Mona Charen

The result of this adult folly is chaos, misery and often violent death for kids. Why do young males join gangs? Because without a father to guide and protect them, they seek physical protection from human predators as well as ratification of their masculinity from the gang. A counselor at a juvenile detention facility in California told the Patriot Post, "(If) you find a gang member who comes from a complete nuclear family, I'd like to meet him. ... I don't think that kid exists." A full 85 percent of youths in prison come from fatherless homes, as do 80 percent of rapists, 71 percent of high school dropouts, and 63 percent of teen suicides.

An analysis of studies of family structure published by the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy found that 90 percent of the change in the violent crime rate between 1973 and 1995 was traceable to the rise of illegitimate births. A large sample looking at students in 315 classrooms in 11 cities concluded that "The single most important variable (in 'gang centrality') is the family's structure ...: the greater the number of parents in the household, the lower the reported gang centrality."

The concentration of single-parent families can affect even those with two parents. A study of 4,671 8th graders in 10 cities found that students who attended school with a large number of fatherless classmates were more likely to commit crimes, even if they came from intact families themselves.

In The Atlantic Monthly, Barbara Dafoe Whitehead wrote that the "relationship (between single-parent families and crime) is so strong that controlling for family configuration erases the relationship between race and crime and between low income and crime. This conclusion shows up time and again in the literature."

President Obama offered that if he had a son, he would "look like Trayvon." That's not what matters. The much more important fact is that if Obama had a son, the boy would have married parents.

Mona Charen

Mona Charen is a syndicated columnist, political analyst and author of Do-Gooders: How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help .
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