Michigan School Shooter Showed Numerous Warning Signs

AP Photo/Paul Sancya

New reports are revealing details about the mass shooting at Oxford High School that might be inconvenient for the anti-gun crowd. It appears there were several warning signs leading up to the incident that the adults involved missed. In short, this tragedy could have easily been avoided.

Fox News reported that the alleged shooter “convinced school officials ahead of the deadly rampage that violent drawings he made were for a ‘video game’” according to a letter released on Saturday by the school. The letter, sent by Oxford Community Schools superintendent Tim Thorne, read:

On the morning of Nov. 30, a teacher observed concerning drawings and written statements that have been detailed in media reports, which the teacher reported to school counselors and the Dean of students. The student was immediately removed from the classroom and brought to the guidance counselor’s office where he claimed the drawing was part of a video game he was designing and informed counselors that he planned to pursue video game design as a career.

The 15-year-old shooter and his parents met with school officials only hours before he allegedly carried out the shooting, killing four students and injuring seven other individuals.

“At no time did counselors believe the student might harm others based on his behavior, responses and demeanor, which appeared calm. In addition, despite media reports, whether or not the gun was in his backpack has not been confirmed by law enforcement to our knowledge nor by our investigation at this time,” the letter explained.

The letter also revealed that the shooter’s parents were asked to take their son home on the day of the shooting, but “they flatly refused and left without their son, apparently to return to work.”

School officials also informed the parents that they would be given 48 hours to find a therapist for their son or “the school would contact Child Protective Services.”

The letter stated that officials were not aware that the shooter’s parents had purchased a pistol for their son. Thorne wrote:

While we understand this decision has caused anger, confusion and prompted understandable questioning, the counselors made a judgment based on their professional training and clinical experience and did not have all the facts we now know. Our counselors are deeply committed longstanding school members who have dedicated their lives to supporting students and addressing student mental health and behavioral issues.

Fox News noted that a “third party” would be investigating how the alleged assailant “interacted with the school employees and peers” before the shooting.

He is being charged with a myriad of counts, including four counts of first-degree murder, one count of terrorism causing death, seven counts of assault with intent to murder, and 12 counts of possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony.

The accused shooter has pleaded not guilty.

His parents are also facing four charges of involuntary manslaughter. They were arrested on Saturday morning after attempting to flee, authorities said. Fox News noted that “[e]ach count is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and/or a $7,500 fine.”

Both pleaded not guilty and are being held on a $500,000 bond.

It appears the school attempted to address the issue when they saw the shooter’s drawings. But their efforts did not go far enough – removing him from the school would likely have averted this tragedy. However, his parents deserve most of the blame for refusing to take their son home and get him into some counseling. Common sense would dictate that if a kid is creating disturbing drawings, it would be appropriate to get a counselor involved to ensure that there are no potential issues.

To put it simply, this is not a gun issue. There are no gun laws that could be passed that would have prevented the shooter’s parents from purchasing the weapon for their child and allowing him access to it. What they did goes against what most gun owners are taught when they first start buying guns. Indeed, Michigan already has laws prohibiting individuals under the age of 18 from owning firearms.

Unfortunately, the anti-gun crowd cares nothing for these details because their ultimate objective is to make it more difficult for responsible people to own firearms. It isn’t about keeping people safe; it is about keeping as many people disarmed as possible.