As everyone else in our country, I have been heartbroken and burdened over the latest school shooting in Florida that has left 17 dead. One of the most heartbreaking things in regards to this shooting was the lack of shock I felt. There have been so many mass shootings in the last few years that it has made me somewhat numb, almost expecting another one to happen.
To match heartbreak with frustration, enter social media. In a matter of minutes there is no lack of political pundits and celebrities chiming in with simple solutions to a complex problem. The answer to ending mass school shootings is gun control, they say. With emotional pleas from broken hearted parents who have just lost their children they say if you just ban “assault rifles” then all of this will stop.
I wish it were that easy. I wish congress could just pass a law that bans a certain type of firearm and then all the killings would end. However, if you grew up in the country, like me, then you know a semiautomatic weapon is what the media is referring to as an assault rifle. Pretty much every hunting rifle could fall under the category of assault rifle. The AR-15’s that the media likes to show pictures of just look more menacing because of the tactical shell in which they are cased. Wood hunting rifles that look less ominous can carry the same magazines and shoot just as many bullets in just as fast a time. To ban ‘assault rifles’ would mean that you ban pretty much every gun but a single shot, and I don’t see that happening. But if it would end children getting killed in our schools then I would be for it. If that were the simple solution…but it’s not.
The problem is much more complex and the answer to solving it much deeper than a law.
Young deranged white men do most mass shootings. I am sure all of these young men have some level of mental illness, but mental illness, like a cancer to the body, can be fed and fostered in a number of ways.
I think the problem goes deeper than just these young white deranged men. I think it flows broader into frustrated and angry young men in general. The man crisis in our culture is hitting critical mass and the fall out is not pretty.
We are reaping the harvest of a fatherless generation and I am afraid we are not yet at the tipping point.
As University of Virginia Professor Brad Wilcox pointed out back in 2013: “From shootings at MIT (i.e., the Tsarnaev brothers) to the University of Central Florida to the Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy in Decatur, Ga., nearly every shooting over the last year in Wikipedia’s ‘list of U.S. school attacks’ involved a young man whose parents divorced or never married in the first place.”
It’s not just these young white men who are struggling, they just find a way to show their angst against the world in a very public way by hurting as many innocent people as possible.
The effects of fatherlessness are epidemic in most communities in the United States.
I found this interesting, “Two of the strongest correlations with gun homicides are growing up in a fatherless household and dropping out of school, which itself is directly related to lack of an active or present father. There’s a direct correlation between fatherless children and teen violence. It’s no coincidence that, much like the number of fatherless children, the number of mass shootings has exploded since the 1960s. Throughout the entire 1960s, six mass shootings took place. That number doubled in 1970. Heck, 2012 alone saw more mass shootings than the sixties did.”
Without a father young men have no direction. When young men have no direction and purpose they move to extremes. They cut ties with what is traditional masculinity. They embrace a homosexual lifestyle or become transgender. There is a clear correlation with the rise of both of these lifestyles to the rise of fatherlessness. They grasp for their need to fit in and they don’t know how. The other extreme is to become violent, join a gang, become a criminal, or in extreme cases become a mass shooter. When men grow up with no father for an example they fill in the gaps on their own.
Everything in culture tells these men that they no longer have a place. In fact, for young white men the message is clear, you are the enemy. They are told that they are the problem. They are told they are part of the white patriarchy that oppresses everyone else. For fragile unguided minds that are already inclined to mental illness, they start to believe it, then they learn to hate the world, hate themselves, and hate being. They are full of anger and rage and instead of just ending their own lives they want to hurt others in the process. They want to be remembered as they feel they have been marginalized all of their lives. So they hurt others. They hurt as many as they can.
Fatherlessness is not the only factor involved. There are a number of other factors that I think we would be foolish to overlook:
Games – Most young teenage boys (especially white ones) spend countless hours shooting people virtually in very realistic games. It becomes second nature to them to pull the virtual trigger.
Movies and Shows – Have you heard of this little thing called Netflix? Countless hours of watching shows that have become increasingly more sickening, brutal and graphic. Young men are drawn to these shows about death and murder. There are tons of programs out there that actually show how real crimes were committed. Again these are fertilizers to a sick mind.
Social Media – Tells young men they do not measure up and allow them to connect with extremist groups that will fan the flame of their sickness. The rise of ‘alt’ left and ‘alt’ right groups has only increased the evil and hatred in the world.
Atheism – Atheism says you are the source for your morality. The Bible teaches that every person is born as a sinner. At our core we are not good, but evil. The cure to evil is repentance and faith in Jesus. As Christians we live in pursuit of a holy life as defined by the life of Jesus. He is our model and example. For the Atheist he is only accountable to his on set of morals, whatever he chooses. These morals are shaped by whatever he is putting into his mind (I.E. Games, movies, shows, social media) and deems as moral. We took God out of schools and have warned teachers not to mention faith. I imagine there are so many kids who could have found a better way, if only schools were allowed to offer it.
The devaluing of human life – We live in a culture that legally kills almost 400,000 babies a year. This permeates a society that says the highest value is whatever I desire, even if it means taking the life of others. If a mother can take her own child’s life then why should anyone else be limited?
Radical Feminism – This ideology teaches men that just for being born they are to be hated and despised.
This list is not meant to be exhaustive. I am sure there are a number of other factors that contribute to each mass shooting. I am sure each case has many individual nuances.
In my opinion the one big smoking gun is not the gun, it is the absence of a loving and guiding father in the home.
How do we stop mass shootings?
The answer is pretty simple, cross cultural, and long term.
This is a simple Bible answer: Don’t have sex until you’re married (this ends the need for abortion). When you are married, love your spouse. Stay married even when it’s hard. Raise your children to love God first and love their neighbors as themselves. Don’t leave when things get hard!
The answer may just be the family!
I can remember maybe 15 years ago hearing Dr. James Dobson saying something to the effect of, “when you destroy the family, you will destroy society as we know it.” The prophesy is unveiling before our eyes.