Matt Walsh says “Our kids don’t need gun control laws, they need fathers.” After the tragic shooting at a community college in Oregon last week, the hype in the media is about gun control and mental health. While both are important, Walsh points out a crucial area we are missing, which is the family.
Unfortunately, this is not the first school massacre where innocent people die, but gun control may not be the answer. Walsh writes, “Even if we could completely remove the pesky issue of constitutional liberties from the equation, even if it were possible to cure violence by getting rid of one particular type of weapon, even if we ignore the fact that the deadliest school attack in history happened 90 years ago and was carried out not with guns but with explosives, and even if we look past the studies showing that gun control laws are counterproductive, gun control would still be basically impossible.”
It’s easy to blame gun control laws. Even Ian Mercer, the Oregon gunman’s father, when caught off guard in an interview mentioned gun control. Walsh notes, “Still, I can’t help but note that Ian Mercer was interviewed from the home he didn’t share with his son. The shooter came from a divorced family. He lived with his mother. Same was true of Dylann Roof, who also slaughtered nine people. Same was true of Adam Lanza, who massacred 20 children a couple years ago. All came from broken homes. None was close with his father.”
So, what should we look to in the face of these atrocities? Walsh says we should look to the family, more specifically to the father.
“In all of these cases, the media and Obama — and this time even the perpetrator’s father — diligently counted how many guns the killers had in their homes but failed to notice how many parents they had in their homes. That seems like quite a detail to overlook. Before we wonder if a guy’s access to guns turned him into a murderer, you’d think we’d pause to reflect on whether his lack of access to his own father might have played a role.”
Walsh continues, “These mass killings happen with relative frequency, and they are usually not perpetrated by men who grew up in strong families with both biological parents present. Divorce and fatherlessness are the two elements that tie most of these cases together. No other factor — gun laws, politics, racism, etc. — comes close. Dylann Roof was a white guy killing black people, Vester Flanagan was a black guy killing white people. Their races were different, yet the one line that cut right through both of them was divorce. Even in cases where the killer’s parents are still married, a closer inspection will often reveal a home filled with instability and chaos.”
It’s not just violent acts that make the news that involve broken or divorced families. “The statistics across the board are staggering and conclusive: 90 percent of homeless kids are from fatherless homes; 63 percent of kids who commit suicide are from fatherless homes; 71 percent of high school dropouts are from fatherless homes. Children from fatherless homes are at a much greater risk of developing drug addictions and are four times as likely to be poor. Out of all the youths in prison, a full 85 percent are from fatherless homes. In the inner city where violence and drug abuse are rampant, four out of every five children are growing up without their biological fathers.
“You name the societal ill or problematic group — from violent boys to promiscuous girls to everything in between — and right there in the middle you’ll find broken homes, unstable families and absent fathers.”
The statistics are there, but we aren’t talking about the psychological benefits of two parents and a stable family life, specifically the nuclear family with a mom and a dad. Walsh says we often “ignore the family’s role in all of this because it hits, literally, too close to home. Some single mothers bizarrely see a discussion about fatherhood as an attack on them, and some men, especially divorced men, see the hand wringing over fatherlessness as an affront against them. Both groups make it impossible to have this conversation.”
Add to that strong beliefs many hold about the progressivism of the nuclear family and you have a sticky situation.
Walsh ends with this thought, “I don’t think all of our problems in society can be solved through stable families, but I do think that, if we want to address them, we should begin with the simple but hard things: staying married, raising our kids, being examples, instilling faith and values, teaching them how to be good people, etc. It’s not foolproof, but it’s a start.
We just have to be willing to do the work.”
What do you think about the father’s role in the family? Do we put too much pressure on one person? Do mothers have an equal influence on the home?
What do you think about the power of the nuclear family?