But secondly and equally as important, why haven’t we heard President Obama give a prayer vigil in cities like New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and Baton Rouge where blacks are butchering each other with guns? In 2010, black males age 15-29 accounted for 3% of New York City’s population but 33% of its murder victims. When 7-year-old Heaven Sutton was killed June 27, 2012 by gang gunfire in Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel pledged to do something about the city’s high murder rate. I’ve never heard Obama describe these killings of blacks as “an endless series of deadly shootings across the country, almost daily reports of victims, many of them children . . .their only fault was being in the wrong place at the wrong time,” as he described the poor souls of Sandy Hook.
What the media and the president seem to be saying is when black kids die, it’s not a gun control thing but a national disgrace we’ve come to accept as normal but when mostly white people are killed is reprehensible. Both are reprehensible and ending the cycle of violence has nothing to do with more gun laws. Homicides committed by young black men and white men like Adam Lanza have everything to do with a lack of parenting, personal responsibility and/or society’s mishandling of mental illness.
More young black men are becoming murderers because more young black men are increasingly becoming casualties of fatherless homes. According to the Brookings Institute, 73% of all black babies in America are born to single mothers compared to 30% of white babies, 50% of Hispanics and 40% of all kids overall.
Brookings found “more than 36% of the unmarried fathers had a prison record, five times the share of married fathers who ever spent time in prison.” The study also found that boys born to unwed mothers experience more behavioral problems, such as engaging in crime, than girls.
When you don’t have a mom and dad caring for you, asking you if you did your homework or teaching you right from wrong, is it any wonder, young black men are becoming murderers? A lack of parenting also is to blame for Adam Lanza’s killing rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School and others like Columbine and Virginia Tech.
News reports haven’t been able to confirm whether Adam Lanza’s mother and father ever sought treatment for his son’s mental illness. Nancy Lanza told babysitters never to leave Adam alone. But more importantly, Lanza’s mother was an irresponsible gun owner. Knowing her son was mentally disturbed, Nancy kept guns unsecured in her home, easily accessible to her sick child, which was utterly negligent.
We didn’t see these kinds of horrific shootings 40 years ago nor did we have the high rate of black men murdering each other. I think that’s because we had stronger families, lower divorce rates and virtually no outsourcing of parenting to video games and the Internet.
The rise in young male murderers isn’t about a need for more gun laws. Connecticut has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation, which didn’t stop Adam Lanza. Parents need to parent. Society needs to bring back shame in our culture and tell teenagers it’s not cool to have a baby. America also needs to do a better job of treating mental illness like a disease not a stigma. We can have a conversation about gun laws but Sandy Hook is about the skeletons in our culture we refuse to talk about.
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