Writing in CNN Opinion, Jennifer Tucker reflects on the conviction in criminal court of a mother, Jennifer Crumbley, charged with manslaughter in connection with the mass shooting committed by her teenage son at an Oxford, Michigan high school. This marks the first time in U.S. history that a parent has faced criminal charges—and has been convicted—for a mass school shooting committed by their child.

Tucker writes:

The question of who may bear responsibility when a minor carries out a shooting has gained fresh scrutiny in recent years, and it’s not just parents under the microscope. Others who could potentially bear liability but remain as yet undetermined range from gun manufacturers that advertise to children to weapons makers that create locks that allow customers to circumvent state bans on assault weapons. Attention has also fallen on Hollywood directorswho perpetuate false and misleading ideas about how guns are used in the real world.

She concludes by acknowledging that while the American legal system is structured to focus on the individual responsible for a crime, and the American public typically wants to see a single, individual villain held accountable, the Crumbley trial and other similar cases shine a light on how a shooter rarely acts “alone.”

Read the op-ed.


Jennifer Tucker is a historian who studies the interrelations of art and science, photography, and mass visual culture, with a specialization in 19th to mid-20th century British, U.S., and trans-Pacific history. The common threads in her diverse research fields are the dynamics of visual media in modern history, the nature of evidence, public perceptions and practices of history, and the interrelationships of science, technology, and the law.


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