If we want school shootings, break up the family
WE’VE seen them on TV and videos. We have seen the anguish, anger, and unbearable fear of young people who survived. One survivor who was being interviewed, just faltered: “I can’t do it, I’m sorry, I can’t,” as he choked and walked away.
Entering the feelings of the children who were inside one of those classrooms should help us think seriously, and decide that we do not want any of those elements that have led to this hellish state in the most influential nation in the world.
And so it should lead us to research with a most non-prejudiced mind why this happens, so we can prevent this contagion from reaching our shores. A father of a daughter who is threatened by a deadly disease will not sit back nonchalant, but will be driven to stop the problem. And he will not just be driven, he will get the most reliable expert advice on the matter.
The truth is: the most eminent experts who have devoted their lives to study crime have already spoken. But the jaundiced Western media and politicians have long been held captive by their ideologies they can’t look straight at the elephant in the room.
The elephant in the room in crime has been pinpointed by eminent criminologists Michael Gottfredson and Travis Hirschi who wrote “A General Theory of Crime” published by Stanford University Press, a testable theory that has been confirmed by several empirical studies as well. This same elephant was clearly spotted by Robert J. Sampson, Henry Ford II Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard University, who was Chair of its Department of Sociology, and President of the American Society of Criminology.
All of them declared that family dysfunction is among the most powerful predictors of crime. Gottfredson and Hirschi concluded that “such family measures as the percentage of the population divorced, the percentage of households headed by women, and the percentage of unattached individuals in the community are among the most powerful predictors of crime rates.”
Harvard’s Sampson even stressed: “Family structure is one of the strongest, if not the strongest, predictor of variations in urban violence across cities in the United States.”
Study after study has only strengthened the parent factor and self-control theory of Gottfriedson and Hirschi. One is that of Carter Hay on “Parenting, Self-Control and Deviancy” and another by Vaszonyi and Belliston, a cross-cultural and cross-national test of self-control theory, particularly the family dysfunction factor.
And the data is not just for crime in general, but for school shooting in particular. In a website dedicated to school shooting, Dr. Peter Langman debunks a myth (probably perpetrated by anti-family advocates) that school shooters come from stable homes. He showed that in one sample covering both the US and non-US countries, 82% of the shooters were from broken families, while 18% from intact families.
MercatorNet which has been following the background of killers in mass shootings has seen that “almost all school shooters come from families where the parents are either divorced or alienated.”
Surely, all this research bears out common sense. We know what havoc family break-ups create. What trauma is created in the vulnerable psyche of young children. What overturning of values happens when your own parents, the ones who are supposed to teach you self-mastery, self-sacrificing commitment, forgiveness, forbearance, and fidelity teach you the opposite with their actions.
And some of our nation’s legislators who want divorce in this country are so taken by the wealth of the West that they are oblivious to the anguish their children face every day in the schools that are supposed to be havens of serenity and joy.
Our legislators should listen to the wisdom of Michael Cook of MercatorNet when he advises the Western nations: “Perhaps they wouldn’t need more gun control if they had better divorce control.”
And if our lawmakers truly want to serve the country and become the greatest of statesmen, they should pass laws to strengthen the family, such as a serious marriage preparation program that will enable couples to discern their decision, learn to effectively communicate and understand each other’s gender idiosyncrasies, and develop the mega-skills of emotional intelligence such as patience and forgiveness.
The positive step of strengthening rather than weakening the Filipino family which is known worldwide as one of our greatest strengths, follows the wise management principle of Peter Drucker, an unparalleled management guru: build on strength.