lax legal definition of a safe, using one doesn't necessarily add any meaningful security.

As an aside, I have safes for valuables and documents I'd like to survive a housefire...but I don't have any record of owning them. Were they stolen, I don't think it'd be easy to prove I didn't have them.

SheeEttin,

Safes are meant to keep out children and casual thieves. A dedicated attacker can break into any safe with enough time and effort.

quirzle,
quirzle avatar

A lot of storage boxes marketed specifically as gun safes won't even keep out casual thieves. That was my point.

AA5B,

in reality are held together with flimsy plastic internals

Sometimes that is enough. For example think of how poor the locks are on most front doors, how flimsy the frame is. There are many ways to defeat the pathetic security on most people’s houses yet they do actually discourage some break-ins. Many crimes of impulse can be prevented just by making it inconvenient enough for the impulse to pass or the perpetrator to find an easier target.

I’m not saying that is the case here, but I’d like to know if it is.

quirzle,
quirzle avatar

I’m not saying that is the case here, but I’d like to know if it is.

It's not. The reason I called out the specific Nanovault in another comment was that a friend had locked his (the gun bumped into the internal button to change the combination and it had gotten changed and was unknown, another ridiculous design flaw). Rather than mess around with cracking the new combination, I shoved the blade of my pocket knife into it, twisted it, and it popped open. Literally the same amount of effort/force and sticking a key into a keyhole and turning it, but without needing the actual key.

After realizing how secure it wasn't, he decided to test the other one he had before replacing them. Picked it up and dropped it from about waist height onto the garage floor (empty, no gun in it). It popped open, sending little plastic bits from the locking mechanism everywhere.

Yet, these are generally considered to meet the California legal standard of "a locked container or in a location that a reasonable person would believe to be secure."

quirzle,
quirzle avatar

On one hand, I think there's an argument to be made about this depending on how "secure" is defined, but this has too much in common with the case that promiscuous enough clothing implies consent, so I'll reject that notion outright.

And "robbery" implies force or the threat of force. If somebody has a gun to your head and tells you to give you the gun in your safe or the gun in your nightstand drawer, is there really a meaningful difference? I somebody stabs you then takes your gun while you crawl around bleeding, does are you really any more/less a victim based on where they take it from?

I don't think they're that different. I also don't think there's many (any?) cases where kids are getting their hands on gun where existing laws could/should not be used to charge the owner, as happened with this case. I'm rarely in favor of new laws when the existing ones would accomplish the same goal, were they actually being enforced consistently.

KillerTofu,

In your example if you are coerced through violence or threat of violence to give a secured gun away, that clearly is different than not locking a gun in a safe or having a trigger lock installed and available to anyone. Having taken some measures and there are several that would be considered common practice and even the barest of minimum is better than not bothering because who can define secure is a false argument.

quirzle,
quirzle avatar

I disagree. The safe or trigger lock does nothing in this example, making them functionally identical situations. You're literally suggesting making it illegal to be burgled but legal to be robbed, which is an asinine distinction.

And you're implying that not using a safe or trigger lock means no precautions are taken. If the gun is in a locked house already, is that not "secure"? It's as secure as a knife needs to be to not be a liability if stolen and used in a crime. Hell, a locked building is sufficient security for a pyrotechnics company to store their literal explosives.

I also specifically disagree that the barest of minimum (as you're describing it here) is better than nothing (as defined as no safe/trigger lock). A gun locked in one of these in an easily accessible room meets your "barest minimum" criteria, but is more easily stolen than one hidden in a non-locking box in a locked apartment.

I think the better solutions focus on harsher penalties for the theft itself and more laws/enforcement around failure to report thefts.

KillerTofu,

I could agree with you but then we’d both be wrong.

AA5B,

Not at all: a better analogy is the requirement to build a fence around your pool. You have an attractive nuisance where inappropriate use can result in injury or death. However a fence has been proven to reduce such usage or at least make it clear that they shouldn’t. It may deter the littlest kids but is easily circumvented, yet works

quirzle,
quirzle avatar

Sure, if you're willing to count my house as a "fence," otherwise the same logic would make you liable if someone breaks into your house and drowns in your bathtub. Of course it's not likely at all, but if someone were to smash down your front door to commit suicide in your tub, nobody's going to argue that's your fault.

I'll agree that leaving a firearm laying in the open in your back yard should be criminally negligent though, so can get behind that much of the pool analogy.

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