"Raise them to be a monster!"
That's what a GOP congressman commanded of mothers. A Trump-loyal mom in Michigan obliged. Her son became the Michigan school shooter.
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It’s impossible not to make all the connections regarding the terrible school shooting at Oxford High School in Oakland County, Michigan, in which four students were shot and killed by 15-year-old Eathan Crumbley and several others were injured.
The shooter’s parents, Jennifer and James Crumbley, now charged with several counts of involuntary manslaughter and held on $500,000 bond each, bought him the gun that he used, had a very clear idea of what he was going to do — after being warned by school officials about violent drawings he made, and after he was found searching on his phone for ammunition — and they didn’t try to stop him.
They didn’t take out him of school. They let him proceed. And they knew he’d kill.
The Crumbleys are a family deep in the far-right Trumpist movement, radicalized just like the January 6th insurrectionists into a cult of violence. They’re akin to a militia family or a familial terrorist cell, taking cues from what they see in the culture or on social media, inspired by messages from those they view as their leaders.
A clear motive isn’t necessary to deduce from their actions that the Crumbleys are angry and they are trying to intimidate others, enabled by a hate movement that promotes grievance and sees violent actions as a means to an end.
Jennifer Crumbley, who praised Donald Trump and grotesquely bragged on social media about getting her teen son a firearm as a “Christmas present,” appears to have been taking orders from extremist politicians within the Republican Party — the same ones who have defended the January 6th insurrectionists as “political prisoners.”
Those extremists who encourage violence — from gun-toting anti-Muslim Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Lauren Beobert of Colorado to white supremacist sympathizers Reps. Paul Gosar of Arizona and Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina — now control the House GOP. They aren’t punished by leadership for their violence-inciting speeches and actions because leaders like Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy are immensely fearful of them, bowing to Trump, who emboldens these extremists.
After the not guilty verdict two weeks ago in the case of another teen killer, Kyle Rittenhouse in Kenosha, Wisconsin, who killed two people at a Black Lives Matter protest and claimed self-defense, Cawthorn gloated about the verdict, urging his legions to follow Rittenhouse’s lead and to be “armed and dangerous.”
And only a few weeks ago, Cawthorn, speaking at an event, warned about attempts in American culture to “demasculate” boys, and he issued a command: “And I’m telling all you moms here — the people who I said are the most vicious in our movement — if you are raising a young man, please raise them to be a monster! Raise them to be a freedom-loving patriot.”
Jennifer Crumbley followed that command, whether she directly saw the video or picked up on it and all the other similar demented messages coming out of the extremist and violent white supremacist movement which is now embraced by the Republican Party. She’d written an open letter to Trump days after the election in November of 2016, praising him, including for his vows to allow more weapons to proliferate in society.
The letter is actually a case study of indoctrination into the Trump cult, particularly chilling because Crumbley describes herself as having been a “pro-choice” feminist and supporter of LGBT rights who “used to be a Democrat” and who struggled with voting for Trump for those reasons. But she gave in. No matter any of her prior beliefs, Crumbley was perfectly primed to get drawn into the Trump cult as Trump tapped into the toxic white grievance that consumed her.
She loved his vow to build “the wall,” she wrote, which would stop “people that come over here from other countries and get free everything,” while she and her husband are “good fucking Americans that cannot get ahead.” (Like many racists, she even announced,“I am not a racist,” in making these statements. )
In the open letter she also lauded Trump for his empty (and now, even more laughable) promises to “shut down Big Pharma” and “make health care affordable for me,” in addition to his promise of “allowing my right to bear arms.” Crumbley ended the letter by showing how deeply she’d been sucked in: “I have NEVER had this much belief in one person, and you are it.”
People like that never turn back. They make excuses for the failures of Dear Leader, and just keep following on the road to even more extreme, violent actions. By 2021 this woman was buying her son a gun for Christmas and sitting on the sidelines after learning he’d engage in violent actions.
Jennifer and James Crumbley even allowed their son to post a photo of the hideous “gift” to his Instagram account, where he wrote, “Just got my new beauty today. SIG SAUER 9mm. Any questions I will answer.” According to the AP, he included “an emoji of a smiling face with heart eyes.” The next day Jennifer Crumbley posted on social media, apparently from a shooting range, that it’s “mom and son day testing out his new Christmas present.”
When school personnel contacted Jennifer Crumbley by voicemail and email, warning her that Eathan was seen by a teacher searching on his phone for ammunition, she didn’t respond — but she did text her son: “Lol. I’m not mad at you. You have to learn not to get caught.”
The next day the Crumbleys were called to the school after a teacher saw a drawing and notes Eathan made, including a drawing of a handgun and the words: “The thoughts won’t stop. Help me.” The parents refused to take him out of school and decided to just go back to work. Of course they could surmise what he was planning. And hours later, not surprisingly, Eathan went on a shooting rampage.
Just like many of the January 6th insurrectionists — equally drawn into the cult of violence that is Trumpism — the Crumbley parents went on the run, cowards refusing to face the consequences of their recklessness. After their son was arrested and after the Oakland County prosecutor announced they’d be charged on counts of involuntary manslaughter, the Crumbleys became fugitives, attempting to hide out until they were apprehended over the weekend in Detroit (and they’ve shown “no remorse,” according to the Oakland County sheriff).
These people were ready to let their son rot in prison — the son they enabled to engage in mass murder — while playing out their own little insurrection.
All the while, the Crumbleys were likely proud they’d raised a monster, just as they’d been told to do by the white supremacist terrorist movement that has been embraced by the GOP.
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