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  • Writer's pictureDhruti Pattabhi

The Oxford Shooting: A Drastic Change in Normalcy

The Oxford community held a prayer vigil later on the day of the shooting, November 30. (Flickr)

Between 2020 and 2021, Oxford High School in Oakland County, Michigan housed around 1,603. But in the span of three days, from November 30 to December 3, the school’s population fell to 1,598 ― four victims of gun violence and one school shooter.

The Day of the Shooting

On November 30, 2021, sophomore Ethan Crumbley was taken to the counseling office for writing and drawing disturbing messages in class. His parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, were urged to pick him up, to which they refused. Ethan was sent back to class.

A few hours later in the day, a shooter emerged from the school bathroom and began firing. By 12:51 p.m., repeated gunshots led to the first of several 911 calls. Students began barricading themselves and seeking protection within classrooms. Armed with a semiautomatic handgun, Ethan fired around 30 shots, 11 of which had critical consequences.

The Victims

17-year-old Madisyn Baldwin was the first of the four victims. Her family described her as beautiful, smart, and artistic. She was expected to graduate this year. Tate Myre (16) became the second victim when he attempted to disarm the shooter. He died in an officer’s patrol car while being transported to a local hospital. Myre was a varsity football player and an honors student. Hana St. Juliana was fourteen when she was hit. She played on the school’s volleyball and basketball teams. The last of the four victims is Justin Shillings. He succumbed to his injuries a day after being shot.

Apart from these, seven others, including a teacher, have been hospitalized for their injuries.

Gun Rights and the Shooting

There are currently 300 federal and state gun laws. However, several of them do not apply to the Oxford shooting case. Ethan Crumbley was said to have gotten the gun as an early Christmas gift from his parents. Four states ― California, Minnesota, Massachusetts, and Maryland ― have stringent Child Access Prevention (CAP) laws preventing parents from letting minors have unsupervised access to firearms. On record, Michigan has no official CAP laws that require guns to be locked and protected at home.

The recent shooting in Oxford sparked a debate in Michigan’s capital, Lansing. Democratic bills want to create penalties for gun owners that have firearms that are easily accessible to minors. Republicans want to reduce the costs of pistol-free permits. As of now, the legislation is not holding debates on gun laws, mainly to provide time for the healing of the Oxford community. However, 10 million dollars in funding has been provided to cover the cost of school-based law enforcement officers.

The Oxford Community

The high school has closed ever since the incident on November 30. Renovations to the building are nearly complete, with the school’s hybrid reopening on Monday, January 24. The temporary memorial constructed by the Oxford residents is now being taken down, with articles salvaged and distributed to the victim’s parents. Increased safety measures and mental health resources are now prevalent in Oxford High school and the neighboring educational institutions.

The community has developed a new perspective on normalcy and is slowly finding ways to move on but not forget. At a national level, the Oxford shooting marks the last of the 34 school shootings in 2021.



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