By: Peter Suciu
On Friday, Oakland County, Michigan prosecutor Karen McDonald announced that James and Jennifer Crumbley would each face four counts of involuntary manslaughter. Their son, 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley, is the Michigan teenager accused of killing four students after opening fire inside Oxford High School on Tuesday. Seven others, including a teacher, were injured in the attack.
“While the shooter was the one who entered the high school and pulled the trigger, there are other individuals who contributed to the events on November 30 and it is my intention to hold them accountable as well,” McDonald told reporters during a press conference. “It’s imperative we prevent this from happening again. No other parent or community should have to live through this nightmare.”
Calls for Gun Control
Even as the role the parents played in this recent tragedy remains unclear, many anti-gun groups took the usual course of action, calling for tighter restrictions. There were even renewed calls for a complete ban on all handguns this week.
In the wake of the shooting, Great Lakes Gun Rights, the state affiliate of the National Association for Gun Rights, responded to the push for more gun control.
“It’s sadly predictable how quickly anti-gun politicians moved to politicize this tragedy. Rather than wait for all the facts to be released, Democrats went to their old playbook of never letting a crisis go to waste,” said Brenden Boudreau, executive director of Great Lakes Gun Rights, via a press release that was widely disseminated to the mainstream media.
“It doesn’t matter that the gun control laws on the books failed to prevent the illegally armed assailant from committing this atrocity in the first place,” added Boudreau. “For them it is always more, more and more gun control.”
The group publicly stated that it was against any calls from lawmakers in the Great Lake State to institute new “mandatory storage law” that would require gun owners to lock up lawfully owned firearms and ammunition or face criminal prosecution. Great Lake Gun Rights cited research conducted by the Crime Prevention Research Center, which found that that states that have passed “mandatory storage laws” have seen increases in violent crime and property crime, as such laws make it more difficult for homeowners to defend themselves and their families.
“Great Lakes Gun Rights urges the Legislature to reject the politically motivated calls for more gun control and to instead focus on life-saving policies that allow law-abiding citizens to be their own best self-defense,” concluded Boudreau.
While it isn’t uncommon for journalists to receive press releases, most (including this reporter) simply disregard those that aren’t of interest or clash with one’s particular views. That wasn’t the case with reporter Erin Marquis – who claimed to be with The New York Times – and instead of simply pressing “delete,” too took to social to respond, and in the process created a mini-firestorm.
“Just got a press release from the Great Lakes Gun Rights organization about protecting gun rights from democrats in Michigan and I am literally shaking with rage. I hope there is a God and they met that God someday,” Marquis tweeted.
According to Fox News, the reporter also posted the phone number and email address for Great Lakes Gun Rights to allow those who agreed with her thoughts to “make your displeasure known.”
In most cases, such actions would be seen as crossing the line in terms of journalist ethics. But Ms. Marquis took it even further. In addition to the post on social media, the reporter apparently also felt it necessary to leave a rambling voicemail message with Great Lake Gun Rights, stating, “Hi, I’m a journalist with the New York Times. I’m just calling to wonder. I have two questions. How do you sleep at night? And aren’t you just a bit worried that there might be a hell? And when you meet God, He will send you there? That’s just my only question. The third question, the only people politicizing this seems to be you because you’re the only people I got a f—ing press release from. Again, I am from the New York Times, and I’m letting everyone in the New York Times know what kind of f—ing a—holes you are. Congrats on being a laughing stock. You f—ing ghouls. I hope that there is a God in heaven, so He judges you when you die.”
The gun rights group has since shared the audio of the voice mail message on YouTube:
According to Fox News, even as Marquis has described herself as a journalist for the paper of record, her Twitter biography had her listed as a lead editor for Wirecutter, a New York Times affiliate that is a product recommendation service.
Regardless, this has sat well with the paper it seems.
After reaching out for comment, a spokesperson for the paper told Fox News Digital, “We expect our employees to behave in a way that is consistent with our values and commitment to the highest ethical standards. We are currently reviewing this matter, which involves an employee of Wirecutter, our product recommendation site, who does not work in The New York Times newsroom.”
As of Friday afternoon, the Twitter account for Ms. Marquis (@theerinmarquis) has been removed, and a search on the social media platform simply stated, “This account doesn’t exist.”
CNBC.com also reported on Friday that Ms. Marquis had deleted the tweet in question, but also had removed her Twitter account.
In a bit of possible irony, the National Association for Gun Rights had sent out its own press release, which identified her as the woman who called the Michigan branch.
“We’re not surprised that an angry, liberal, anti-gun New York Times reporter would show their true colors and wish we’d burn in hell – we’re just glad she was actually foolish enough to leave two voicemails for us to laugh at, and then publish,” said Dudley Brown, president of the National Association for Gun Rights via a prepared statement.
This remains an unfortunate display in the wake of the recent tragedy, and does nothing to discuss the issues of mental health, bullying, and the responsibility of the parents in this particular matter.
Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He regularly writes about military small arms, and is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Amazon.com.