No More Silence, End The Gun Violence: Oxford High School Shooting Aftermath


Humans have short memories. We live in a constant world of terror, where every second could be our last. Yet, can a bullet, a trigger, and a gunshot make a millisecond last a century of trauma? Fear, angst, anxiety, and the thought of the afterlife consume our guts with each deadly passing. And schools, where the environment is supposed to be safe and comforting, can turn into a war zone. Within the last 18 years, more people have died in significant school shootings than in the whole twentieth century. A school full of first-graders is among several victims, an incident that horrified the country — but not nearly enough for the bullets that may now be bought online, making more deadly weapons more accessible.


At 12:51 P.M, everything changed for students at Oxford High School. These students would never think of school ever the same again. 30 shots. One gun. Less than a minute. 


On November 30th, gunfire took place at Oxford High School in Michigan, killing four students, while physically and mentally scarring 6 other victims. Authorities eventually detained Ethan Crumbley, a 15-year-old student, in connection with the incident. With motive or without, he was charged as an adult with one crime of terrorism, involuntary manslaughter, and four counts of first-degree murder. If convicted, he may face a life sentence. James Crumbley and Jennifer Crumbley, his parents, are also facing charges of involuntary manslaughter. All three have been taken into custody.


Ethan Crumbley is believed to have made a number of drawings and writings, according to investigators that describe his violent thoughts. Investigators have found a depiction of a semi-automatic weapon aimed at the text, ‘The thoughts won’t stop. Help me.’ And above the bullet, the following words: ‘Blood everywhere,’ with a drawing of a person who appears to have been shot twice and bleeding, in addition to a drawing of a laughing emoji. During class on the day before the shooting, a teacher noticed the suspect was looking at photographs of ammunition on his phone, prompting a discussion with a counselor and another staff member. In short, the concerns were dismissed due to his parent’s lack of concern and the specific probing questions asked by the counselors about harm towards others and himself. The answers provided did not concern the counselors, and they dismissed him back to his classes. 


Nevertheless, more than a hundred 911 calls regarding the gunfire were received from concerned citizens, guardians, grandparents, family members, and loving parents thinking they would never see their children again. 


“I was just kind of sitting there shaking,” recalls Dale Schmalenberg, 16, who had been in calculus class when his teacher heard the shots and ordered the classroom to be locked down. “I didn’t really know how to respond.”


Aiden Page, a senior, was in a classroom when he heard two gunshots Tuesday afternoon. Page saw his teacher go in and shut the door, just as in the active shooter exercises they’d performed, then kids shoved their desks against it. “We grabbed calculators, we grabbed scissors just in case the shooter got in, and we had to attack them,” he states. 


After analyzing security camera footage of the incident, investigators claimed the shooter emerged from a bathroom and began shooting at kids in the corridor. After hearing the gunshots, the students raced for shelter and barricaded themselves behind classroom doors with furniture. Authorities confirmed that the 11 victims, including a teacher, had been shot in less than five minutes. Three hundred seconds.


According to officials, Hana St. Juliana, 14, Madisyn Baldwin, 17, and Tate Myre, 16, died in a sheriff’s squad car on their way to the hospital. Justin Shilling, 17, a fourth student, died on that Wednesday morning in a hospital. 


Tate Myre played football at Oxford High School as a linebacker and tight end, being on varsity since his freshman year and was an honor student, according to the Oxford High football squad. “Tate was a great young man with a bright future and beloved by all,” the team wrote on Twitter about their loss. Myre attempted to disarm the gunman and save other children during the shooting, according to social media posts. A petition to rename the school’s football stadium after Myre gathers support online.


 The deadly gunshot added to a rising number of school shootings in the United States this year, following a respite during the coronavirus outbreak when many schools attended lessons remotely. This is the 651st incident this year that at least four individuals have been shot.


One Community- Thousands of Voices


The Constitution protects the right to keep and bear weapons, and there are roughly 265 million firearms in private hands in the United States. Consequently, there have been 29 school-shootings so far in 2021, and the shooting was the deadliest this year, or since May 2018.  


The shootings are merely a snapshot of the nation’s growing gun violence problem. Another shooting occurred following basketball games at a Tennessee high school on that same Tuesday. Two individuals were shot, one fatally. 


The headlines of America’s mass shootings have become as unseeingly familiar as the reactions to a cycle of condolences, requests for new gun restrictions, the debate over their relevance, and protests. That is until the next traumatic tragedy.


If we want to keep our schools safe to learn and excel, precautions must be taken to ensure this: Trust and resilience. Schools in the United States are among the safest environments for students to attend on a routine basis. By addressing the factors that result in violence and applying proven practices that contribute to a healthy school climate, administrators and the school community together can establish safe, supportive schools free of gun violence. In a positive educational atmosphere, students excel. Supportive schools promote a better academic environment while preserving a secure physical environment. Trusting connections between students, staff, and administrators are the foundation of safe schools. 


“No one should be afraid to go to school,” emphasized Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer in a statement. “I think this is every parent’s worst nightmare.” It is not just a nightmare but a reality unless we can build trust and a safe environment for all.