Before the 1960s there were almost no mass shooting incidents in the United States, but the trend has increased ever since then. Why? The number of homicides has decreased and the number of households that have guns has also dropped significantly. There must be another cause — maybe the continual focus on the tool used by these killers is less important than the emotional imbalance that leads them to pull the trigger.
A major change since the 1960s has been the rise in liberal social policies and the destruction of the time-honored values that lead to societal success and stability. The most glaring example is the massive decline in two-parent households. From 1960-2014 the percentage of children living in a home with two parents and no divorces dropped from 73 percent to 46 percent. That number is stunningly lower for black children now at 22 percent.
Nearly every school shooting has involved a boy who grew up without his father. The number of gun homicides has increased slightly in the past few years, but that is mostly driven by gang violence in major cities, not the type of mass shootings that capture so much current media attention. But let’s talk about the causes for both school and gang shootings, because the vast majority of killers in each are between 17 and 29 years old and male. The destruction of the social structure that provided stable homes is obviously a factor in the pathologies we see in young men today.
There are other elements of the liberal social transformation that contribute to these phenomena as well. The very concept of manhood is now denigrated and commonly referred to as toxic masculinity. Losing a positive view of their basic drives removes another check on the biologically-driven destructive nature of young men. Of course, some of the behaviors around poor treatment of women and other unacceptable actions rightly had to go. But they’ve thrown out the baby boy with the bathwater.
True manhood is rooted in the chivalric codes that channeled the natural instinct of males into productive roles as protectors of the weak, rather than violent predators, and charged the bulk of men to serve as sheepdogs to protect against the few who preyed on the weak. The teaching for the past several generations is that any traits of natural aggressiveness by boys must be ruthlessly put down and medicated away when necessary.
This fails to provide a positive outlet for unavoidable boyishness as it grows with him into young adulthood. He is taught his true nature is a bad thing to be ashamed of. With the lack of good male role models, he never learns the proper way to channel his burgeoning energy. Society forces him to feel guilty for simply being what God made him: a man. We need to return to respecting these qualities and teaching responsibility, so masculine traits will be used appropriately.
Responsibility for one’s actions is another value removed from the equation. Social justice and political correctness teach that no one is responsible for their own situation or bad choices. It is the system, or even ”the man,” who has done them wrong. This is a double whammy for young boys who learn it’s not their fault when they do destructive things, but yet it is their fault as boys because boyhood is bad. And then to top it off, they are informed they are also responsible for what happens to everyone else, too.
It’s absurd and destructive; and it’s no wonder we have entire generations of entitled malcontents who believe they share no accountability for their own failures. If they don’t get what they feel they deserve, they think society must have let them down. Unsurprisingly, we had many fewer problems when the exact opposite was taught and expected.
Let’s not forget two other major factors in this violence incubator: the media and Hollywood. The entertainment industry is filled with anti-gun activists who get paid millions of dollars to take on gun toting, bullets flying, people slaying roles. Hypocritical much? Mainstream media contributes to the problem when they sensationalize the nihilistic loser who slaughters his class by giving him the fame and recognition he seeks. The massive quantities of empowering and unaccountable violence our popular culture spews out in video games and movies teach that power comes from the barrel of a gun. That is the opposite of true manhood, where responsibility is what comes from having any physical power over others.
The liberals who want to lecture about how guns are the problem are avoiding the good look in the mirror they have earned. Their wholesale transformation of society away from personal responsibility to elevation of personal gratification has not gone well. It is not the only problem, but it is one that needs to be considered, as we must aim to stop the desire and belief by too many boys from fatherless homes that mass killing is a solution. Take away all the guns and we will simply see death by other means until we address the real issue: Our culture has become toxic. Let’s work on that.