Highland Park, Illinois – This Chicago suburb has been in mourning for days after a shooter opened fire at the Fourth of July celebration. Alberto Fuentes arrived at a downtown monument for the deceased, asking himself: Could the 21-year-old suspect’s parents have prevented anything from happening?
Mr. Fuentes, 40, stated, “The kid has a problem.” “I also have children, so I feel a sense of duty to report whatever I come across. It was their duty to act on their children’s behalf.”
A mass shooting has become a major concern for many American parents. But for a small but growing group of parents, whose children, mostly invariably sons, pull the trigger, a different nightmare looms.
Some parents had sought care for their sons’ mental health for months or years before the attacks. Researchers have found that most parents fail to notify the authorities before an attack occurs, and those parents may be subject to criticism and claims that they ignored warning signs or even facilitated assaults by allowing their sons to obtain lethal weapons.
Some parents decide to leave town thereafter, while others decide to take a new name. To avoid more attacks, a few reveal their story. Others attempt to disappear by remaining silent.
“It’s scary enough to think that you might be the victim of some random bit of violence,” said Andrew Solomon, an author who interviewed the parents of the gunmen who attacked Columbine High School and Sandy Hook Elementary. “However, the thought that you might be held responsible for your child’s actions is also a horrible fate.”
The parents of the guy accused of killing seven people and injuring many more in the Highland Park shooting have come under scrutiny. There were reports that his son had attempted to kill himself with a machete and that he had drawn police to his home because he had threatened “to kill everyone.” However, law enforcement officials have released records showing that the father sponsored the son’s application for a firearms license in 2019. In his defense, the father claims he did nothing wrong and was caught aback by what had occurred.
Parents are increasingly being scrutinized by prosecutors and researchers as a possible source of radicalization, a potential intervention that could have prevented the most horrific mass shootings in our country, and whether or not they should be held criminally liable if they ignore obvious warnings or provide their children with firearms. More than 50 people under the age of 25 have killed at least four people in a public setting since 1966, according to data from the Violence Project. According to this data, gang activity, theft, and other criminal activity are not included.
A parent may be accused of manslaughter or carelessness if their child accidentally uses an incorrectly stored gun to kill themselves or another person. Parents are much less likely to face charges if their children go on a shooting rampage.
Law enforcement is looking for new ways to combat an uptick in mass shootings, and some recent incidents suggest that may be changing.
Police chief Frank Kaminski of Park Ridge, Illinois (another Chicago suburb), remarked, “It’s some unexplored ground as to how much responsibility parents will be held for their children’s behaviour.” Also, “I’m fine for making everyone responsible if they have a gun.”
Parents of a 15-year-old accused of killing four classmates in Michigan last year have been charged with involuntary manslaughter; they have pleaded not guilty to the charges against them. This man’s father, an Illinois resident, was accused of unlawfully furnishing the pistol used in the shooting spree at the Nashville Waffle House in 2018.
After being treated for mental health issues, the Waffle House shooter lost his Illinois firearms licence, authorities said. As a result, according to reports, he gave the pistols to his father. Father returned his son’s firearm when he left, the authorities claimed, which was a felony.
Attorney Michael Doubet, who represents the father of the Waffle House gunman, Jeffrey Reinking, said there must be a distinction drawn between parental responsibility for a juvenile offender and parental responsibility for someone who commits mass murder as an adult. Sentencing has yet to be decided for Mr Reinking, who was convicted of delivering an illegal firearm.
Mr Doubet asserted that “those over the age of 18 are beyond the influence of their parents.
According to Kevin Johnson, the prosecutor in charge of the case, family members and friends who have reason to believe a member of their group is on the verge of violence should “have the fortitude and common sense to follow through and make the necessary report to the authorities”.
If they’re not ready to do that, authorities will have no means to intervene to help or even avert a disaster, he continued,
Some parents of troublesome children don’t know where to turn for support, according to researchers. Before their sons get violent, parents hesitate to notify the police about their sons’ private mental health difficulties for fear of a long-term impact on their child’s record.
Deep denial was identified in the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting case in 2012. When the mental health of the 20-year-old gunman’s mother deteriorated, the state discovered, that she did not restrict his access to firearms and did not follow medical professionals’ recommendations for him to receive treatment. Nancy Lanza was one of the 27 victims her son, Adam, slaughtered.
About gunmen, the issue of parental responsibility is particularly difficult because they fall somewhere between the ages of youth and adulthood. Even though they are technically adults, they are often able to pass background checks and purchase powerful firearms because they are still linked to their parents.
The 18-year-old accused of killing 10 people in a racist massacre at a Buffalo supermarket in May expressed fear that his mother would find the guns he had hidden in his bedroom at his parents’ house, according to internet comments that appear to have been written by him. One other 18-year-old Texas shooter targeted his grandma before heading to an elementary school and killing 19 children and two adults the same month.
It was revealed that Robert E. Crime III, the suspect in the Highland Park massacre, resided with his father Robert Crimo Jr., and mother Denise Pesina for the past six months, according to a family lawyer. According to the police, he fled town in his mother’s car after the attack. Without bail, he was arraigned and accused of the murder of another person.
The alleged gunman’s parents have been cleared of any wrongdoing, according to the police. According to the authorities, “everything” is on the table when investigating the elderly Mr. Crimo. The son’s public attorney refused to discuss the case against his client or whether the parents were to blame. According to a lawyer for Mr Crimo’s parents, George Gomez, they did not want to be interviewed for this article.
In recent media appearances, Mr. Crimo’s father stated that he had no role in the shooting and had no knowledge of what his son was planning to do in the future.