Michigan jury finds mother criminally responsible after son’s deadly school shooting.
Press points to lack of evidence for Israel’s UNRWA charges; Netanyahu rejects ceasefire offer.
Michigan jury finds mother criminally responsible after son’s deadly school shooting
In late November 2021, 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley killed four students and injured seven others at Oxford High School, outside of Detroit, MI. The incident occurred mere hours after Ethan’s parents, Jennifer and James Crumbley, had been called to the school when teachers raised concerns about a violent drawing done by Ethan. The drawing depicted a shooting with a bullet midflight, and the words “The thoughts won’t stop. Help me. The world is dead. My life is useless”.
The school wanted the Crumbleys to take Ethan home and get him a mental health evaluation. They refused. The Crumbleys also did not disclose that they had bought their son a 9mm SIG Sauer SP 2022 semi-automatic handgun the previous week as a 15th birthday present.
Following the shooting, Ethan was taken into custody without incident. As his charges were announced, prosecutor Karen McDonald announced that she was also considering charges against Ethan’s parents, Jennifer and James Crumbley. When McDonald finally announced charges of involuntary manslaughter against the Crumbleys, they fled the area. They were recaptured after a two-day manhunt.
The parents each got lawyers for themselves but not for Ethan, who received a court-appointed lawyer. Ethan was tried as an adult and pleaded guilty to all charges against him. He received a sentence of life without the possibility of parole in December last year.
Jennifer Crumbley’s trial got underway Days before a joint trial was to begin for both parents in late January 2024, a judge ruled that they would have separate trials. The trial lasted only 7 days and the jury deliberated for about 11 hours, finding Crumbley guilty of four counts of involuntary manslaughter, one for each of the slain victims. She hasn’t been sentenced but could face up to 15 years in prison. James Crumbley’s trial is set to begin March 5.
Press points to lack of evidence for Israel’s UNRWA charges; Netanyahu rejects ceasefire terms
Two weeks ago, the International Criminal Court found that Israel was plausibly committing genocide against the Palestinians in Gaza. The court made several intermediary orders, among them was a demand that Israel increase the flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza, which aid workers and other observers accused Israel of obstructing. That very same day, Israel leveled accusations against the largest aid organization in Gaza, the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). Israel accused 12 or 13 UNRWA workers of having played some role in the Hamas-led attacks on Oct. 7.
Shortly thereafter, the New York Times printed, uncritically, an article repeating these charges. As a result, the US, UK, Germany, Australia, Canada, Italy, Finland, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Scotland all halted funding to UNRWA, depriving the agency of about $440 million in funding, about half of UNRWA’s budget. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said that unless these nations resume funding, UNRWA could run out of funds by the end of February. This would further imperil the 2.3 million people in Gaza who are depending on on UNRWA for lifesaving aid amid Israel’s continued deadly assault. One-quarter of Gaza’s population, half of whom are children, are already experiencing famine conditions.
However, other outlets, including the Financial Times, France24, and Britain’s SkyNews and Channel Four News, have dug deeper, and found that Israel has furnished no proof to any member of the press to support its allegations. Neither has UNRWA or the UN been provided with any evidence. The UN has launched its own investigation to get to the bottom of the allegations. Even US Secretary of State Antony Blinken admitted that the US had not been able to view the “evidence” or investigate the accusations for themselves, though he maintained Israel’s accusations were “highly, highly credible”.
Netanyahu rejects Hamas ceasefire proposal
For the last few weeks, representatives from Hamas and the Israeli government have been meeting in France and Qatar. Israel sent a ceasefire proposal, the details of which were never made public. Unverified leaks suggested that Israel’s proposal called for 35 Israeli hostages to be released in exchange for the release of 1,000 or more Palestinians held in Israeli prisons, many of them without charge.
Hamas published its response and proposal for a ceasefire yesterday. Their proposal called for a 135-day truce plan in three stages, culminating in a negotiated permanent ceasefire. Over those three phases, hostages would be exchanged and the rebuilding of key infrastructure in Gaza, including hospitals, would commence.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected this proposal, claiming that for Israel, nothing less than “total victory” over Hamas would be acceptable. Netanyahu claims that this is possible within “months”. However, this seems unrealistic. Despite Israel having bombed large parts of Gaza back into the Stone Age, Hamas remains full command-and-control in the Strip. They’ve even started to regroup their civilian police force in the north of Gaza, which has seen the worst of the bombing.